Tuesday Tips & Tricks | Rockin the Perfect Silhouette!

“We are taking time off spending time with baby Gray, but have put together our favorite Tips and Tricks from the last two years for us all to review!”

Tuesday Tips & Tricks..REVISITED! Hey all! Today’s tips and tricks is all about how to get that perfect silhouette of your client every time! Have you ever been shooting your client and decided that you wanted to get that really nice silhouette shot of them, but then started to wonder what to base your exposure off of? Should it be a sliver of light on the rim of them from behind, or the sun, or somewhere in between? Here is how we do it.

We were out shooting a new pop-rock band last week, Red Letter, and we were doing this wild lit shot with 3 strobes and Jody leaned over to me and reminded me to grab a silhouette shot. Whew! Glad she did! So, in the midst of shooting a completely different shot, I did a quick change up and got the next image without using the White Diffusion Westcott Parabolic Umbrella that you see in the above shot.

The trick that we use to get great back-lit silhouette shots is we set our camera exposure for the sky. When the sky is perfectly exposed, that is when our subjects will turn black like you see in the above shot. Here is how we do it:

1. Point our camera to an area of the sky that is being lit by the sun, not at the sun itself (in the shot above, we pointed our camera between the sun and the clouds in the top of the shot that the sun is lighting up)

2. Look in our view-finder so we see the in-camera meter

3. We now will adjust our aperture, ISO and shutter speed so our in-camera meter reads at zero.

4. Now, you can recompose your shot and when you take a picture, your sky will look awesome and your subject will be dark.

Extra note: In the above shot, the sun was NOT directly behind our clients – it had set already. If the sun IS directly behind your client’s head and had not set as much as it had in this case, then we would point our camera in the direction of the sun, then turn it about 45 degrees from that point to any other point in the sky, get a perfect meter reading (our in-camera meter should read zero) then recompose and shoot.

When using this technique, you get that nice detail in the sky, and perfect silhouette’s every time! Now the best thing to do is go out and give it a try! Remember, meter off of the part of the sky that the sun is illuminating, not the sun itself, and you will nail it every time!