5 Secrets for Creating Perfect Figure Portrait Photography







five Secrets for Creating Perfect Figure Portrait Photography



















5 secrets for creating perfect silhouette portrait photography

Figure portrait photography produces probably the most gorgeous images imaginable – which is why I recommend every family portrait shooter try a silhouette chance or two.

In this article, I’m going to explain to you exactly what you need to do designed for perfect silhouette portraits. I’ll share plenty of tips and tricks I’ve learned from my own period as a portrait photographer . And by the time you’re done, you’ll be a portrait silhouette expert.

So let us get started.

portrait silhouette photography kissing couple

1 . Shoot low and head to toe

Powerful silhouettes start with obvious, minimalistic compositions . Here’s what I recommend:

Place the subject’s entire body, from head to toe, against the sky. To pull this off, you’ll need to be less than the subject, so try laying on your back or tummy.

If you are not able to get low enough, you may have to have your subject find higher; ask them to stand on the rock, small hill, or even sand dune. In most circumstances, this will allow you to get a good angle that places the subject’s entire outline against the sky. (You can see a number of examples throughout this article. )

Why is this particular so important?

If you can’t place your subject’s body against the sky, they are going to merge with the background, and the recognizable silhouette will be lost. You’ll end up with a lot of complicated darkness, and your viewer won’t be able to immediately tell there is no benefits going on.

Also, pro tip:

It’s so , therefore , so important that your subject’s feet are outlined against the sky! Legs in an outline portrait that are cut off above the feet look like weird, brief stumps:

perfect silhouette photography woman by a tree

Even with all this composition assistance in mind, there will be times when you just can’t find a suitable location for a full-body-framed-against-the-sky type silhouette.

And when that happens, you don’t need to give up on silhouettes entirely. Proper closer to your subject and create tighter compositions, focusing on areas of your subject that are framed by the sky.

couple kissing perfect silhouette

2 . Take at the right time of day

Silhouettes work best around 20-30 minutes before sunset . The ideal time does differ with the angle you are able to achieve; the greater the height distinction between you and the subject, the earlier you will need to take the shot.

Because if you wait too much time, the sun will hide behind whatever your subjects are standing on, and the sky may not be bright enough to make a figure.  

Capturing too early is also a problem, nevertheless; the sky’s colors could be a bit boring and you will have other issues, such as sunlight flare.

kissing couple perfect silhouette portrait photography

Pro tip: Silhouettes can be taken earlier in the day time (i. e., before sunset) if the sun is partly blocked or filtered all the way through strong clouds.

3. Choose your portrait silhouette settings carefully

Perfect silhouettes need careful settings.

Set your camera to Aperture Concern mode and dial in an aperture of f/2. 8 and an ISO of 400. Choose Evaluative Metering ; that way, the camera will consider the whole picture when determining the exposure.

If you fill up the frame with your subject’s face or body, the camera will expose for his or her skin even with a brilliant background (see the photo below, left).

But if you fill the frame mostly with a quite bright sky, then the digital camera will expose for the stones – bringing out the natural sunset colors and producing everything else dark (see the photo below, right).

So place your own subject directly against the bright sky and make sure themselves takes up a small part of the frame. The subject is going to be heavily underexposed, and the atmosphere will retain detail.

The result? An ideal silhouette portrait!

Both the photographs above were taken using the settings I mentioned above (just seconds apart).

The difference? What was filling up the frame – subject  or sky.

4. Use perfect outline portrait posing

Silhouettes are very forgiving associated with poor facial expressions (because you cannot see them! ). But silhouettes are very harsh when it comes to posing.

Here are a few things to remember when posing subjects for any silhouette:

  1. Hugging poses usually do not work . A hug shape looks like a great big blob monster. Instead, all subject matter need to be clearly defined, which means they have to be at least a couple of inches apart from each other. It’s wonderful for subjects to still be connected – but simply by holding hands or kissing, not by hugging.
  2. Have your clients look away from the camera . Face single profiles look beautiful and organic.
  3. Watch the clothing . Extremely baggy clothing won’t work well for silhouettes; the shape can become unflattering. It is best to wear form-fitting clothes, as this helps clearly define your subject contrary to the sky.

people holding hands silhouette

5. Take family portrait silhouettes whenever you can (because they sell! )

Try to capture at least one figure at every photo shoot, be it a family portrait, maternity, wedding, or wedding.

Why? Because silhouettes sell!

Here are a few reasons why silhouettes are great for client shoots:

  • Silhouettes add range to the series. Silhouettes are so different in their colors and style – and the variety they give instantly makes any shoot more interesting. Plus, because silhouettes are unique compared to standard portraits, they’re easy to offer individually as a piece of art work.
  • Silhouettes are perfect for shy customers. Some clients hate the idea of their deals with hanging up on the wall structure. This makes silhouettes an ideal compromise! A silhouette could be marketed to a client because the perfect piece of personalized artwork – with out making them feel uncomfortable or self-conscious.
  • Silhouettes appear better when printed big! Wide-angle silhouettes and scenic, environmental compositions look great, especially when printed large. So if you do capture broader silhouettes, you can sell them as a large piece of artwork. The client will love it, plus it’ll be a more lucrative sale for you.

portrait silhouette photography people by a tree

Perfect shape portrait photography: final terms

Well, there you have it:

Five simple secrets to catch stunning portrait silhouette picture taking.

Shape portraits are a lot of fun – so the next time you’re doing a portrait photoshoot, try a few shots! I’m confident you’ll love the outcomes!



Learning much more from our Tips and hints & Tutorials category

Alana Orth

Alana Orth

is the founder of Sunlit Studios , a natural light photography recording studio based in Brisbane, Queensland. With a studio team supporting the girl, she now concentrates on the girl passion for teaching associates photographers. Sunlit Studios present One-on-One Picture taking Tutorials exactly where we can teach you in-person regarding our famous Sunny Silhouettes and practice a figure together. Our online Lights E-guide, “ The Logic of Light ”, also helps you plan your whole sunset shoot.

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