Photographing Silhouettes – Photography Experiments

Our last experiment was Panning Blur.

Today, let’s start a mini-series. This will be a three part series looking at silhouettes, shadows and light through smoke. They are all essentially the same thing, but we’ll pull them apart to see the subtle differences.

Example

How did I shoot this shot? Where did I meter?

Some post-processing trickery was used (to highlight the prayer wheel and bit of robe). But otherwise, how did I shoot it?

Here’s the experiment you can run:

1) Set your camera on Manual mode with ISO 100. Pick any lens you like as long as it fits your subject.

2) You will need an object that is highly backlit. Either have a light source behind it.

3) The key here is to meter for the bright light, not the items you want in silhouette. Because the dynamic range of your camera is less than the dynamic range of your eye and brain, even objects you can still see in detail may become excellent silhouettes.

4) Compose your shot after setting metering and shoot.

Done!

Things To Consider

  • Try using spot metering to help isolate the bright object you want to meter off of.
  • If the object of your metering is white, consider overexposing as we mentioned in Making White Tone, White.
  • Your histogram will look like a bowl; high on both sides and low in the middle. Most likely.

Before we jump into tomorrow’s topic of Shoot Some Shadows, can you see how this technique might apply?


Questions?  Pop ’em like Pez in the comments section below or email me at peter@peterwestcarey.com.

Photography Basics – A 43 Day Adventure, and its companion 40 Photography Experiments, are series written by professional photographer Peter West Carey. The series are designed to unravel the mysteries of photography, helping you can take better pictures. Subscribe here to receive all the updates and bonus material. Your comments are always welcome.

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