I'm taking maternity photos for a friend tomorrow (first "real" photo shoot!) and I'm hoping to do some sillhouettes, but as far as I know she doesn't have a window that would work well for one. Is there another way to use lighting to get a good sillhouette?


1 Answer 1


Light from behind, whether sunlight or articifical will do the trick. This an example I took using a softbox that was behind and to the left:

alt text

You can accomplish the same thing with off-camera flash that is diffused or, if in a pinch, even bright home light sources with a sheet in front. Just expose for the background light rather than the foreground subject.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I believe that the soft box is really not a necessity here. A simple light source behind the subject will do the trick. Note that depending on the intensity of the light, you may need slightly longer exposures. However, fortunately this will still be relatively short b/c you want the subject to be dark. \$\endgroup\$
    – ysap
    Commented Dec 31, 2010 at 2:56
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @ysap - The softbox is to diffuse the light and better control it, minimizing any bounce. Is it needed? No, not entirely, but when staging shots, controlling the light is a strong element in controlling the outcome, perhaps the strongest. \$\endgroup\$
    – Joanne C
    Commented Dec 31, 2010 at 3:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks :) I'm working with pretty minimal equipment, so a home light source will have to do the trick, and I'll have a sheet to cover it. This may seem like a silly question, but was that picture taken in a dark room, or did you just have the shutter fast enough that it appears that way? The reason I ask is that I'm doing the photos at 10am, so it will be plenty bright inside! \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 31, 2010 at 4:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SarahHaren - That was a dark room, but all it means is that you're working with slower shutter speeds. Just make sure that the background is brighter than the subject or it's not going to work. \$\endgroup\$
    – Joanne C
    Commented Dec 31, 2010 at 11:56

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.