Take it your­self

Getaway (South Africa) - - PHOTOGRAPHY -

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.

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