“There is only one sun, we can’t all claim to only have one way to use the light , but we can REDEFINE how we choose to express it. “
Why are you passionate about this topic?
I love the challenge of telling a story by simply paying attention to the shape of my subject(s). I am an introvert so I think the inconspicuous nature of silhouettes appeals to me because a strong statement can be made by simply capturing the body language of my subject. I think silhouettes inspire us to look inward and trust our intuition as well. We can read into the way a person is standing or where they are looking and draw our own conclusions.
When did you first learn this technique?
I learned the technique back in high school, attempted a few here and there, but never really began to compile a collection until the end of 2015. It’s funny to look back because the few silhouettes I’ve shot in years past were always my favorite. I wish it hadn’t taken so long to click. I love low light – ominous images – always have. Even as a child, I’d fall asleep staring at shadows and wish I could capture the feeling somehow… now, here I am – doing exactly that.
What are the tips you would share with anyone trying to achieve this technique?
Shooting silhouettes with your mobile phone vs. a DSLR is similar with only a few differences.
1. Stand Accordingly.
a. If you’re shooting against a sky – get low.
b. If you’re shooting indoors – adjust your height to get a clear view of the subject.
2. Shoot Fast. (the most important tip of all)
a. On a mobile phone – use your burst mode. The in between moments usually end up being my favorites. You might like them too.
b. On your camera – be sure to use a fast shutter speed and shoot fast. I adjust my aperture and ISO to expose for the backlighting. Which brings me to the next tip..
3. Find good backlight and expose for it.
a. On your phone – tap the brightest area on your touch screen and hold it there to lock in exposure.
b. On your camera – meter and expose for the brighter back light. Some like to blow out the highlights but I prefer to underexpose for them and adjust in post-production to suit the mood I’m trying to convey.
4. Watch Your Subject.
a. Does the background provide a clear view of your silhouette?
b. Does the shape of the silhouette speak to you?
c. Does it tell a story?
5. Post Production.
a. Adjust brightness to a level where your subject pops.
b. Increase Contrast. More Pop!
c. Make mood enhancing edits if you wish. I.E. saturation && color balance.
d. GET CREATIVE!
About the Photographer:
Jamie is a soulful natural light photographer based out of Lafayette, Indiana. When she’s not taking care of her three little girls you can find her seeking inspiration from the sky or indulging in a nice strong espresso. She enjoys shooting environmental portraits of her children but her greatest joy comes from teaching them how to be humble under the stars.