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How to shoot Silhouettes

I was hired by a friend to shoot some portraits as well as a couple of silhouettes of her kids. The silhouettes will be printed on a cloth that will then be use in an upholstery project--pretty cool. Read on below to learn how I shot these silhouettes.

Photograph ©2012 Alex Suárez. All rights reserved. Click image to view a larger version.Photograph ©2012 Alex Suárez. All rights reserved. Click image to view a larger version.Basically, everything I did in this lighting setup was to get light onto the background and to avoid getting light anywhere else.

Setup: White foamcore was placed about 15' behind the subject to minimize light bleed onto the subject. The foamcore was lit at a 45° angle from camera right using a Speedotron head with a 7" gridded reflector. I used a grid on the small reflector to narrow the beam of light tightly onto the foamcore background and keep the light from illuminating the room. A black panel was placed on the opposite side of the foamcore to absorb the reflected light off of the foamcore, again, to minimize light bleed onto the subject. 

Image shot at ƒ/9 at 1/250 sec.  I should add that I under exposed the image a bit and later de-vignetted and increased the contrast in post to get a pure white. If you shoot the background to be pure white in camera, then you will lose contrast around the edges of the silhouette.