Silhouette Photography for Beginners

camera silhouette This is a topic that many people are looking for. is a channel providing useful information about learning, life, digital marketing and online courses …. it will help you have an overview and solid multi-faceted knowledge . Today, would like to introduce to you Silhouette Photography for Beginners. Following along are instructions in the video below:

” s it going guys. I m josh. I ve had this beautiful new couch from from craigslist last week. And today.

We re learning silhouette photography now this tutorial is to be targeted for beginners meaning. I m gonna be walking you through everything from using the manual settings in your camera to composition and editing and lightroom in the end. However if you are a little bit more advanced hopefully you will still learn some nice tips and tricks in this tutorial. What is a silhouette silhouettes are a style of photography in which your subject.

Whether it s a person or a thing are close to or completely blacked out. Whereas your background. The thing that s behind them is properly exposed could be a sky could be a cityscape and when i say exposed. I just mean properly lit and just to be clear this is the elegant beautiful type of blacking out that was a bad joke silhouettes are an awesome style of photography to have in your arsenal for a couple of reasons first of all they are very dramatic.

Which can actually be said about both types of blacking out. They re also just a great way to make anyone look super. Awesome so if you want to take a photo of someone who might not be that beautiful a silhouette is a great move additionally you want to take a photo of a sunset. Don t take a generic.

Boring. Sunset photo. Take a silhouette shot have a foreground element that adds to the photo of so much. And you can also shoot silhouettes on just about any camera.

Whether it s a dslr just a digital point and shoot or even an iphone. So today s tutorial is give you focused primarily on dslrs. But i ll also be giving some smartphone tips now before we get into this to quick self promotional tidbits. Number.

One all the photos. You see as examples in this video are mine. And if you dig my photos be sure to follow me on instagram and if you found this tutorial helpful be sure to subscribe let me know in the comments and check out my other photo tutorials and on that note. Let s get in to learning photography.

So i m going to break this up into three sections section. One is alignment and preparatory stuff section. Two is actually shooting and section. Three is editing in lightroom and if you want to skip around a little bit.

I ll put timestamps in the description and the comments down below. So you can skip to the parts. You want to go to section. One step number one is getting the gear.

Now like i said you can do this with just about any camera and better yet you can do this with just about any lens. It doesn t really matter it s all about personal preference. However if you were looking for gear or lens. Recommendations you can find a link to my website right over here.

Where i have reviews on all of my camera gear as well as recommendations for beginner photography gear. If you want your first dslr and lenses and such the only thing. I specifically recommend you get is lightroom. It s where i edit all of my photos.

And where i ll be teaching you at the end of this video. So if you want to download lightroom. There s gonna be a link down below to get a 30 day free trial step number two plan..


The time of day. Now. There are a bunch of different styles of silhouette photography. You can do you can do stuff in the studio you can do stuff at night.

But the most classic beautiful silhouette style in my opinion and a really great place to learn how to start is doing it during sunset or sunrise. So i highly recommend planning around that now you can do silhouettes mid day. However. It s gonna be a little bit trickier as the sun is more overhead.

So we re gonna stick with sunsets and sunrises for now and it s the most beautiful. Honestly step number three is finding the proper location. Now silhouette. Photos are equally about the background.

As much as they are the subject in the foreground. So for that you re gonna want to find a cool spot to shoot. These photos nature is always a really good move whether it be along an ocean a river or any sort of mountain cliff. Lots of cool stuff you can do bodies of water are always a really good move really you just want to find a nice place to watch a sunrise or sunset.

And that ll be a great place for a silhouette photo. The main thing here is really just isolating your subject from the rest of the background and framing them up in the sky now a great trick for isolating your subject in the sky is hate differentials. So i made this little diagram for you and the way you have to think about this is if you and your model are at the same height. Then your background is whatever is also at the same height.

However if you manage it your subject on some sort of hill. A rock or any sort of thing that they re standing on and you get a little bit lower suddenly that angle is way higher and they are framed up in the sky and the other really really important thing about positioning is you want to have your subject framed in between you and the son typically in photography. You want the sun hitting your subject from the front in silhouette shots. You want the sun hitting your subject from behind and step number four finding your subject.

So i highly recommend starting off with a person as a model and the main thing with silhouette subjects is they have to be very clearly identifiable now. What i mean by that is a person once their one big black shape is still obviously a person or these weird nubs with with four ligaments on them same goes for props like balloons bicycles skateboards all very clearly what they are even once you remove color however if you wanted to do a shoe say a cheese wheel that could very easily look like a bomb or a record or anything. That s circular and that s kind of confusing. So start with things that are easy to identify keep it simple with a person maybe one prop.

