Shooting Against the Light: Playing with Silhouettes

 

Find a strong subject with a definite form to create stunning silhouettes against a bright colourful backdrop.

Silhouettes can lend mystery to a photograph. Since there is virtually no light on the main subject itself, a silhouette is transformed into a graphical shape and form. They look best when the background that is much brighter than the subject.

A perfect silhouette has no tonal features and only a definite form. Here, a clean green background conveys the environment and also makes the silhouette strong and uncluttered. Exposure: 1/750 sec at f/5.3 (ISO 400) Photograph/Bhawana Jaiswal

A perfect silhouette has no tonal features and only a definite form. Here, a clean green background conveys the environment and also makes the silhouette strong and uncluttered. Exposure: 1/750 sec at f/5.3 (ISO 400) Photograph/Bhawana Jaiswal

How to Achieve it
When the subject is situated against a bright background, the camera automatically renders it as a silhouette. You can make the silhouette darker by underexposing slightly. Silhouettes often work well in monochrome. You can also play with the White Balance settings of the camera to alter the colour of the background.

To make rimlighting prominent, it is essential that the background is darker than the subject. Exposure: 1/320 sec at f/6.3 (ISO 400) Photograph/Julieanne Wiseman

To make rimlighting prominent, it is essential that the background is darker than the subject. Exposure: 1/320 sec at f/6.3 (ISO 400) Photograph/Julieanne Wiseman

The Making of a Perfect Silhouette
Richly hued skies during dawn and dusk offer the perfect backdrop for silhouettes. Remember that a silhouette looks best when it does not merge with other subjects. It is important to keep the edges of your silhouette sharp. Hence, focus carefully.

To read more about backlighting techniques, click here.

Tags: backlight shooting, Chandni Gajria, dare to shoot against backlight, shooting techni, silhouette