The ‘Bigger Picture’ task card I’d randomly selected was: Silhouette.
I thought it would be quite easy – just photography in reverse by shooting against the light and voilà…but of-course there is a lot more to it than that.
” force your camera to set its exposure based upon the brightest part of your picture (the background) “
When I think of silhouettes I visualise high contrast black and white so a walk along the canal rendered a couple of shots thus:- [click all thumbnails for larger view with camera setting details]
“Choose something with a strong and recognizable shape that will be interesting enough in its two dimensional form to hold the interest of those viewing your image”
Actually my attention was divided as it was the skies that caught my eye -adding some interest to the strong shapes of buildings (not so interesting).
And in colour that same sky provides a rather glorious but too distracting backdrop for the pattern of bridge struts – whereas the Royal Academy ceiling against plain light is still remarkable without all its detail
“Frame your shot so you are shooting with your subject in front of a nice plain, but bright background. “
One of the hardest things for me was getting the lighting right and that meant playing around a lot with the shutter speed and ISO. With the daisies I was focusing too much on obtaining an uncluttered outline and lost the impact of the background sunlight – the clouds did not co-operate either(!) and consequently these are more low light outlines rather than silhouettes. Still everything has its passable points and I rather like them just the same. Better luck next time!
“the shape needs to be distinct…ensure that there is more light shining from the background than the foreground…[and] the silhouetted subject is in focus most crisply…Pre focus your shot before you meter your shot.“
Our eyes allow in more light than the camera can and does in low light conditions and in misjudging this I’m quite often an accidental silhouettist as these archived photos show
And when not overestimating low light I am underestimating high light – a happy accident methinks!
- Quotes from Digital Photography School – Darren Rowse “How to photograph silhouettes“
- Bigger Picture task cards