4 Quick Tips For Easy & Beautiful Silhouettes

tips for silhouettes

 Warm weather and bright sun are here and both of those things lend themselves to silhouettes.  Achieving silhouettes is really easy, and here are some tips to help you:

EXPOSE FOR THE BRIGHTEST PART OF THE SKY

For example, if you are photographing your subject against the sky, expose for the sky. This will result in your subject being darker and the sky behind them being perfectly exposed.

Photographing silhouette of a woman on a beach at sunset

USE A SMALLER APERTURE (HIGHER NUMBER = SMALLER APERTURE)

If you are still seeing a tiny bit of detail on your subject and they are not completely silhouetted, try bumping up your aperture. For example, if you are shooting at f/16, try going to f/22. This will also help you achieve more defined edges on your subject, while still retaining detail in the background.

silhouette of a woman in a beautiful country field

BRING A TRIPOD (OR BRACE YOUR CAMERA ON SOMETHING STURDY!)

Since shooting silhouettes requires a smaller aperture, you will need a slower shutter speed, and in some cases, you may run into some blur/camera shake if your shutter speed gets too slow. Having a tripod or a way to brace your camera will help you achieve sharper images.

photographing silhouette of a family on a pier at sunset

MAKE THE FINAL TOUCHES IN POST 

Be sure to play around with the Levels and Curves in post-processing to make even more definition between your silhouette and the scenery. Using a layer mask to darken only the silhouetted subject can help you achieve more contrast. You could also use a black brush at a low opacity and gradually paint your silhouette completely black!

photographing silhouette of a man on a mountain at sunrise

Do you have any questions or comments about Photographing Silhuoettes?  Leave us a comment below - we would love to hear from you!  And please share our tutorial using the social sharing buttons (we really appreciate it)!

If you're looking for Photoshop actions to help you add more definition and contrast to your silhouettes, be sure to check out the PURE Color Workflow.

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