Silhouette Photography Tips

Add drama, evoke emotion, and convey the mood or story behind your images by creating stunning silhouettes.


Silhouette Photography Tips:

Silhouettes are an excellent technique that creates visual interest, pulling the viewer in and creating an emotional connection. Set against a bright background, the subject is bathed in shadow and rendered featureless; making for a powerful photograph. Incredibly moving, silhouettes are fairly easy to master with a little bit of practice. Here are a few tips to get you started:

Shoot in manual mode. Take creative control by shooting silhouettes in manual mode. Choose your ISO, aperture, shutter speed, and exposure according to what best fits your scene.


Choose bright backgrounds. Make your subject pop by choosing bright backgrounds. Silhouettes work best when your subject is backlit. Shooting outdoors during the Golden Hour – the hour or so after sunrise and before sunset – is most ideal.


Set your exposure for your background. Use spot metering and expose for your bright background in order to bathe your subject in shadow.


Choose a strong subject. Your subject should be strong, recognizable, and distinct – people, animals, skylines, etc. When shooting people and animals, make the most of their unique details by shooting them in profile.


Eliminate distracting elements. Avoid elements that overpower and takeaway from your subject by eliminating distracting elements when framing your shots.


Get creative. Experiment with different perspectives, focus, and add interesting elements into your shot. Freeze your subject in motion or, create a dreamy effect by shooting your subject out of focus.



Break the rules. Have fun – break the rules! Create visual interest and a bit of mystery by exposing so that your subject hasn’t completely lost all of its details.


Creating silhouettes can be so much fun! Get out there and experiment today!


  1. by Gina on July 12, 2013  7:04 am Reply

    I love silhouettes- sharing some today. Happy to be able to join you. :)

    Glad you are loving your summer up here. We sure are.

  2. by Brandi on July 12, 2013  7:18 am Reply

    These are gorgeous! Such a beautiful feeling of summer to them!

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  4. by Tiaras & Tantrums on July 12, 2013  7:27 am Reply

    Silhouettes are something I still struggle with - I actually stopped evening trying to capture them - but you have inspired me to try again.

  5. by Anna-Leigh on July 12, 2013  7:32 am Reply

    Love the evening light! In the winter, when the trees in our back yard are bare, we get some of the most luscious light. I need to get out and try some silhouettes ;-)

  6. by Adrienne on July 12, 2013  7:45 am Reply

    Such a wonderfully perfect summer evening feel to these! Love the light kissing those wild flowers!! Thanks so much for sharing the tips for silhouettes - my favorite is catching treetops in a silhouette against a changing sky. You've inspired me to try and catch a series of silhouettes when I travel to Oregon in a few weeks!

  7. by Honey Mommy on July 12, 2013  8:23 am Reply

    Great tips! I need to play around with silhouettes. Not today though because it is pouring outside!

  8. by Janice on July 12, 2013  8:50 am Reply

    Well those look like fun silhouttes! I've never tried them before, but I just might. It depends how comfy I am using manual mode on my DSLR. I've never tried it before. :D

  9. by Robyn on July 12, 2013  9:13 am Reply

    I am starting to think that wild and prairie flowers are my favorite!

    I have never tried silhouette photography. I might have to give it a shot.

  10. by Jenny on July 12, 2013  10:38 am Reply

    i couldnt get a shot like that if i tried. you're so awesome :D

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  12. by Molly on July 12, 2013  1:54 pm Reply

    I really need to work on silhouettes, trouble is here that we don't have much large open space for the sun to get low, too many trees, but the right place will appear eventually


  13. by JessRaquel on July 12, 2013  2:38 pm Reply

    I'm really enjoying all of your shots, I can't seem to choose a favorite from these.

  14. by Cheryl M on July 12, 2013  6:19 pm Reply

    I definitely need to practice with silhouettes. I just love the ones you've posted as well as the golden hour images. Beautiful!

  15. by a gathering of days on July 13, 2013  5:45 am Reply

    I love those yellow wild flowers. I think they might be wild mustard but I'm not sure.

  16. by Diana Bisares on July 13, 2013  12:00 pm Reply

    I fell in love with your pictures the first time I saw them. I've been visiting your blog every night just to stare at them. Silhouette does bring emotion and drama. Wish I have a camera, too. Ugh! Anyway, keep taking pictures and have a lovely summer. :)

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  18. by Emily on July 13, 2013  1:30 pm Reply

    Love the silhouette tips and your beautiful photos! Thank you for sharing Kristi and hosting!

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  20. by Nina on July 14, 2013  12:48 pm Reply

    Oh those silhouettes are just amazing! Beautiful Shades of blue and lilac, and the skies behind - wow! Also the Pictures from the golden hour are wonderful - the light is so soft and warm!

  21. by LaShawn on July 15, 2013  2:18 pm Reply

    I love these! Especially the silhouettes. Sigh. It's been raining here in Georgia EVERY SINGLE DAY! I haven't been able to get outside and participate! But I love looking at everyone's photos!

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