This week, experiment with light and capture a silhouette.

Photography is all about experimenting with light, and then positioning yourself (or your subject) in the right spot to achieve a certain effect. One such effect is a silhouette, in which an outline of someone or something appears dark against a lighter background. Silhouettes can be very dramatic and resemble black shapes without any details, but the effect varies from picture to picture.

While strolling on Waikiki Beach in Hawaii, I snapped a photo of a couple taking a picture of the sunset:

Sunset on Waikiki Beach in Hawaii

Quick Tips:

  • Place your subject in front of a light source.
  • Keep the background simple and uncluttered.
  • Create clean lines and distinct shapes. (You don’t want to photograph a blob!)
  • Move around — the light will change with each angle.

I was walking quickly, and when I clicked the shutter, I wasn’t sure of the final result. But when I looked through my shots later that night, I was unexpectedly pleased with this image. I captured a distinct silhouette of two people (and an extended arm holding a camera), a nice contrast between sea and sky, and a bonus detail — a sailboat in the horizon on the left, which I didn’t see when I took the picture.

This week, share a photo with a silhouette. Revisit Wenjie Zhang’s post on the quality of light for quick tips on backlight, or dive into silhouette tutorials by Digital Photography School and PetaPixel for more guidance.

We’d love to see you experiment with your positioning, POV, and the time of day of shooting. Have fun!

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