Experimentation – Silhouettes
When starting out in photography it’s always good to experiment with creative ideas. Experimentation is a great way to learn about exposure, lighting, posing, etc. You discover what works and doesn’t work and will certainly retain that knowledge better than if you had just read about those things in a book. You will also refine your own style as you try out ideas and develop a knack for particular things.
One great thing to experiment with is silhouettes. You don’t need fancy equipment — the sun, a lamp, or a flash can be used to create a silhouette. Soft, reflected light combined with shorter exposures often creates striking silhouettes in images. You might try posing someone under (or near) a streetlamp at night and then get down on the ground to shoot the silhouette. Another element you can vary is how much the silhouetted subject is exposed (as you increase the exposure you eventually lose the “silhouette” effect of course).
Here are a couple of images which I created on a whim to experiment with silhouettes. I created the first while out catching the sunrise in Rockport, TX (see some of my Rockport images here). My daughter happened to show up on the scene so I asked out her to stretch out her hand roughly in front of the sun. Not a great overall composition but it’s useful as an illustration here.
This silhouette of my son jumping on the trampoline was just an idea I had while sitting on the porch watching him jump. I got underneath the edge of the trampoline (be especially careful with larger children or you’ll end up with a concussion!) and fired away. The shot I set out to make was one of him jumping high in the air with his arms stretched out (I did get some of those). However, the way the sun flared out from my son’s hand in the following photo made this a favorite.
Have some fun and experiment with silhouettes. You’ll get some great shots, and hopefully learn a few tricks which will become a useful part of your photoshoot arsenal.