Silhouette photography: camera settings

silhouette photography tutorial
(Image credit: Peter Fenech)

For as long as photography has existed, silhouettes have been popular – during the Victorian era, they were even seen as an affordable way of capturing a portrait. It’s easy to assume the process of creating a silhouetted image is straightforward, but that's not always the case.

We spend so much time producing balanced exposures and avoiding reducing subjects to silhouetted outlines so to shoot one intentionally, you may assume that all you have to do is underexpose. However, this represents only half of the procedure. If care is not taken, the main subject can become lost in the frame. Overlapping of elements in the scene can cause a loss of shape and therefore impact, while even choosing an ideal subject for this approach can be a challenge.

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Peter Fenech

As the Editor for  Digital Photographer magazine, Peter is a specialist in camera tutorials and creative projects to help you get the most out of your camera, lens, tripod, filters, gimbal, lighting and other imaging equipment.

After cutting his teeth working in retail for camera specialists like Jessops, he has spent 11 years as a photography journalist and freelance writer – and he is a Getty Images-registered photographer, to boot.

No matter what you want to shoot, Peter can help you sharpen your skills and elevate your ability, whether it’s taking portraits, capturing landscapes, shooting architecture, creating macro and still life, photographing action… he can help you learn and improve.

With contributions from