Creative Silhouette Photography is something which is different from a simple silhouette, here you’ll learn to click creative silhouette at home in just 5 simple steps. you need not to hire a model for the shoot, all you need is just cut out of an image.

It is best way to add a drama, mystery, mood to the picture that make the image stand out in collections you have, these type of image is more appealing to the eye and are attractive.

Silhouette is the image of a person, animal, object or scene represented as a solid shape of a single colour, usually black ( the subject is underexposed), with its edges matching the outline of the subject and the interior of a silhouette is featureless. Only difference with creative and normal silhouette is that you won’t to use a real person or object instead you will use cut out shapes to shoot creative silhouettes.

Requirements to shoot Creative Silhouette:-

1. Camera or Mobile Phone

You need a camera or simply you can use your mobile phones to click creative silhouette, even you will find it very difficult to distinguish between Dslr clicked images and phone clicked images, your phones can give a better creative silhouette without struggling with the complex manual camera setting in DSLRs. So, go with whatever you find easy to go, you will not find a huge differences in the images.

2. Paper & Scissor

Trace the outline of an image (that you want to click) on a plain sheet of paper, by keeping a plain paper on the mobile phone or on your laptop, increase the brightness so that the image on the phone and laptop become more clear and visible through that paper, and trace the outline and if you don’t have enough time to trace it, then simply print out the image and carefully, cut it out the images using scissor.

3. Lens

Use lens according to your needs, if you need a large depth of field, use lenses with high aperture number like kit lens 18-55, use lenses with low F Points like Prime lens 50 mm, 35 mm , if you want shallow depth of field. And if you are using mobile phones and you need not to worry about camera settings and all.

Use zoom lens if you want the background look big, for example if you are clicking a subject in respect to the sun, using kit lens then, the sun will appear small but in contrast sun will appear large, when you will use a zoom lens of high focal length.

How to Shoot Creative Silhouette Photography

Choose appropriate subject

You can not shoot anything you pick up, you have to identify the images in 2-D and outline of the image, because the interior of the images is featureless, you can not show the face expression through the image. so, you need to take care of outlining of the images, you have to add a drama, mood through the shapes outlined through the images.

Here are the some of the examples, referenced with the images used:-

  • A trekking man on the mountain
  • Couple images kissing on forehead
  • A Soldier with flag
  • Dancing pose
  • Proposing a girl/boy
  • A simple standing boy

Frame the subject

Positioning of the subject with respect to the background play an important role in creative silhouettes. Try to add some element to the frame like sun during the sunset, try to overlay subject(cut out) with the sun or use rule of third to position your subject. Keep your subject at the best suited position with respect to the sun, that you think is perfect. The different images shown below shows the subject with different positioning.

Lightening the subject

In creative silhouette, the subject has to be black and underexposed, and the background must be bright to underexpose the subject and to bring the details in the background. You can not shoot silhouette without the contrast in the lightening conditions in background and in the subject. Take the cut out image, and bring it next to the bright light (sunset or sunrise; artificial lights). See the embed video for the reference.

Flash Lights

If you use flash lights on the subject, the subject will definitely exposed, and that image will be not silhouette anymore, So skip using flash lights and do not use auto mode to click silhouette, it will automatically flash out the subject and expose it. So, try to click in either manual or aperture mode.

Focusing the Subject

If you are clicking any subject in a high lightening background, it will automatically focus on the brighter part of the frame and here your brighter part is sky or background and the subject might get blurry effect. So, better you focus the subject manually.

Exposure Compensation

If the light intensity is not too much and the subject is been exposed some part of it, then bring your exposure compensation between -1 to -3, to get an underexposed subject, and deep black colour of your subject.

Romantic couple silhouette

Camera Settings

Now coming to the most important part of the shooting silhouette, that is camera settings. To photograph creative silhouette, put your camera on the manual mode, to get a flexibility in aperture, iso, and shutter speed.

1. Iso

More the light available low iso will be used, More you increase the iso more grains will be there on the images. Now here you are shooting in a high intensity of light so, keep your iso to 100.

Exif details F6.3, Iso 100, 1/2000 sec, Fl- 300 mm

2. Shutter Speed

You are shooting in a very high lightening conditions, so if Aperture is between F3.5-F6.3, keep your shutter more than 1/3000 sec and if you are increasing the aperture number more than 8, decrease the shutter accordingly and use exposure compensation to get under exposed subject. See the Exif details for better understanding of settings.

3. Aperture

Use lens according to your needs, if you need a large depth of field, use high number like F10-F18, use low F Points like F1.8-F4.5 if you want shallow depth of field. And if you are using mobile phones, you need not to worry about camera settings and all.

Use zoom lens or increase the focal length if you want the background look big, for example if you are clicking a subject in respect to the sun, using kit lens then, the sun will appear small but if one is shooting with the low focal length the sun will appear large. Here are some of the images with the Exif details, would help you understand the camera settings.

Exif details F4.5, Iso 100, 1/3200sec, Fl- 102 mm
Exif details F5.6, Iso 100, 1/1000sec, Fl- 200 mm

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