Captivating Examples of Silhouette Photography

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Silhouette photography is a wonderful way to convey drama, mystery, emotion and mood in a picture. A silhouette is defined as a view of an object or a scene consisting of the outline and a featureless interior, with the silhouetted object usually being black. Pictures like these often don’t convey a clear story, and leave part of the image up to the imagination of the viewer.

The key to taking a silhouette picture would be to: choose a strong subject with a defined and recognizable shape; turn off your flash to have as little light on the front of your subject as possible; get the light right by having more light shining from the background than the foreground; frame your image so that the brightest light source is behind your subject; and make sure the silhouette shapes are distinct and uncluttered by making subjects recognizable and keeping multiple subjects separate.

Below are some truly amazing examples of silhouette photography. All images are linked to the respective photographer’s websites. Feel free to explore more of their work. Enjoy and be inspired.

You may want to take a look at the following related posts:

30 Captivating Silhouette Photos

Bogantropuz4

Screenshot5

Laura Kok6

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Lostchildclothing8

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Sprintist10

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Dominika M. Frej12

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Robert Gühne (Utzel-Butze)14

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creativesam16

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Thomas Hawk18

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Prateek Raghav20

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Juxxo22

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threefiftydee24

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Icy Blush26

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Astoria4u28

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aksdareflection30

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TJ Scott3632

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Wei Bunn34

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TJ Scott3632

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Randall Scholten38

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Alexandr Zadiraka40

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Sean Scanlon (Red Ink Photography)42

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Phil Thomson IPA44

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Manic Berry46

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Michael Sheridan48

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Marina Filipovic50

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Phil52

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Muha54

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Ahmed Shiham56

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Toshihiro Oshima58

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Footnotes

  1. 1 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/03/23/35-high-quality-pics-for-spring-inspiration/
  2. 2 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/04/20/the-disturbing-beauty-of-oversaturated-pictures/
  3. 3 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/04/14/40-captivating-photos-that-depict-human-emotion/
  4. 4 http://bogantropuz.deviantart.com/
  5. 5 http://bogantropuz.deviantart.com/art/Silluette-102807667
  6. 6 http://bylaauraa.deviantart.com/
  7. 7 http://bylaauraa.deviantart.com/art/Free-Birds-103093233
  8. 8 http://lostchildclothing.deviantart.com/
  9. 9 http://lostchildclothing.deviantart.com/art/Tunnel-Silhouette-49767695
  10. 10 http://www.redbubble.com/people/sprintist
  11. 11 http://www.redbubble.com/people/sprintist/art/55344-11-16-57
  12. 12 http://mscarmen.deviantart.com/
  13. 13 http://mscarmen.deviantart.com/art/Tornado-95245736
  14. 14 http://utzel-butzel.deviantart.com/
  15. 15 http://utzel-butzel.deviantart.com/art/no-title2-78387543
  16. 16 http://www.flickr.com/people/asam/
  17. 17 http://www.flickr.com/photos/asam/382624938
  18. 18 http://www.flickr.com/people/thomashawk/
  19. 19 http://www.flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/413634446/
  20. 20 http://www.flickr.com/people/prateek_pk/
  21. 21 http://www.flickr.com/photos/prateek_pk/3223672666/
  22. 22 http://juxxo.deviantart.com/
  23. 23 http://juxxo.deviantart.com/art/Summer-43293908
  24. 24 http://threefiftydee.deviantart.com/
  25. 25 http://threefiftydee.deviantart.com/art/GotAdrenaline-2-40978472
  26. 26 http://icyblush.deviantart.com/
  27. 27 http://icyblush.deviantart.com/art/Butterfly-Flight-50625530
  28. 28 http://www.flickr.com/people/13472452@N02/
  29. 29 http://www.flickr.com/photos/13472452@N02/3282479528/
  30. 30 http://aksdareflection.deviantart.com/
  31. 31 http://aksdareflection.deviantart.com/art/Badshahi-Mosque-94617214
  32. 32 http://www.flickr.com/people/tj_scott/
  33. 33 http://www.flickr.com/photos/tj_scott/2944444128/
  34. 34 http://www.flickr.com/people/9212250@N03/
  35. 35 http://www.flickr.com/photos/9212250@N03/3453805353/
  36. 36 http://www.flickr.com/people/tj_scott/
  37. 37 http://www.flickr.com/photos/tj_scott/3385487758/
  38. 38 http://www.redbubble.com/people/scholten
  39. 39 http://www.redbubble.com/people/scholten/art/2356785-2-dawn-patrol
  40. 40 http://www.redbubble.com/people/zadiraka
  41. 41 http://www.redbubble.com/people/zadiraka/art/2851986-2-over-all-the-world
  42. 42 http://www.flickr.com/people/redinkphotography/
  43. 43 http://www.flickr.com/photos/redinkphotography/520511230/
  44. 44 http://www.redbubble.com/people/philt
  45. 45 http://www.redbubble.com/people/philt/art/2015314-3-sunrise-at-the-heads
  46. 46 http://manicberry.deviantart.com/
  47. 47 http://manicberry.deviantart.com/art/Follow-the-light-105169613
  48. 48 http://www.redbubble.com/people/farflung
  49. 49 http://www.redbubble.com/people/farflung/art/1094618-2-mandalay-sunset-2
  50. 50 http://marinshe.deviantart.com/
  51. 51 http://marinshe.deviantart.com/art/Dance-In-The-Rain-62010858
  52. 52 http://phil2001.deviantart.com/
  53. 53 http://phil2001.deviantart.com/art/Silhouette-70838868
  54. 54 http://www.flickr.com/people/muha/
  55. 55 http://www.flickr.com/photos/muha/2143275479/
  56. 56 http://www.flickr.com/people/ashiham/
  57. 57 http://www.flickr.com/photos/ashiham/2389530870/
  58. 58 http://www.flickr.com/people/tommyoshima/
  59. 59 http://www.flickr.com/photos/tommyoshima/2911640726/in/set-72157608257657897/
  60. 60 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/03/01/showcase-of-beautiful-shadow-photography/
  61. 61 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/01/18/the-beauty-of-urban-decay/
  62. 62 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/02/01/35-examples-of-beautiful-city-photography/
  63. 63 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/09/07/35-brilliant-examples-of-rain-photography/
  64. 64 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/03/23/35-high-quality-pics-for-spring-inspiration/
  65. 65 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/04/20/the-disturbing-beauty-of-oversaturated-pictures/
  66. 66 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/04/14/40-captivating-photos-that-depict-human-emotion/

