Friday, November 23, 2012

How to Take Great Silhouettes

Sometimes it's better not to know. Who's in the picture that is.

A reporter at our publication many years ago was looking for a way to add some graphic interest to a story on drug abuse. Keep in mind this was back in the cut-and-paste days, well before online images were available for editorial content. There were some terrific portfolios of clipart,  but if you needed something with a little more impact, more personal, you wanted a photograph.

And if you wanted a photograph, you took it.

This was a small community; the idea of finding someone willing to have their picture taken to accompany this type of story was unlikely.  So well acquainted was everyone with everyone else, that the potential was even good for someone to be recognized in disguise or shot from behind.

It's not as if willing volunteers were going to line up either.  People indulging in this particular social issue definitely preferred anonymity.  Those not into that type of thing certainly didn't want to appear otherwise. 

The solution this reporter came up with was a moody silhouetted shot of her husband, which she fortunately had the skill to achieve.  Had the task fallen to me, we'd have still been looking for options. Any silhouettes I'd ever taken had been purely accidental and generally were not the look I'd been going for.

Like any other type of photography there's a knack to getting a perfect silhouette shot. Here are some sites I uncovered with tips on how to do it right and others showing you some beautiful examples:

DPS Photograhing Silhouettes in 8 Easy Steps

DPS Silhouette Photography Technique

 PictureCorrect Silhouette Photography

Smashing Magazing Examples of Silhouette Photography

iCLIPART.com Silhouette Photo Collection
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