How to Photograph Silhouettes With a DSLR Camera

Finding ways to draw attention to your photographs can be a difficult challenge for the new photographer, but there are many styles and techniques you can choose from that may not initially seem very obvious. One easy way to create a stunning picture is to create a silhouette of your subject, focusing on the lighting and detail that the background presents.

This way, you can highlight the contrast between the different focal points in your picture which engages the viewer is a more creative way. Here, we present our guide on how to create a silhouette shot using a DSLR camera.

Ensure there’s enough light

One of the biggest factor in creating a photograph featuring a silhouette is the amount of light in the shot. Without this, your Silhouettes will be lacking the contrasts that really make the subject pop. Working with the light source behind the subject is essential, and you can use the position of the sun to create stunning outdoor silhouette shots.



Make sure that the light source is facing the camera with your subject positioned in between, and working in the hours of sunrise or sunset can help you to achieve the striking look that you’re going for.

Block the light using your subject

The whole point of a silhouette shot is to have your subject appear dark and without detail, allowing the background to shine. The key to achieving this dramatic look is to position your subject so that they are blocking the light, which allows your camera to pick up on the highly detailed background scene without accentuating any details of the subject.

The more light there is, the starker the contrast will be between your foreground and background. Experiment with the different angles and positions until you find the look you’re going for.

Shoot manually

It might be tempting to leave your camera set to automatic, especially when you’re just starting out in your photography career. However, achieving the perfect silhouette requires a little more effort than that. Flick your camera to the manual setting, so that you can easily control every aspect of the exposure.


Your DSLR likely doesn’t have the capability to determine your settings automatically, so using a light meter is often essential for these kinds of shots. As an alternative, you can try to automatically detect the correct settings by half-pressing the shutter button whilst focusing directly on the light. Then you can manually set your camera to retain these settings so that your subject remains shadowed when you take the shot.

Compose your shot before you start

Silhouette shots are all about contrast and shapes. Before you begin your shoot, be sure to compose the shot in advance so that you know what your goals are. Your image will look much better if your subject is performing some sort of action rather than merely posing, to try to be creative in your design.

An uncluttered shot with a single silhouette against a vivid background is going to be far more interesting than a foreground and background that are equal in size. Go into your shoot with what you want to achieve in mind, so that you’re prepared to direct everything as you need to.

Using a silhouette is a great way to create an interesting, dynamic photograph, but learning how to achieve this look properly can take some time. Carefully adjusting your settings so that you can easily pick up the high contrasts between light and dark will ensure that your images are dramatic and eye-catching. By using this guide, you can begin to learn this skill and produce highly detailed and beautiful shots.

About the Author Constance Fletcher

Our business provides landscaping services of all kinds. We offer services such as maintenance, lawn mowing, and garden care and many more. We can also offer tree and tree cleaning services for business owners, as well as to clean closures and plant maintenance.