Silhouettes are beautiful. They are dramatic, full of rich colors, and often have a fun feeling to them. Do you struggle with shooting silhouettes? Do you wonder how to process silhouettes? CMmentor Courtney Keim is guest writing today to share with you how she photographs and processes silhouettes. Take in her simple steps below and then head on out this evening to get some of your own!
silhouettes | the art of photographing and processing them
My absolute favorite thing to incorporate into a photo session is the silhouette. Most people think it’s so tough to create one but in fact, it’s rather simplistic.
There are many different ways you can create and process a silhouette and some of the time it’s a personal preference not only in your style and how you photograph it but also in the post processing. I’m a fan of a bright background, a little sun flare, and a total black foreground area.
To actually take the photo, I do not change any of the settings I use during the session but usually change the aperture to between 7.0-8.0 and meter for the sky. I get as low as possible to the ground, ask my clients to spread out, and then do something such as jump, kiss, run, etc. It has taken me some time to nail this down but I’ve found that once you get the hang of it, you can create some really amazing images.
How you edit the images is a personal preference. Below, you can watch how a fellow CMpro and myself edit silhouettes.
CMpro Beira Brown shares a silhouette of a family in a field. The image is almost perfect in camera.
Within ACR, she warmed the image by adjusting the temperature and tint sliders and then opened it in Photoshop.
Once in Photoshop, she added a little more yellow and magenta to get her final image.
For me, I do the majority of my edits in ACR. I look at how the photo ‘feels’ and edit from there.
The SOOC image showed details in the clothing, had a crooked horizon, and had some items such as the sign and the one toe of the little boy that needed attention.
In ACR, I substantially increased my black slider as I’m a fan of total black silhouettes. I also added a little blue by adjusting the temperature and tint sliders and decided to work the rest in Photoshop.
Once I opened the image in Photoshop, I decided to rotate the image clockwise until the horizon was straight. As a result, the lighthouse was crooked so I duplicated the selected lighthouse and rotated it to where it was straight and then merged the two layers. I cloned the beach sign in the corner and the toes of the little boy to make it look more realistic.
Voila! There you have both mine and Beira’s edited photos. Silhouettes add a touch of variety to a session so don’t be afraid to have some fun and be creative!
Thank you Courtney for this wonderful insight! Do you love silhouettes? What are some of your best tips for either photographing or processing them? Share with us in the comments below!
Courtney Keim, New Jersey
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Courtney, instructor of CMU workshop Business 101: Hands-On WordPress Clinic, may not have been raised in a home with a camera but she has always loved photography and in her own words, “Once I got my first camera, my journey began. From living in England and capturing Alice’s Shop in Oxford to visiting the castles of Ireland, my focus shifted from places to people. Now I can’t imagine not capturing my every day experiences.” She captures her every day with a Canon 5d mark ii and varying lenses in a classic yet modern style. Residing in Atlantic City with her surfer husband, princess-clad daughter, and firetruck chasing twin boys, Courtney is a “self-proclaimed science geek” spending her days as a Chemistry and Physics teacher and her off time as a photographer. Her iPhone, morning black coffees, the smiles of her little kids, running the boardwalk, TOMs shoes, Anthropologie, and a fully loaded Kindle are many of the little things she loves.
Want to learn more from Courtney? Head on over and read about and sign up for her Business 101: Hands-On WordPress Clinic workshop.
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