Sunday, January 17, 2016

The art of the silhouette

Posted By on Sun, Jan 17, 2016 at 6:54 AM

I love photographing silhouettes. They’re easy to do and can make for really great pictures. Learning how to make a silhouette is also a fundamental step to becoming a better photographer.
click to enlarge Carol and Will's engagement photographed in Steamboat Springs. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Carol and Will's engagement photographed in Steamboat Springs.

Silhouetting your subject in a picture is actually quite easy to do and it’s often done completely by accident. Remember the last time you were watching a beautiful sunset and decided to photograph your friends standing in front of it? If you used a camera phone, odds are good the people in the picture were completely dark. That’s a silhouette!

click to enlarge Jacqueline and Brian embrace after their wedding at Keystone Ranch. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Jacqueline and Brian embrace after their wedding at Keystone Ranch.

You can shoot a silhouette just about anywhere and at any time of day. It could be at sunset, or indoors or even a bright sunny day.

First, though, you must be able to “see” it. By that I mean actually see the potential for a silhouette.

Danielle and Brian photographed in a tunnel on Gold Camp Rd. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Danielle and Brian photographed in a tunnel on Gold Camp Rd.

If you made a silhouette of your friends standing in front of beautiful sunset by mistake, then it’s a mistake. But if you made a picture of your friends silhouetted by the sunset on purpose? Then it’s not a mistake — it's a technique.

click to enlarge Alie and Joe at the Garden of the Gods Club. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Alie and Joe at the Garden of the Gods Club.

Let’s talk about seeing it. A silhouette is simply a dark subject on a bright background. If you have a clean horizon line with a really bright background, like the setting sun for instance, you can make a great silhouette.

The other important part of a silhouette is that it’s about creating recognizable shapes. I often photograph silhouettes when people are in profile to me. That way I can see the shapes of their faces and bodies and be able to recognize them.

click to enlarge The bar at Jayna and Chad's wedding at The Broadmoor. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • The bar at Jayna and Chad's wedding at The Broadmoor.

The final piece to creating a great silhouette is finding the right place to do it.

I love the Garden of the Gods at sunset. You can’t find a better place in the City of Colorado Springs to photograph a silhouette than at one its many view of Pikes Peak at sunset. Here are some examples to inspire you to learn the art of the silhouette. 

Beth and Jake's engagement photographed at the Garden of the Gods. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Beth and Jake's engagement photographed at the Garden of the Gods.

Colorado Springs wedding photographer Sean Cayton loves remarkable photographs and the stories behind them. You can see his wedding work at caytonphotography.com, his personal work at seancayton.com and his editorial work in the Colorado Springs Independent. Submit your photo and the story behind the image - no more than two a week, please - to sean@caytonphotography.com for consideration in upcoming blogs.

Tags: , , ,

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Latest in IndyBlog

All content © Copyright 2017, The Colorado Springs Independent

Website powered by Foundation