Photo Tip Friday - Using Silhouettes Part 2

Welcome back! 

Last week, we started talking about using silhouettes in your photographs. 
(You can read about Part 1 here.) 

I'm going to go back over the same photos, but this time, listing: 

Time Value (Tv)
Aperture Value (Av) 
ISO Value

Why? So you can understand how to take these shots yourself. 

Let's get started. 

Here's the first shot again. 

I took a fast shot at 1/1250 sec.
The shutter or F-stop was at 5.6 which let in a lot of light. 
The speed of the film was 400 which means it needed less light for a good shot. 

Notice the color is beautiful?

If I had used a slower ISO of 100 and had to take a longer shot, the colors would have faded. 

This shot is similar in F-stop and ISO, but the light was much dimmer because the sun was behind the mountains. I had to leave it open for longer. I used 1/10 of a second. The color isn't as intense as the shot above.

(Note: I have really steady hands and have learned how to brace myself. I don't recommend this speed without a tripod.)

I also could have used an ISO of 1600 to get a faster shot. But I had it on 400 moments earlier when there was enough sunlight and just kept shooting. Photography is not an exact science. 

On to my favorite! Because most of the light was coming from the tank, that dictated that I use a fast speed. So I put my ISO on 1600. That was as high as my old camera could go. Now I have ISO 6400. So just check your camera's settings to see what you can use. 

                                                  Notice in this and the next shot that I used ISO 100. That requires a lot more light. In the first 2 pictures above, I was photographing a setting sun. The light was dimming. 

These were a rising sun. It was getting brighter by the second so I had to use ISO 100.

Any higher ISO would have completely washed out the pictures. 

I wanted the washed out effect in this one, but the one of just the surf needed more color.

So now that I've given you the more technical side of silhouette photography, I'm going to give you the Mary Cheat Sheet. 

Using the "M" setting on your dial means Manual Mode. This means you control EVERYTHING.  

Honestly, that can be pretty daunting. But here's the quickest way to take more control of your shots: learn to use the ISO feature. 

On my Canon, I use the "P" feature regularly. P stands for Program Mode. I set the ISO to the light conditions and don't worry too much about Aperture or Time Values. When you learn that ISO 100 is for bright light situations, and that 1600 or higher is for low light settings, you can quickly change how your photo turns out.

When I'm photographing my cats or kids, they move around a lot and so I set a higher ISO and then the camera takes a faster shot, freezing the motion more clearly. 

But when I want to take shots of flowers with a very blurred background, I may go on over to full Manual Mode to get the effect I want. Flowers aren't prone to running away so I can take my time and control everything on the camera. 

So, I hope this technical aspect helps. 

Which shot is your favorite? What would you do differently in any of them?

As always, if you have a shot you want me to see, please leave me a link. And, if you have a topic you want covered, just let me know. 

Hope this tip helps. 

Keep on clicking! 



  1. The aquarium is also my favorite shot! It really rocks! I saw your flowers the other day too and they were breathtakingly beautiful.


    1. Thanks Christina! I hope you had a great vacation back in the States.