I was looking through my camera roll after a long weekend away and realised that pretty much all of it was devoted to silhouettes. It seems to be my latest craze after flare, bokeh, shallow depth of field and black and white, to name but a few. I’ve played around with silhouettes in the past, but I’ve really come to appreciate them lately. I like the way that they emphasise shape and composition over colour and exposure, and their high contrast makes a virtue of the limited dynamic range of smartphone cameras. I even invented a new hashtag to label them. So here are my five tips for shooting #silhouettetastic silhouettes!
• Shoot using natural light, preferably at sunrise or sunset to maximise the colours in the background. Make sure you expose correctly, by tapping on the brightest part of the image to ensure that the blacks are really dark. Your subject should always be backlit (ie, between you and your light source).
• Find a hill. If you want a clutter-free horizon for your subject, then place your subject at the top of a hill and go to the bottom of the hill, shooting up and into the light.
• Try to tell a story with your silhouettes. Back in the day, I remember being mesmerised by a book by Jan Pienkowski. With my images I try to evoke his simple use of silhouettes against multi-coloured backdrops.
• Reduce the exposure and increase the contrast when processing your images, to deepen the blacks and emphasise the shapes.
• Don’t forget to add the hashtag #silhouettetastic when you post, so we can all see the results!