How to Get Awesome Silhouettes

Getting to Know Your Camera Photography Lighting Tips Photography Session Tips

This video teaches you how to capture a lovely silhouette in your photograph.

How I took this silhouette picture

The first thing you’re gonna want to do if you haven’t already is to switch your camera to Manual Mode, which is usually indicated with this M on your camera dial. This is going to allow you to have full control over the settings on your camera to get this specific look. manual mode

Camera Settings I Used

The first thing I did was lower my ISO to 100. The next setting I changed was my shutter speed to 1/320th of a second which is quick enough to avoid any blur that could be caused by camera shake. And my f-stop here is at f5, which gives me enough depth of field to see the edge details of my bride and her horse. silhouette

Don't forget the editing!

Adjusting the shadows/highlights and colors is one of the most important ways to make your photo pop. Here's the before and after adjusting a few settings in my RAW editing program. before after silhouette edit

Why use RAW files?

If you've never shot your pictures in RAW format, checkout this tutorial about why you should make the switch to RAW. The changes you can make to your RAW files without losing any image quality are incredible when you compare it to a regular JPG straight out of camera. So you can use any RAW editing program on your image. Lightroom is a popular program but if you don’t feel like you can afford it, Adobe Camera RAW is one that is free to download if you already own photoshop. And once I have my silhouette looking how I want it, I’ll click save image to save this as a jpg, which is the standard file format for printing or uploading it anywhere online.

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  • Scott on

    Good basic information on how to shoot a silhouette, and about the importance of learning to shoot in RAW. One thing I would disagree with … JPEG is not the standard for all printing situations. If one is sending photos to a commercial printing press, i.e. as part of a print publication, it depends on what kind of press the printer uses. There also are numerous other settings that must be made, usually with a software program like Adobe Acrobat Distiller, for photos to be printable on a printing press. The best thing to do is check with the printer and ask what settings their press requires.

  • Lorrie Robertson on

    I can hardly wait to try this. Thank you for the clear explanation.

  • Dawn on

    Awesome, thank you so much for the tip on Raw shooting.

  • Warren Oliver on

    This is a good tip and i will go and try it out. Thanks,

  • Kris on

    I LOVE silhouette photos! Thanks!

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