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Special Interest Forums => The Photographer => Topic started by: donquixotenz on January 28, 2009, 06:31:43 pm

Title: [b]Silhouette Photography[/b]
Post by: donquixotenz on January 28, 2009, 06:31:43 pm
In photography, a silhouette is an outline that appears dark against a light background. The beauty of silhouette photography is that dark area, where amazing shapes and profiles intrigue viewers.
This could be a bit of an adventure I can immagine ktj hanging out the window of his loco snapping shadowos of his train on the scenery.

Silhouette Photography
By Trisha Leung
Many of you photographers have probably stared at a silhouette photo and wondered to yourself how exactly they were taken.  Silhouettes could contain a coupleís moment on the beach, a person staring out at a landscape, or an amazing cityscape with the sun going down in the background.  Silhouette photographers must have great timing and perfect exposure settings.
What is a Silhouette?
In photography, a silhouette is defined as an outline that appears dark against a light background.  More specifically, it is where your subject is seen as a black shape without detail against a brighter background.  This is an artistic outcome that many photographers like to perfect.  This effect can be achieved with any kind of bright light source, but of course the most commonly used is the sun around sunrise or sunset.  The backlighting from the sun shadows everything towards you and produces this effect.

Silhouette Techniques
When you are getting ready to take your silhouette pictures, there are a couple things to keep in mind.  These tips work for both digital and film photography.  Make sure you never point the lens directly at the sun. If there is too much light, the light will fall on your object.  If there is not enough light, your background will become gray.  The main key to silhouette lighting is having your background lighter than your object, but this can be done in more ways then one.  Many photographers focus on a certain time of day, where their subject is, what kind of weather there is, and where the sun positioned in the frame.

My Silhouette Tips and Methods
I choose to take my silhouette photos when the sun is right above the horizon, usually at sunset.  I prefer this time because the sun causes the sky to be at itís brightest for a greater contrast between your object and the sky.  Try aiming at your object with the sun directly behind it for a glow around your silhouette.  Also, if the sky is too bright and your object is small, it is possible to underexpose your silhouetted image.

I always use a narrow aperture (high f/stop) so the camera captures the whole scene in focus.  It is also convenient to use this method so you can use your cameraís automatic exposure settings focused on the lighted background. If you use a point-and-shoot camera focused on the subject meant to be dark, the camera will probably try to compensate for the lack of light on the subject and overexpose the background.  So when you have your camera set on automatic exposure, be sure to focus on the light in the background.

Remember that there isn't an exact science to taking a great silhouette.  It takes practice, experimentation, and maybe even a little luck to capture a truly spectacular silhouette photo.


Title: Re: [b]Silhouette Photography[/b]
Post by: donquixotenz on January 28, 2009, 06:32:37 pm
Stunning silhouette photography with any camera.
Whether you have a compact or digital SLR camera, shooting great silhouettes is easy with the auto exposure lock trick.

First, remember that for a great silhouette photograph, it's important to have an interesting foreground (silhouette) and background. If one of these is boring the image will fall flat.

For most silhouette images, the background will probably be the sky. The most interesting skies are those that are neither completely cloudy, nor completely clear. You need some interest in the sky - a few clouds in the sky is great, as is the sky around dawn and dusk. The vibrant hues of this time of day will really help your image too.

Try composing your photograph so that the sun is coming from behind the silhouetted subject. If the sun is directly behind the subject, make sure the sun is hidden by your subject so you don't get lens flare.

To get the correct exposure you'll need to have your camera take a reading from the sky - or whatever background you're using - rather than your silhouetted subject. This will keep the detail out of your subject, rendering it as a perfect silhouette.

First, make sure the flash is turned off in case the camera tries to compensate for the dark of the silhouette.

Then, once you've framed your composition, move the camera slightly so the focus point (usually the centre of the viewfinder or preview screen) is aimed at your background. Depress the shutter halfway and hold it there while moving the camera back to the original position.

Now squeeze the shutter the rest of the way to take your image. As always, it's worth taking a couple of extra shots as your camera may record slightly different exposures and it's good to have a choice.

This technique will work all cameras that have auto exposure lock (AE-Lock) set to run on the half press of the shutter. If this trick doesn't work with your camera, check the manual for how to set the AE-Lock. With some digital SLRs, for example, auto exposure lock on a half press isn't the default setting.

Safety tip: Don't look at the sun for long periods through the camera lens. If you're using a telephoto lens don't look at it at all.


Title: Re: [b]Silhouette Photography[/b]
Post by: donquixotenz on January 28, 2009, 06:38:49 pm
Silhouette Photo Tips and Techniquesby Trisha Leung

Summary: Silhouette photography can produce dramatic results when the subject appears totally black while the light background is exposed correctly. With practice, experience, and a little luck you can capture truly amazing silhouette images.
Many photographers probably have stared at a silhouette image and pondered to themselves how exactly it had been taken and composed. Silhouette images could contain a couple looking at a sunset, a cityscape with the sun shining through buildings, or just a normal horizon.
In order to get an effective silhouette image, a photographer must be in the right place at the right time and have the right exposure settings.

Sillouette Definition:
In the area of photography, a silhouette is defined as an outline that appears dark against a light background. More specifically, it is where your subject appears as a plain black shape against a brighter background. It is an artistic photography expression that many photographers like to refine and perfect in their images.

This effect can be achieved with any bright light source with the sun being the most common. In a sunset silhouette photo, the sunlight in the background is exposed correctly forcing everything else in the photo to be underexposed causing the effect.

Silhouette Techniques
When you are preparing to take a silhouette image, there are many things to keep in mind. These tips are equally effective for both digital and film photography. First of all, you need to make sure that there is not too much light on your subject, even if it is being reflected on to your subject the stray light will ruin the effect.

If there is not enough light in the background, your subject will appear grey instead of black. The effect is just multiplied when you have multiple colors of bright lights in the background. Some photographers focus on artificial lights, others focus on the sun at certain times of the day, the possibilities are endless.

My Silhouette Tips and Techniques
I usually take my silhouette images when the sun is just above the horizon. I prefer the time around sunset because the sun causes the sky to be brighter than everything else for greater contrast.

Another technique I use is to align the sun directly behind the subject so it causes a glow effect around the main subject. I usually use a relatively big subject so it creates a more drastic effect then a small insignificant subject.

I always use a narrow aperture (high f/stop) so the camera captures the whole scene with a high depth of field so everything is in focus. I usually use the aperture manual mode on my camera so I can control what the aperture will be and then the camera automatically selects the right shutter speed necessary for the photo.

If you are trying to create the effect with a point-and-shoot camera make sure you compose the photo with the background light by pointing the camera at the background. If you compose the image by pointing the camera at your dark subject, then the background will be over-exposed and you will not end up with a silhouette.

There is no exact science to taking a great silhouette image. It will take practice, luck, and experience to capture truly amazing silhouette images. So keep practicing.

About the Author Trisha Leung is a digital photography enthusiast and regularly submits articles to PictureCorrect.com which offers tips and news about digital photography, digital camera reviews, photoshop tutorials and computer wallpaper.
Call Of The Wild Photo Comments:
While you are learning this technique, bracket your shots. Many newer cameras, digital or film, come with an automatic bracketing function. If you are unfamiliar with autoexposure bracketing, check your camera's manual for instructions.

If you own a digital camera, it will be less expensive to practice with. A desk lamp can be used as a back-light and the subject can be just about anything. The resulting test images can be deleted when your done. What you learn will easily translate to your film camera.

Then, when the opportunity arrives, you'll be better prepared to capture that perfect silhouette. -Anita