If you re feeling crazy and that sums up all the prep stuff. So let s move on to part two actually shooting. The photo step number five a little bit of camera housekeeping first make sure your camera is shooting in raw mode. Which gives you the biggest possible file sizes.

Which makes editing way easier later on second go ahead and turn your white balance to auto. Again. Something we can adjust once we re adding later on and third make sure your flash is off. We want our subject to be as dark as possible and flash will not help with that and step number six setting your camera mode now really quick.

We re gonna do the iphone. So all you have to do is just tap on the subject make sure you have it focused on them. Until. The yellow thing pops up that says auto exposure.

Auto focus lock and then you re just gonna slide your finger down to darken the image. Until the sunset or the sky is properly exposed the right amount of brightness that you want and don t even worry about the subject if they re not perfectly black. We ll fix that later so if you re shooting with an iphone you can go ahead and skip now to step number ten on posing your subject. If you re using a dslr stick around for a second when i shoot silhouettes with the dslr.

I always use full manual mode and the reason is because with any sort of automatic mode your camera automatically identifies people and then lights the photo up to make the people look best as opposed to prioritize in the sky now i know shooting manual sounds daunting. But i ve got a little trick to make it way easier so first things first set your camera to aperture priority. Mode..


So on a canon. That is a v on a nikon. That s just a so aperture priority mode is when you set your aperture and then the camera automatically adjusts the shutter speed and the iso to compensate for that now a quick reminder of what aperture is aperture is little ring in your lens. That lets in light.

The smaller. The aperture ring is or the larger your aperture number the less light you re letting into the camera and the deeper the depth of field you re gonna get so. If you want one of those photos. With your subject.

Properly focused and your background. Crazy blurry. Then you go. With the very small aperture.

Number. And vice versa for big ones. That being said. We re now going to set our aperture to f.

8. Which is the perfect middle ground because it lets in a pretty good amount of light. But also keeps a pretty deep depth of field. So you can have your subject as well as the sky nicely infocus.

You don t want to have to shall open. It up the field for this because the sky is also part of the photo now the same thing. I was saying about auto modes where it tries to light the photo for people instead of the sky applies also to the priority modes in your camera. So we re gonna actually trick your camera now by pointing the camera not at your subject.

But instead directly at the sky. So that your camera will automatically adjust to make the sky. The proper exposure. So now that you re doing this i want you to take a photo or just look at the settings.

That your camera jumps to and remember what it sets your shutter speed and your iso. So step number eight. We re now going to quickly turn our camera into manual mode. So it s the m on a canon and a nikon.

I believe and what we re gonna do is we re just gonna set our aperture again to f. 8. If it s not already there and then set your shutter speed and your iso to those two numbers you had to memorize and if you took a test shot you can just reference that again to make sure you have this numbers. Straight.

So now that we have all three of our aperture shutter speed and iso setup. We can take a test shot to make sure the subject and the sky are looking pretty nice and the main thing here is that the sky is properly exposed. If the subject is a little bit too bright you can still see some detail don t worry about that too much we can fix that in post processing. As we will just make sure that the sky is the right exposure.

Now just a quick reminder and rule of thumb for shutter speed. You re shooting. A port your shutter speed to be at least 1 100. Of a second which is fast enough to compensate for any shape your hands have or any movement of your subject for shooting.

Any sort of movement that s kind of simple like a jump 1 2. 50 of the second is fine. If you re shooting something really fast moving like a skateboarding trick..


I recommend closer to 1 6. Hundredths of a second and again just adjust your iso. Then raising it to compensate for your faster shutter speeds and step number 9. Focus your photo.

All you ve got to do now is just turn on auto focus and focus on your subject. If you pre use manual focus that s fine. The main thing here though is just remembering once you have your shot focused to bump your focus back to manual focus to ensure that it doesn t try and refocus every time you take another photo because you re going to shoot a bunch and voila. We now have all of our camera settings lined up which takes us to step number 10.

Actually shooting and posing your subject. So if you re shooting in nature. And it s just like a classic beautiful landscape behind the subject. I recommend keeping it simple and just having your subject looking out in the distance appreciating.

