How to Create A Silhouette?


Photography is not always about taking pictures, as it is about producing art from within the known world. Unlike classical forms of expression, where an artist works with various ideas and abstract emotion to create media, photographic art seizes a real-world entity to produce ideas and abstract emotions. One could say that picture-taking is the negative expression of other forms of art. This abstract thought in mind only fits to understand silhouette photography.

The silhouette is the dark outline and shape of something or someone visible in limited light against a brighter setting.

Before planning the shot, let’s take a minute to evaluate our understanding between the backlight and the front light. Most often, photos have a bulk of the available light devoted to front lighting; this is to say we want to bounce light off the subject’s front to reveal details that render the subject visible.

This is why we use camera-mounted flash or have the subject look at the light source. Backlighting a subject means the light source is forecasted directly toward the DSLR camera and originates from behind the subject. When there is a rather higher ratio of available light devoted to the backlight, the subject becomes dark as shadows subdue highlights.

Creating a silhouette challenge the photographer to take the camera out of the dreaded automatic setting. When the automatic setting is employed, the camera will try to increase the exposure time to increase the highlights on the subject. Most DSLR cameras have aperture priority settings, shutter priority, and full manual mode. Keep the camera in the shutter priority mode and set the shutter time to 1/125 a second.

Suppose your DSLR has shutter bracketing-the ability to take consecutive shots at varying exposure settings-set the pictures to two increments apart. You should set the ISO to 100 to decrease grain and lower light sensitivity. Mount the camera on a tripod and click your photo.

When you evaluate your shot, you should look for several indicators to define your silhouette quality. First, check the composition. Large shadow areas with little relevance will either need to be reformatted or cropped.

The next element you want to study is the histogram. The histogram should have spikes on the highlights and shadows, with little in between. If your histogram shows real spikes on the mid-tones, then your shot will contain undesired detail.

When producing a silhouette, the photographer should consider the shot’s narrative. Silhouettes can infringe on becoming cliché if the picture does not demonstrate an emotion or tell a story. Often, the photograph may look good; it may be correctly exposed, the composition is structured well, the contrasts and colors are complementary, but the picture itself appears meaningless and old. 

Silhouettes are often used to demonstrate revelation or solitude. 

Here are the quick steps to Create a Silhouette

  1. Shoot against the origin of light. 
  2. Set exposure manually.
  3. Find unique and interesting subjects. 
  4. Only pay attention your subject’s outline.
  5. Capture movement. 
  6. Look for interesting clouds. 
  7. Hide the sun behind your subject. 
  8. Take photos from a low angle.

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