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Silhouette

Silhouettes are created when strong backlighting is used to maximize contrast. This leaves the subject’s face or body in deep shadow and removes surface detail. A difference of four or five stops between the background and the subject is normally required. Silhouettes are easy to set up but strong shapes are required to produce successful images. Choose a subject with a jaunty hat, a flamboyant hairstyle, or a cigar and walking stick.

Place the subject against an evenly illuminated white or light-coloured background, or a uniformly bright diffusing screen. If nothing else is available, use the sky or perhaps an orange sunset as a background. Make sure no light spills onto the foreground, and if necessary surround your subject with black drapes. Exposure must be set for the bright background, and no compensation should be made for the lower level of subject illumination.

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