Sometimes it’s ok to be a drama queen.
Like when you want to blow away your friends and family with your latest snapshot creation. The shortest journey to get a jealous glare from friends and family has to be the silhouette. That’s where you’ve got a foreground subject (like a person) in total darkness while the background is bright and colourful – just like the shot I took at the top of this story.
Silhouettes are dramatic, cool and super easy to create. Here’s everything you need to consider when making your own:
Find a nice bright background.
The key to a silhouette is that you have an extreme contrast between what’s happening in the foreground and the background. If you take a regular photo without flash and your subject is nice and bright and the background is waaaaaaaay too bright – you’ve got a good candidate for a silhouette.
Bonus - find a background with a bit of range to it (look at the pic at the bottom of the page. The colours are all over the place.)
Turn off your flash.
The flash will light up whatever’s in the foreground. We don’t want that.
Set your camera to “M.”
To make a silhouette, you have to do the thinking – which means you have to take your camera off autopilot for a minute. “M” gives you manual control over everything.
Set up your ISO, aperture and shutter speed.
Now that you’re set up, you have to establish some basic settings. Try setting your ISO low (200 or 400), your aperture around 5.6 and your shutter speed at 1/125th of a second. Take a picture. What do you see?
Play with your shutter speed.
Background too bright? Try upping the shutter speed to 1/250th of a second. Background too dark. Dial down the shutter to 1/60th of a second. Unless your photo looks really out of whack (i.e. crazy bright or crazy dark), stick with adjusting one setting until you get the look that you want.The most important thing is this - don't worry about "numbers." Just keep moving the dial around until you find something you like.
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