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Creating Silhouettes

Silhouettes can be some of the most beautiful images a photographer can take. So, what’s the secret behind getting this effect in your photos? It’s all about lighting and position of the subject.

Think backwards

As a general rule, we want the source of light in our images to come from in front of the subject and to be project on them facing toward the camera. With silhouettes, this is actually not the case. For a good silhouette, you need the light source to be coming from behind the subject. This is why many of these images seem to be in front of windows with natural light for example.


Time of day can matter too

In some case, the time of day you shoot can make a big difference. I find that for outdoor silhouettes, it works best if you are shooting as the sun is going down but still very strong. I suppose this is because it minimizes the light in front of the subject and emphasizes it behind.


Black and white

In general, silhouettes seem to look better in black and white so I would suggest adjusting your final image to a grayscale setting of some sort.

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