Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Photog Class -- Silhouettes

Summer is approaching, with lots of extra daylight to play with!  Take some time one warm evening to experiment with silhouettes.  They are fun and easy, and you generally do not need a tripod (or a fancy camera) to capture some great shots!

The play of light and darkness is called chiaroscuro, in case you were wondering.  :)

You'll need some brothers or sisters (or friends) to play with you, of course!  Remember, I use manual mode with my Ellie, so you'll have to experiment if you use a different setting with your camera.  First of all, I always like a low ISO (more on that in another post), so my images below are all with ISO set at 100.  I also used my 50mm portrait lens, which is nice and fast since it allows me to go as low as f1.4 if I need to.

Since I want a fast shutter speed, I set my f-stop to 2.2, resulting in a shutter speed of 1/2000 second.  To achieve the silhouette effect, I expose for the sun, not for my subjects.  See how the guys below are all in shadow?  With the shutter set at 1/2000 second, the sun and sky are properly exposed, but since the shutter speed is so fast, the guys end up being all dark.  This is the effect you're going for.

Now remember, it's more than just snapping a bunch of shots of people in silhouette.  I chose the below pose--with Jacob's arm around Thomas--because it portrays the friendship and camaraderie of two brothers.

f2.2, 1/2000 second

Same with the below shot.  Both of the guys have their hands in their pockets, but they're talking and joking around, and smiling at each other.  I feel a real sense of friendship and togetherness in this image.

f2.2, 1/2000 second

I love the silhouette of the hands together in a high five.

f2.2, 1/2000 second

The outline of their faces also reveals emotion--strength and a little bit of seriousness.

f2.2, 1/2000 second

For the last shot below, I bumped up the shutter speed a bit to achieve a darker image.  Plus, the guys were ready to be done with this particular photo session!

f2.2, 1/2500 second

If I had thought about sun flare, I could have changed the f-stop to shut it completely down (say, f22).  If I did that, I would have to adjust the shutter speed accordingly, to a much slower speed.  By doing that,  I would have gotten some very nice star-like rays off the sun.  I'll have to show you that in another post.  :)

Now, go grab your camera and some family friends, and have some fun!

Treasuring life's moments,

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