A silhouette is a high-contrast image where the subject is severely underexposed. Using the principle of backlighting, the silhouette of a subject’s limbs and objects is shown. To shoot the scene into a prominent silhouette, it is necessary to shoot in a bright direction and control the exposure. The advantage of silhouettes is ordinary scenes can be transformed into strong visual effects. Now, let me introduce you to the basic conditions for shooting silhouettes.
1) Find the Right Scene
The place where the silhouette is shot must be backlit. Sunsets are most commonly used for taking silhouettes as an example, the position of the sun must be behind the subject. In terms of time, you should shoot during sunrise or sunset, because the light at this time is soft and not dazzling, which is a good time to shoot silhouettes. In addition to shooting with sunset, the principle is the same as shooting with other light sources. In simple terms, you must find a backlight so the subject becomes a shadow.
2) Exposure Mode
For silhouette shots we can use “full manual” exposure mode (M-mode). The shutter speed is increased and the aperture is narrowed. In this way, you can try to make the subject dark, the background will show the color as a silhouette effect. Although if you use semi-automatic mode, you can also use the metering described in 3) and fine-tune it by adding or subtracting the EV value to obtain the best effect.
3) Metering Mode
If using a Semi-Automatic mode (such as aperture priority), we can adjust the camera to “emphasis metering” or spot metering mode, use the brightest area for background metering, and press the AE-Lock button . This will reveal the exposure that the value is locked to and easily show the silhouette.
4) Pay Attention to the Main Form
Because the subject has almost no color and no detail in a silhouette photo, the photographer’s perception of the subject’s form is very important. Before shooting, it is best to have a good understanding of the physical characteristics of the subject to draw out the unique form of the scene and increase the tension of the photo.
In fact, it is not difficult to shoot silhouettes. The most important thing is the coordination of the scene, form, and feeling. If you can think about what you want to express before shooting, apply the above 1 to 4 tips. You can also easily take deep silhouette photos!
Author: Franco Kong