A silhouette is a dark-shaped object within a frame that is produced when you shoot toward the light.
Control of the exposure is important if you want to produce a silhouette: you need to take your exposure reading from the background, not the subject, and you may also want to set the exposure level about 1 stop darker than the meter reading.
The next consideration is your point of view. Most often (although not always), you will want to get below the subject so you are shooting upward. This will prevent the horizon line cutting across the silhouette in an awkward place.
When the ground is producing strong backlight through some form of reflection, you can shoot downward and create a silhouette—water or a wet street will both reflect a lot of sunlight.
The subject of a silhouette can really be anything, but silhouettes work best when the subject can be readily identified by their outline. Silhouettes of people usually work well, but it’s often the case that you will only want one strong silhouette, rather than multiple in an image: a single silhouette is often much clearer. In addition, don’t discount elements such as tree branches, which can frame a silhouette or provide a textured background.
The time of day is important for this type of photography, with the best time usually around sunset/dusk when the sun is low in the sky. At sunset you can also work with strong oranges and reds, although you will be able to use the blue sky as a background if you shoot during the day. Another option for creating silhouettes is to use a strobe behind your subject, although you will need to think carefully about how you will hide the strobe and trigger it.
The final consideration is the location. In general, you want to have a clear, uncluttered background, and a beach, the brow of a hill, or a riverbank, where there is sunlight reflecting off the water are all examples of good locations.
In Simple Scene Sensational Shot, Simon Bond shows you how to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. From altering your angles to trying out HDR and making the most of bad weather, any situation can be turned into a superb shooting opportunity.
Simple Scene Sensational Shot
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