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Silhouette Photography

April 21st, 2010 2 comments

Sexy Silhouette Silhouettes have an impact because the subject’s outline is distinct, but the details are hidden, giving a sense of mystery.  I like taking a few silhouettes during each shoot, and they are sometimes my clients’ favourites!

It’s easy to shoot silhouettes, either in the studio or outdoors. The key is to have a background that is much brighter than the subject. I love doing shoots at sunset, using strobes to light the subject in the foreground and balancing the exposure with the background. By first setting the exposure according to the background using a light meter (I use a Sekonic light meter, but the camera’s light meter works too), when I turn off the strobe, the subject will be a silhouette. Sometimes this happens by mistake when the flash’s battery dies – which can be a happy accident as long as I have some spare batteries!

The same technique works in the studio. By turning off the main light (for example the softbox in front) and leaving the background lighting on, the photo will be a silhouette.

During post-processing, I adjust the contrast in Lightroom or Photoshop if necessary to make a more dramatic silhouette. Sometimes leaving a little detail in the shadows can be quite effective too.

The best subjects have clearly recognizable outlines. People work well – especially if they pose in ways that give interesting outlines.

Here are some more tips for creating silhouettes.

… and examples of silhouettes that I have done:

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