Photo Tip Friday - Using Silhouettes - Part 1

Today's Tip is about Using Silhouettes Part 1

Welcome back! 

What I love about photography is that there are so many ways to take pictures. 
So many ways to express or capture a feeling in particular moment. 

And today's photography technique especially creates wonderful mood in shots. 

Let's get started.  

What's the first thing you notice about this and the next photograph?

Maybe the similar colors? 

If that's your answer, you'd be correct. 
So why is that?

Both of these shots were taken at sunset. 

With the light coming from behind the church and behind the Grand Tetons, the foreground of each shot is almost completely blacked out, creating the silhouette effect. 

And, in the second shot, notice I also used the reflection technique to advantage?

Here is one of my personal all-time favorite shots. 

Why? Those are my kids. We were at an aquarium and they were just watching the fish. I stood across the room, waited for everyone else to move out of the shot and I snapped away. 

Notice I said I waited. Not all shots happen the second you think of them, or notice the potential for a good shot. I got far enough back and just waited. Other people were walking through, but this picture was worth capturing.

Here's another use of silhouette 

This is a sunrise shot and the silhouette is the bird. It's a seagull. You can't see the feathers or eyes of the bird, or even the color. But you can certainly feel the movement of the bird soaring. 

This is also the same morning. What I did was let the brilliance of the rising sun "wash out" the shot, causing the water to sparkle and the board walk to become very dark. 

Again, this is creating the silhouette effect. 

The strong lines of the man-made deck stand in stark contrast to the soft light of the sun and waves. 

To me, the sun feels warm. It's almost like being there again. 

So, to create a silhouette, you need to have the subject backlit. 
In other words, have the light behind the object you're shooting. 

The subject can be an object - the church, deck or mountains. Or people. 

And you'll also notice that these are tricky lighting situations. 
Either dimming light or direct bright light (the sun). 
That requires a bit of technical explanation and I'll go into that next week in part 2. I'll teach you how to set your camera using the manual function or how to trick a point and shoot into taking these shots. 

Which of these shots do you like best? As always, if you have a shot you want me to look at, leave me a link! 

Go grab your camera!

Hope this tip helps. 

Keep on clicking!

Past Posts:

Using Reflections, Part 1Part 2
What's That Dial (on your camera) For? Part 1Part 2Part 3
Discussing Some Photos (using the learned information)
Clink on the links above to go to those pages!

If you want to know more about a particular topic, leave me a comment and I will try to include it in an upcoming post!


  1. These are beautiful photos. Thanks for the tips.

  2. I love the one in front of the fish tank. My son made silhouettes of his wife when she was expecting and I thought that was such a good idea!

    1. Those must be special! And now you know how to do it! Have a great weekend!.

  3. Excellent brightness! Some great pictures! Exquisite silhouettes!

    1. Thank you Leovi! You know I love your work as well!

  4. Mary
    I love your blog...thanks for stopping by my post today. I am so happy to come over and meet you and enjoy your work!

    I'll be subscribing...I'm sure I can learn quite a bit from your photog tips!

    Thank you and God bless...

    1. Thanks for dropping by Chris! I look forward to seeing your shots of your trip out west. Our family made that trip, and, as it turns out, we're home schoolers too! Small world.

      I hope the photography tips are helpful! ;)

      Have a blessed weekend!

  5. Hi Mary - I'm adding your blog to my Feeder. Your photos are wonderful and I love the way you highlight what makes them great. I love taking pictures and I'd love to have a better idea of what makes the good ones good, if you know what I mean! Lucinda

    1. Thanks Lucinda! It's funny that for years I wanted to learn photography tips from photographers I admired. Finally, after much encouragement from friends, I finally started giving photography tips. And I have to say, I feel like I'm becoming a better photographer for it!

      So I'm truly happy that my tips can help others since that's what I longed for myself. :) And you have some good shots yourself. If you ever take a shot you're proud about, please feel free to show it to me! I am still learning more about photography myself! As a home schooler, I'm sure you understand that. ;)

      Have a great weekend!

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  7. Mary, I can hardly wait to grab my camera and try this. It's almost sunset, and you have inspired me!