Silhouette photography is a great way to convey drama, mystery, emotion and mood. Because of its simplicity and vagueness, a silhouette does brilliantly to leave part of the image to viewers’ imagination and interpretation. This makes it a great tool to have for telling a particular story of your subject to your audience. Therefore, here’s seven tips to ensure you’re taking breathtaking silhouette photography.
1. Make the background brighter than your subject
The end goal here is to have your subjects stand out. Unlike the usual practice in photography, you will need to ensure there is sufficient lighting at the back of the image when shooting silhouette photography. Therefore, have the main or strongest light source positioned behind your subject. Sunrise and sunsets are the best time to capture this.
2. Isolate your subject
The lack of light facing the front end of your subject means that spacing is key. For images with more than one subject, keep them too close, and it’ll be impossible to make out what the subject even is. Hence, have small spacing between the two. Also, bear in mind to ensure your background is free from any distraction.
3. Increase the shutter speed
Fancy shooting in manual mode? First, check it the shutter speed in the usual auto mode. Then, speed up the shutter speed by one or two stops. This allows half as much light into the camera. Therefore, resulting in a darker image that’s perfect for capturing silhouette photography.
4. Use the right aperture setting
Depth of field is key to silhouette photography. To adjust, use the aperture to maximize the amount of your image in focus. For best results, use a small aperture to increase the depth of field. Hence, you’ll have a sharper foreground and background in your shots.
5. Keep your ISO low
As the sun sets, it’s only natural to increase the ISO. However, be wary of increasing too much, as your images may end up being noisy. This leads to the undesired grain-like effect, which does not go well for silhouette photography.
6. Forget the flash
Remember to turn the flash off each time you want to shoot silhouettes. The automatic setting on most cameras are made to sense potentially underexposed subjects. Therefore, adding in the flash whenever needed. This defeats the entire purpose of capturing silhouettes.
7. Choose the right subject
All of the above technical settings and recommendations will be wasted if your subject is weak. By this, we refer to subjects which do not have clear, defined outlines. For instance, a piece of cotton will not be the best choice of subject. However, a ball or a statue are perfect for this.
There you have it, seven tips to help you master the art of silhouette photography. For more photography inspiration, read our close up photography tips. Meanwhile, for foodies out there, learn how to upgrade your food photography game.