Take it yourself
All you need to nail your best silhouette yet is the camera you already have and these tips
DSLR A wide-angle lens is good for subjects close to you, and create silhouettes that fill the frame. A zoom lens is good if you want to make your subject stand out from the background. Compact Turn off the fill-in flash and use the shutter (half depress) to expose. Smartphone You’ll need to manually control the exposure levels. Download a free camera app like Camera+ if your phone doesn’t have the option.
Select matrix/evaluative metering (*explained on the next page in ‘Know your Stuff’) and aperture priority mode. Set your aperture at f/8 or higher and underexpose incrementally until your subject is completely silhouetted.
Always expose for the brightest part of your image. That’s the golden rule for great silhouettes. The best time to shoot is when the sun is low (sunrise and sunset) and the light behind your subject is brighter than the light in front or above it. Look for contrasting scenes. Solid, vivid and simple backgrounds devoid of clutter (generally) work best. Look for familiar shapes. Subjects with easy-to-identify figures work best, like giraffes, elephants or people. Move around until you find an angle that isolates your subject against the backdrop. This way you will avoid including other shapes that might be confusing, and also increase the effect of the negative space in your frame. STARTER TIP If a subject is moving, wait for its legs to be fully extended and its body in a position that’s easy to identify. AMATEUR TIP Shoot your subject from ground level (such as Greg did in this image) to maximise the amount of sky contrasting your subject. PRO TIP Don’t have prime silhouette conditions? Create your own by using a remote flash. Place it behind your subject, pointing away from it so that the background is illuminated.