How to take good silhouette photos

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by hartz, Sep 3, 2010.

  1. hartz

    hartz TPF Noob!

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    When I saw this I knew it was the perfect moment to capture to get an amazing silhouette shot. I have unfortunately lost the original - I took this photo about a year ago and I must have the files on a hard drive somewhere but can not find it right now.

    I was limited by objects (cars) to the right of the girl, so framing her to the right while facing right was unavoidable. I croped off most of the left side and I rather like the effect of her staring out of the photo - breaks the rule but thats what rules are for.

    I also PPed an errant piece of blown garbage out that was lying on the ground near her feel. I wish I could have taken the photo in RAW but the camera I used at the time made it very difficult (Enabling RAW is a setting far away hidden in a sub menu and turning it on disables other things, like continuous shooting. Worse, When either continuous shooting or bracketing is enabled you have to first turn those off before the menu options becomes available. That implies even more menu fidgetting.)

    I would like CC on two things - overall picture, as well as how I SHOULD have set up to get better color/light quality.

    I just cannot seem to get silhouette photos to work - either the silhouette isn't deep enough or else everything is underexposed, or, like in this case, the background is blown out. For what it's worth, the background in this case is the ocean, and the Sun was reflecting harshly off of it.

    Help!

    [​IMG]


    Despite the bad light, I feel that this is one of the best photos I've ever taken because of the composition.
     
  2. LCARSx32

    LCARSx32 TPF Noob!

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    Composition wise, you could do a vertical crop to get rid of more of the dead space to the left. I would also crop out everything from the top of the no parking sign, down.

    What I would have done in this instance is to expose for the sky/ocean. That would have made her completely silhouetted and you would've had a nice background, too.
     
  3. hartz

    hartz TPF Noob!

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    Thanx.

    Something else I think I should invest in is a set of ND filters - we have beautiful sunsets here and ... they are so damn hard to shoot without help.
     
  4. LCARSx32

    LCARSx32 TPF Noob!

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    I need to get some, myself. I tried to take a shot of an extraordinary sunset we had the other night, but it just wouldn't happen.
     
  5. bkristopher

    bkristopher TPF Noob!

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    I can't help much on explaining the technical side of the lighting to get good silhouette, but I can offer my opinion on editing this shot. Composition is decent, but I would actually crop to see more vertical space added to the top, a little less of the right side, and dodge out the little bit of ocean that remains.

    edit:

    [​IMG]
     
  6. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    Compositionally, the railing breaks the silhouette into pieces and the feet are cut off somewhat by the shadow. She should also be in the first third of the image on the left with space on the right in the direction she is looking. Related to subject, the viewer needs to see from the image, why you took the photo and that is not obvious. As a matter of fact, we do not see why her hands are in that particular position. In a silhouette a super sharp edge is necessary as well as more detail beyond the fact that she is a casually dressed woman.

    skieur
     
  7. Robin Usagani

    Robin Usagani Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I think it is overexposed. If you had metered the sky, you would have had a nice silhouette.
     

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