The landscape and also i highly recommend when you shoot people actually trying to use their profiles rather than them look that you head on because you can see all the curves of their face. Which makes them a little more distinct and if you do want to shoot a person facing away from you or toward you head on just make sure that their arms and legs aren t totally stuck to their sides because again it makes them look more like a blob versus. You know a person with arms and legs and also make sure that each subject. You re shooting is properly isolated.

Now what i mean by this is say you re shooting a person and a tree. If you have them individually. It s very clear that as a person and that as a tree if you have the person leaning up against the tree. It now becomes this weird blob with a deformed thing on the side just make sure everything is isolated properly try posing your model in a bunch of different positions you can try doing hands on the hips hands in the air in celebration.

Whatever you want to do just experiment around with it you can even do the classic jumping in the air. If you want to do romantic have two people kissing all kinds of great stuff you can do here and really just start to experiment with a bunch of stuff play with your settings. If you d like as well all i ask is that you use your photography powers for good not evil meaning. Don t do that photo.

Where you have two people form the heart together with a hand that ll pretty much kill me. Just don t do that anything else. That was fine in step number 11. Just a couple of composition.

Tips for you so. First of all play. With negative space. Meaning having a lot of empty space in your photo.

Because you have this big old. Sky try being really zoomed out or far away from your subject. And having your subject will only be a small part of the photo and have an otherwise very massive sky. It s always really cool dramatic shot also play around with your subjects relation to the sun try having them cover up the sun versus being to the side of the sun.

And seeing how the light changes because they ll get different effects depending on how you do it do a super close up of your subject to do super far away stuff and just a quick reminder whenever you move your subject or move yourself or even move your camera lens zooming in or out just make sure that you refocus. The photo. Every time the main thing here is just continue to experiment try some weird stuff to use some props. Whatever you want to do have a blast with it and that takes us to part 3 editing open up lightroom and dump one of your photos in let s get going so for silhouettes are two main editing goals or one making.

Sure that the background is properly colored and bright enough and too that the subject is dark enough so right now. I already have a very very dark subject. However if yours you can still see some detail to his face. What i would do is just bring down the blacks just a little bit and that ll really help you can also mess around with the shadows.

That ll do some good work for you now i m already all set with that so i m gonna do is now take on the background. So i m gonna brighten up this bay a little bit because the shadows will add some more detail. There i m gonna also add a little bit of contrast just put in some pop as well as clarity just to add some sharpness don t go overboard here..


And just a little bit of vibrance. I try not to mess with 5 inch for saturation too aggressively because it sucks. When it s overdone and let s see what the whites will do for us. There s a lot of trial and error just to see what looks nice alright and i always like to move on to the tone curve just to play around that a little bit.

I m gonna make sure this color gradient from predawn looks proper and make sure that kyle pops properly from the background and raising the darks. A little bit helps there and there you have it so the last thing. That s really really helpful here is messing around with the hsl tab so what this is you can edit individual colors. So what i m gonna do is we have red blue and some yellow in this i m just gonna play around with the saturation there see if i up the blue.

How it s gonna look so that s really nice. And doesn t make every other part of the photo. Overly edited. You can also play with the luminance.

The hue. All kinds of stuff you can mess around with here. But the hsl tab is a really really powerful feature of lightroom and the final thing we re gonna do here is we re gonna crop it 8 by 10 which will look best for instagram and for la and there we have it a pretty solid. Looking silhouette and step number.

13. Is sharing your photo on instagram. Using. The hashtag.

Josh cats. Photos and tagging. Me at josh cats. So i can see all your awesome work.

If you guys learning kind of shoots silhouettes. I would love love love to see them nothing would make me happier so definitely post them on instagram and maybe follow me. While you re at it. And that is that but remember this is just the start of silhouette photography.

You knew all kinds of cool creative stuff like doing late night. Silhouettes or even studio silhouettes or a very cool thing you can do with flashes all kinds of great stuff you can do hope you guys found this super. Helpful be sure to leave a comment. Letting me know how i can make this better.

If you liked my photos. I sell prints and my best shots on my website link to that over here this is an example of a shots. I m too cocky hanging up one of my photos. I know it s a cocky move hanging up one of my photos.

What are you gonna do and finally be sure to subscribe for more videos and social media. Links down below. That is just about all i have to say guys thank you so much for watching. And i will see you eventually.

I m gonna go work on a puzzle actually that s the lamest weed in a video. Sorry i m gonna go lift weights and drink alcohol and do other cool things with my life that aren t ” ..

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