How to Photograph Amazing Silhouettes
When it comes to taking artistic photographs, you will find that the use of silhouettes is something that is quite in a class of its own. Digital photography allows you to take impressively beautiful silhouette pictures quite easily, but doing so well requires a little bit of work. Some people choose to take pictures with the right contrast and then to go in with a photo editing program, but it is also possible to get great silhouettes from the very beginning.
Pick Your Subject Carefully
Remember that a silhouette is an image that has much fewer distinguishing features than a regular photograph. While just about anything can be turned into a silhouette, you will find that you get much better results when you are looking at something that has both clear and recognizable edges. There are many iconic pictures of animals walking across a sunset. These animals, giraffes, rhinoceroses and elephants, are very distinct, making this a spectacular shot. If the edges of your subject are indistinct, choose a different technique.
Time It Right
If you are a photography student, you need to throw out what you learned about lighting a subject. In photography classes, you are taught to light a subject from the side, from the top or from the front. When you are taking a silhouette shot, you will find that it is far more important to have good lighting from the back. This is what creates that very strong, very lovely contrast. Again, this is why the animals in front of a sunset shots are so very common and lovely.Turn Off Your Flash
This goes without saying, but you want as little light hitting the subject from the direction of your camera as possible. If there is too much light, you will find that the contrast is less clear, less sharp and somewhat muddled. Turn off the flash completely.
Many digital cameras will automatically give you the silhouette if there is enough contrast to the image. Some photographers believe that if there is not enough contrast for the camera to do it automatically than there is not going to be a good silhouette taken regardless. However, if you are looking to get a silhouette shot and the contrast is naturally not strong enough, you can fiddle with the settings a bit. For example, change the metering mode to “Evaluative” and make sure that the ISO setting is at 800 or higher. The focal length should be set between 50 mm and 80 mm, and the image stabilization should be on. This is something that can make a huge difference when you are looking at getting the shot that you need.
When you are framing a silhouette shot, remember that centered is not always best. Some silhouette images do well at the center of an image, but others should be posed at the side for maximum effect. One great way to get a well-composed shot is to aim your camera at the light source behind the subject rather than the subject itself.Taking a silhouette shot is simple, but it does take some understand. Work on getting the shot that you have been looking for!