The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge is “Silhouette”. Looking back through my photos, I seem to have a soft spot for shooting these.
The “Blue Hour” and the “Golden Hour” are two of the best times of the day to shoot photography in general, but they’re definitely the best time of the day to shoot silhouettes. The image of a person or object against a lighter background, is the definition summarized, and if you’re looking for dynamic light there are no better times than these. It comes naturally, but the key is to make it interesting and identifiable. You may be able to see the object perfectly well in person, but through your camera’s lens it jet black.
Due to these discrepancies sometimes you have to force your models to take on very unnatural positions that might photograph better. Are you trying to photograph a friends looking off in the distance at a cliffside sunset? Chances are you’re photographing the back of his head and the resulting silhouette is less than fantastic. Try having them turn 90 degree so you can shoot their profile with the sunset. It may be less natural, but the resulting shot will be a lot better (because you can identify it as a person.) You don’t have to stick to people either, I’ve shot statues, telephone poles, and a seemingly infinite amount of trees. I even combined two silhouettes I loved into a more dynamic shot. My previous post (HERE) has some great examples of silhouettes that I won’t repost here.
I guess to me I really like shooting silhouettes because it becomes more about the scenery, light, and image and less about the portrait of a person. The subject’s individuality is removed and they are (literally) a faceless model. You’re shot won’t be subconsciously judged on their merits but rather allowed to stand on its own. The powerful light causes strong lines and shadows and together they really highlight the composition of the shot, so make sure its good! You can obviously center the object but I find myself drawn to the “rule of thirds“. Ultimately you’re the photographer and the shot is up to you. Let me share a few, varying, examples of some of my favorite silhouettes.