Silhouette photography does not reveal a clear picture of everything but leave a part of the image to the viewer’s imagination to wonder about.
1) Setting up your subject
Set the subject (that is to be blacked out) in front of the bright light. Great silhouettes are captured when there is only a single source of the light against which the subject is placed. The bright light source should be covered by the subject so as to maintain the exposure ratio.
2) Lighting in a silhouette photography
Ensure that the flash of your camera is turned off. Try correcting the lighting of the background instead of the subject. The subject is to be darkened without ruining the background. If there is too much light, the light will fall on your object and make it visible . If there is not enough light, your background will become gray and this will ruin your silhouette. The best way to deal with this is to ensure that your background is lighter than your subject.
3) Lock the exposure
Next step is to frame the exact picture and lock the exposure according to the background and not the subject. You can do this by pointing the camera metering towards the bright part of the picture and taking the exposure reading by pressing the shutter button half way down (don’t let go).
By doing this you trick your camera to think that the brighter part of the picture lies in the mid tone of it. The objects darker than the brighter part are exposed as dark shadows. Meanwhile keep in mind that the shutter reading should be metered away from the bright light of the sun or the light source (in case the bright light source is not covered by the subject) , so as to get the appropriate exposure. The subject thereby gets under-exposed and dark or even completely black.
Some digital cameras have ’spot’ or ‘centered’ metering modes that you can switch on which helps setting the metering on the central spot of your frame rather than multiple spots. By this you can guide your camera to select the basis for the exposure for the whole silhouette. Make sure that there is no light source between you and your subject.
4) Focus on your subject
Focus on the subject rather than the background. This will ensure that the subject is more crispier instead of blurry and gives a good perspective to the silhouette. Get closer to the subject This will allow you to easily place the strongest light source behind the subject and allow you to change your shooting angles to get a variety of images. If both of you and the subject are immovable then try zooming on the picture.
5) Recommendations from silhouette professionals
Most photographers consider certain time for shooting and the positioning of the sun for getting the best outcome. Most photographers prefer the time around sunset because the sun causes the sky to be brighter than everything else and for getting greater contrast. Some photographers recommend to set narrow aperture (high f/stop) so as to capture the whole scene in focus. Use the aperture manual mode on your camera so that you can control what the aperture will be and then the camera automatically selects the right shutter speed necessary for the photo as well. It is also recommended to use a lens hood so as to tackle lens flares that wont let you frame the scene you exactly want.