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Improving your beginner photography doesn’t require that you purchase a new, more expensive digital camera and other equipment or enroll in a costly, time-consuming photography course. You will take better beginner photography by simply learning and practicing a number of easy techniques. Adding silhouettes of objects or people is one of these easy techniques—and you can start with the tips in this article.
Your beginner photography is sure to draw many “oohs” and “aahs” with the silhouette technique.
In photographic terms, a silhouette effect is created when the subject of your photo appears as only an outline against a bright background. You can see more details of the background than the silhouetted subject, which will go nearly or completely dark or black. None of the details or features of the silhouetted subject is visible. A typical beginner photo of a beach sunset becomes more dramatic when you add the silhouetted profile of a person, palm tree or lighthouse. Your beginner photography is no longer just pictures of places and people; there’s more of an emotional message in every photo that connects with people.
Capturing those dramatic and emotional silhouetted images in your beginner photographers does require a bit of a learning curve. Composing silhouetted photos will probably come quickly, but it’s the technical part of silhouetting you’ll need to learn and practice to create some of your very best beginner photography.
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Composing a silhouetted photo is the first set of tips that will help improve your beginner photographer.
• Look for a subject to silhouette that has a distinct outline and is a well known shape.
• Be aware of the angle from which you are shooting the silhouetted subject. A shape may be obvious from one angle, but look like an indistinguishable blob from another.
• It’s better to shoot people in profile, so they might be recognized, but still remain a bit mysterious.
• If you want to silhouette more than one object, then separate them, so each can be recognized.
• Position yourself, so the brightest source of light is behind the silhouetted subject. The obvious source is the sun, but the light shining through a window, a street light or the brightly colored lights of the city or a fair could also serve as excellent backgrounds for your silhouetted photos.
• Turn off your flash. It would light the front of your subject, which would ruin the silhouette effect.
For the beginner photographer, the technical tips of taking silhouetted photos may seem a bit tricky. In fact, you must “trick” your camera to set the exposure according to the light level of the bright background, not the silhouetted object. That’s not very difficult, but once you know the secrets, your beginner photography will no longer look like the work of a beginner.
The automatic metering feature of most digital cameras is very useful when you want more light on the subject, which is the way most of your beginner photography look. Follow these steps, however, when you want to create a silhouette effect.
• If your auto mode is like most digital cameras, then it sets the exposure and focus when you push the shutter half way. Once you’ve framed your silhouetted photo, point your camera at the brightest source of light.
• Press the shutter half way, but don’t take the picture yet.
• Continue to hold the shutter half way, as you return to the framing of the photo.
• When you re-position yourself or your camera, however, the silhouetted subject will no longer be in focus. When you point your camera at the light source, the camera will change the focus to that distant background.
• You can trick your camera again by using the manual focus feature, if your camera has it. Pre-focus on the subject, so when you reframe the image, the silhouetted subject will still be in focus.
• You can also use the aperture feature to create more depth of field, or more of the photo in focus. Select a larger number (or smaller aperture), so the foreground silhouetted object and the background light source appear to be sharper.
• Press the shutter the rest of the way to take your silhouetted photo.
The final secret to using silhouettes to improve your beginner photography is to shoot plenty of pictures. Practice and compare and study your test photos and take some more. You won’t be considered a beginner photographer for long.