How to Photograph Silhouettes This Winter
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How To Shoot Winter Silhouettes - Find out why winter's a great time to shoot silhouettes and pick up a few silhouette photography tips.
The low position of the sun in winter makes it a perfect time to shoot silhouettes. You just need to find a bright background (the sky's perfect) and the right subject to give you a shot with series impact.
A compact or DSLR can be used for this technique and a light but sturdy tripod is easier to walk with while still offering maximum stability.
SubjectAs there's no textures or tones to grab people's attention strong subjects that are instantly recognisable work the best. In winter, wildlife (deer in particular) work well. Even more so if you're shooting on a cold morning when the breath can be seen in the air. The bare, skeletal-like trees that cover our landscape at this time of year also work well as subjects for winter silhouettes. Higher up, turn rolling hill sides into dark shapes that curve across your shot. Fog can help add interest and contrast to the shot and exposing for the lighter, foggy parts of the shot will give you the silhouetted hillsides you're looking for.
ExposureYou need a bright background for this technique to work and the sky, particularly when there's a colourful sunrise, works particularly well. You can also use a large expanse of water if you live near a lake or the coast too.
To create a silhouette, expose for the brighter background rather than your subject as by doing so your subject will underexpose, appearing very dark if not fully black. Using the spot or centre-weight light measurement modes on your camera should give you the results you're looking for or you can use exposure compensation and select -1 or -2 to deliberately underexpose your shot.
If you're using a compact camera simply point the camera at the brightest part of the scene you're photographing, press the shutter half way down and don't let go of it. Next, re-frame the shot then press the shutter button the rest of the way to take your shot. This should fool the camera into giving you the exposure you want but you may have to try exposing from different parts of the image to create the silhouette you're looking for.