Take these easy steps to create the perfect silhouette image! A silhouette can provide a unique perspective on a subject, and they are super easy to create!
- When to Capture a silhouette picture: I have found that the easiest time to capture silhouette shots is when the sun is lower in sky, close to sunrise or sunset. Really, though, you can create them at any time of day, but the colors might not be as vibrant as when the sun is lower in the sky.
- Where to take a silhouette picture: Find a spot with an open background. You generally want the sun in front of you and behind your subjects. I’ve also used water as my background, instead of sky, because of how it reflects the light!
- What position to shoot a silhouette picture: When you are shooting, get down as low as possible so most of your subject is in the open space, and not blocked by trees or other background elements. (Watch out for poison ivy! I speak from experience…)
- What lens should you use? I typically use a wide angle lens, most often my 24mm or 35mm. Other lenses will work fine, too, but you will see much less of the background. Your lens choice really depends on the composition you are hoping to achieve.
- What camera settings for a silhouette picture? Put your camera in manual mode and expose for the background. I typically set my ISO to 100. My aperture is usually set between 4.0 and 8.0, to ensure that my subject is in focus. Adjust your shutter speed until your subject is blacked out and the sky is colored.
- How should your subject pose? For a variety of shots, consider having your subject change poses – I personally love jumping shots, especially with kids! With couples, I often try to have them pose in a way that there is space between them, so that their bodies don’t blend together in the darkness.
- How should I edit a silhouette picture? If you want to adjust your image in post-processing for greater impact, consider increasing contrast, vibrance, and saturation and decreasing blacks.
- Have fun! Snap away!!
Now, get out there and have fun trying to create your own silhouette images!
I live in eastern Pennslyvania with my incredible husband, three amazing daughters, and trouble-making Shiba Inu. I’m an east coast girl with a west coast soul. I love snowboarding, surfing, music, tattoos, and roller coasters. I am truly happy when I have a beanie on my head, boots on my feet, a chai tea in one hand and my camera in the other.
(head shot photo credit to Danielle Danver)