Instant Inspiration (3) – Silhouettes

Drinks before the Show
Drinks before the Show | Hamburg | 2016

In time for the weekend here is episode 3 of my “Instant Inspirations”. Why not try to take an image that features silhouettes, if you look for something to overcome “Photographer’s Block”  or simply want to shoot something that you have never tried or at least not recently?  For a bit of how-to, a few more of my silhouette photos and links to episodes 1 and 2 of “Instant Inspirations” continue reading after the jump…..

Silhouettes are a cool way to bring some drama and emotions into your images. A Silhouette consists of a clearly defined and typically black foreground shape (can be a person, an animal or any objects) in front of a bright background, that can be either monochrome or full of vibrant colors. The better the outline of the black shape stands out from the backlighting, the better the image works. If your main subject are persons it is better to show them in their profile, as more complex features will draw the viewer more into the image than indistinctly shapes.

Happy Girl in front of fountain
Happiness | Munich | 2016

The important thing is to expose for the background, so the brightness of it will render the texture of your subject black. For shooting silhouettes I usually use spot metering (instead of evaluative metering). It is important to nail the focus, so the subject is sharp. Focussing on the edge of the subject works usually great, because the contrast difference allows easy locking in of the autofocus.  I typically shoot with a smaller aperture as I want to make sure the outlines of my subject’s shape are all in focus as well as the background details against which you place your subject.

Fränkische Silhouetten
Fränkische Silhouetten | Nuremberg | 2015

So next time you want to do something against your photographers block or just want to try something new, take your camera  (or smartphone; the image of the people taking a drink at the top of the post I took with my iPhone), go out and try to capture photographs with silhouettes. You are invited to show your results by posting a link in the comment section. Go out and have fun!

Exhibition | Stockholm | 2016

Have a great weekend! Marcus

Related Posts:

Instant Inspiration (I) – Get Down Low

Instant Inspiration (2) – Motion Blur

Instant Inspiration (4) – Juxtaposition

Street Photography Quick Tip (1)

26 thoughts on “Instant Inspiration (3) – Silhouettes

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  1. I love every one of these. Someday I need one or two of these framed on my wall. But, First… I need a wall 😉 You are very talented. I aspire to shoot pictures like you someday!

    1. Wow, this feedback coming from someone who has such beautiful photographs on her own blog means a lot to me. Thanks !!!! Let me know when you found your wall (somehow I have the very same problem), then I send you a full-res version that you can print if you like !

  2. Your black & whites are really quite stunning and your eye for composition is very good as well. There is so much crap that gets posted as street photography, it is always refreshing to come across a fellow street photographer who gets what that means.

  3. PS. Wow! Just realized — I saw that fabulous exhibit of Nick Brandt photography in Stockholm in June. Blew me away…it was incredible. I have admired his work for a long time.

    1. Thanks Jane, your feedback always means a lot to me! Nick Brandt is awesome, I saw parts of this exhibition already in Berlin, then had to go again in Stockholm to see the whole thing! My wife also loved it (she’s the Silhouette in the image 😉). Have a great Sunday!

  4. This is awesome and I personally like to shoot silhouettes as well. Photography has always been my hobby and I do believe that pictures can convey and speak a thousand words. It always starts with a vision and a little mystery, allowing the viewer to interpret there own version of the picture is always great. Great shots ❤️

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