I love this time of day! Dawn makes me feel like I have the whole world to myself. There’s the whole day to look forward to along with the unexpected moments yet to be discovered. Not to mention, the light is usually amazing for photographing the quiet moments of how you begin your day.
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Taking sunset silhouette photos is fun and easy. If you use these few tips I think you’ll agree.
First you need a subject that is obvious in shape. This photo was taken at a session I was doing for this awesome yoga instructor and I couldn’t resist as the light was getting just right. City skylines tend to work pretty well in this scenario and I’m sure you can think of a handful of other subjects that would do too. If I was doing a family portrait session I wouldn’t go for this shot because it would then just look like a big black blob with heads poking out.
Next, the great thing about these shots is you only need to expose for your sunset. Once you nail your setting for the beautiful sunset those rich blacks just happen on your subject. With that being said, just make sure you are shooting in the direction of the sun. And your subject will be between you and the sun.
So let’s get our setting for that rich sunset. There’s a handful of ways to get this but what I find as an easy fool proof way of doing this is to knock my exposure compensation down a bit. That’s the button that usually has a “+/-” on it. I typically end up going down a full -1 or even more. For this image I lowered my aperture to f/11 which also darkened the image by letting less light in.
I will say I ended up adding a magenta filter on for this shot because I liked those hues for this client. The only difference that made was in the upper left corner where you have the nice magenta toning it was more of a light blue. It looked good that way too but I thought this fit better for her. The filter definitely wasn’t necessary.
So all and all pretty easy, right? Way easier than having to add some fill light back on our subject.