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How to photograph and edit silhouettes {part 1}

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After posting all of my vacation photos from Northern Michigan, I got a lot of people writing and asking two questions. One was “how do you get such great color?” The answer, good exposure and using the appropriate MCP Actions to enhance the Straight out of Camera shots. The second question I get is “how did you get those beach sunset silhouette photographs. This question is the focus of today’s post.

up_north_sunset-40 How to photograph and edit silhouettes {part 1} Photography Tips Photoshop Tips & Tutorials

For all of these photos shown here, my formula was simple. I metered for the bright sky, shot in manual, and got down very low so I was shooting up at my subjects. I literally was laying in the sand, propped on my elbows or twisted laying on my side for many of these. For the ones where my girls are up in the air, I asked them to jump up and bend at the knee. Since I was down low with my camera angled up, it gives the illusion of a higher jump.

Here are my settings for this 1st photo. Most were shot with these same settings, but a few varied slightly.

settings-for-silouette How to photograph and edit silhouettes {part 1} Photography Tips Photoshop Tips & Tutorials

You can see I used my 35L on my Canon 40D. I shot in Manual at f2.8, ISO 100, and was at a speed of 1/4000 sec. The SOOC shot was not completely dark for this shot. But I fixed that in Photoshop. Stay tuned to part 2 to see what I did, and how you can make your silhouettes more dynamic. As the sun got lower in the sky, I literally did not need to do any darkening of the subject, but many of these were 30 minutes to an hour before the sun set. The ones closest to sunset I did no editing for my proofs, such as this one directly below. The light was perfect here.

up_north_sunset-94 How to photograph and edit silhouettes {part 1} Photography Tips Photoshop Tips & Tutorials

This one they held hands. They were further from me. The colors on this one below were enhanced using “color burst” from my Complete Workflow actions set. To learn more on how I edited these. See part 2 this coming up week.

up_north_sunset-55 How to photograph and edit silhouettes {part 1} Photography Tips Photoshop Tips & Tutorials

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