Assignment#9 – Silhouettes


Due December 1.

Back lighting is when the main light source is behind the subject being photographed. While it can be used in normal photography we are using this to create silhouettes.  Silhouettes can be an excellent way to add mystery to a scene. The stark contrast and lack of detail lend the subject anonymity.  It is a technique frequently used in films, plays, and concerts.

Similar to shadows, photographing a silhouette is about contrast and adding a shape to a background. The easiest way to achieve this is by using your light meter to expose on a light behind a subject, but it can also be achieved with exposure compensation.  It works best with a plain background, like shadows. If your subject is not dark enough and the light behind them is too bright, try playing with the exposure compensation to read the light behind the subject.

When adding a silhouette, the key element to keep in mind is that you are adding a shape, not a person or bird or tree, to your picture.  In sunset photography, getting a pure black shape with no detail is easy if you take a meter readings from the sky—everything else is going to be underexposed and black.


Your assignment is to take photographs using back lighting.  Look for intriguing shapes and forms.  If photographing a person, have them pose in interesting ways.  See what works best!   Email, from your school account if possible, with your best photograph.  Include your name, date and assignment information.  Late assignments lose 10% each day after the due date.