How to Take Silhouette Photographs – Simple Tips

How to Take Silhouette Photographs – Simple Tips

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Image by Jassi Oberai

Have you ever been fascinated by silhouette images? Well, I just love clicking silhouette images. It not looks good but adds mystery and drama to the final image. Silhouette photographs are at times dark but add curiosity in the mind of the viewer. 

If you want to learn how to take amazing silhouette images that look professional, you are at the right place. So read on to get some practical and easy to implement tips.


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Image by Jassi Oberai

Like in every type of photography, light is the most important aspect of creating good silhouettes. To create some stunning silhouette images, you must ensure that your subject is in front of the main light source. In other words, light is always coming from behind the main subject. 

It is better to avoid fill light either intentional or natural to get a perfect silhouette. You may still use weak fill light in case you want to show some details on the subject. 


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Image by Jassi Oberai

This part is very important. To get the best results, it is important to shoot either at Sunrise or at Sunset. It is during these times, the Sun will be right behind your subject. In the afternoon, the Sun comes up and light is spread evenly all across. This time, the direction of light will be from top whereas we want it to be behind the subject. 

So, shoot early in the morning or late in the evening when the Sun is closer to the horizon.


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Image by Jassi Oberai

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Image by Jassi Oberai

While angle might not be important to get a silhouette shot but it is very important to get top notch composition. 

In silhouette images, you do not get any details on the face or clothes of the person. They are dark in the image. Taking a low angle shot will make them look larger than life. This will add to the aesthetics of the final image. A low angle shot will also help you get some clouds and other important surrounding elements in the frame making your image look great.


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Image by Jassi Oberai

Silhouette photography is not always about people. They can be great cityscapes as well. Composition more often than not makes or breaks the final image. Since there are no details on the subject, it is important to focus on the shapes and forms that are created.

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Image by Jassi Oberai

If you have multiple subjects in your image, ensure there is no overlapping and each subject is separate. Overlapping will ruin the final impact. 


Always use manual mode to shoot good silhouette images. In manual mode, you can control every setting. Here are a few camera settings you must use to get great silhouette images:

  • Meter the background. This will help you get stunning light in the background making your subject appear dark. 
  • Underexpose. This will help you create even more contrast between the subject and background and will make your subject appear even darker.
  • Use a Small Aperture. Small apertures like f/8 or f/11 will help you achieve greater depth of field and will help you convey the vastness of the surroundings. With this aperture setting, ensure that you are focusing on the subject and not of any surrounding element.


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Image by Jassi Oberai

If you have gone through this article, you will know a good silhouette image must have good backlight, separation and surrounding space. For this, always look for open spaces. Tight frames may give a claustrophobic feel to the image. 

Always keep your subject between the light source and camera. If you want to avoid flares, hide the Sun completely behind your subject. 

Implement all these tips and you will be able to shoot silhouettes like a pro. Do not forget to share your result with us in the comments.

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