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Karishma K. is a passionate photographer who features various artists and creative photographers on her own photoblog.

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  1. 1

    Simply Amazing!

  2. 2

    Truly Inspiring!
    Love it!

  3. 3

    AWESOME examples!! awesome!!

  4. 4

    Amazing Pictures!

  5. 5

    Very nice, and true it is dramatic and mysterious. Thanks.

  6. 6

    There are some simply amazing photos here! Love Smashing Magazine’s themed photo roundups. Although I’m not huge into photography, there are astoundingly inspiring!

  7. 7

    Although I am always very impressed by the photos you are showing, I slowly miss the very good webdesign part of Smashing Magazine…

    (SM) Please take a look at other posts from this and last weeks – we have published a whole bunch of web design-related posts!

  8. 8

    nice collection Karishma.. very dynamic.

    DKumar M.
    @instantshift

  9. 9

    wonderful

  10. 10

    incrível!

  11. 11

    Floris Fiedeldij Dop

    May 17, 2009 8:52 am

    What? No iPod picture? :D

  12. 12

    You missed the most amazing silhouette from NASA of the space shuttle in front of the sun. http://bit.ly/wauIV

  13. 13

    Very nice!

  14. 14

    Great images, wow! I am just asking myself: where ends photography and where starts photoshop? I don’t think all of these pictures have been just taken as they are – this would be realy stunning. But anyway, the result is really great and that’s what counts.

  15. 15

    very nice and stunning

  16. 16

    Very cool! I think that Atlantis docking with Hubble for repairsvia Flickr, silhouetted by the sun should be considered as well.

  17. 17

    I agree with #12 | Mark, bu apart from that they’re all stunning.

    Well done!

  18. 18

    beautiful! i just twittered this :)

  19. 19

    wow!!! amazing pics…..impressive

  20. 20

    :D SUPER

  21. 21

    wow, these are some excellent examples. Now I kind of want to go out and try doing some in that style, especially since I’m already on vacation!

  22. 22

    mostly kitsch…

  23. 23

    Camilo Oliveira

    May 17, 2009 2:43 pm

    Great pics.

    Check this photo too, Estação da Luz in Sao Paulo, Brazil – http://www.flickr.com/photos/deborabenaim/3500931438/

  24. 24

    Chantelle Paige

    May 17, 2009 2:44 pm

    Love it…love your tumblr too!!!!!!!! =) tumblr/ChantellePaige

  25. 25

    Great photographs. You have a really good eye for picking beautiful photos.

  26. 26

    this is a great collection of pics. i have always been interested in photography but never found a quick way to learn it. this article keeps the explanation of the art very simple and i think that is great. keep up the good work.

  27. 27

    Craig - Abrishca Digital Media

    May 17, 2009 6:22 pm

    Thanks for the great post. I’m really enjoying the emergence of photography related articles here on SM and other web design blogs.

  28. 28

    Wow..! I’m amazed. Pictures do speak a thousand words – I’ve had so many different emotions running through my head while I was looking at these pictures as i was scrolling down. Great attention to details, a wide range of emotions and an amazing array of pictures displayed – great stuff ! keep it going x

  29. 29

    Asela de Saram

    May 17, 2009 8:39 pm

    Absolutely amazing!!!

  30. 30

    oh my God whats the photos are

    and one more thing before reading this article I does not know the meaning of “Silhouette photography”

  31. 31

    Hey,

    Karishma these pics are some of the most amazing i ever seen.

    Thank you so much for sharing the Link, in fact i enjoyed reading the post as well, could learn some tips from you about Photography.

    Thanx and regrds

    Gaurav Bagdi
    :)

  32. 32

    Amazing pictures (: Really lovly

  33. 33

    awsome! great photos!

  34. 34

    Amazing collection of pictures. Very inspiring for my monday morning

  35. 35

    I am sick of the lazy image loader thing.. it is sooo annoying!

  36. 36

    The pictures capture so many emotions and remind me of so many great memories with loved ones I’d pushed to the back of my mind for the last couple years. The pictures gave me a great opportunity to reflect! Excellent choice of silhouettes!

  37. 37

    Resham Raichandani

    May 18, 2009 2:23 am

    Very captivating photos! Love the use of the colours!

  38. 38

    The Prateek Raghav birds look like they’ve been clonestamped. It really detracts.

  39. 39
  40. 40

    Good stuff. As usual.

  41. 41

    If this were actual photography I might like it a little more, but sadly most images here look like they’ve been photoshopped to hell and back. People used to be able to take these kinds of pictures au naturel, unlike the many attention whores depicted here.

  42. 42

    This set of silhouette pictures has the finest selection I have seen in a long time.
    Awesome

  43. 43

    Amazing! good to start week with

  44. 44
  45. 45

    Superd…nice play of shadows

  46. 46

    phenomenal pictures, great job. We need to see more of this high quality collection from karishma.

  47. 47

    Awesome!!!!!!!!!

  48. 48

    very nice collection of pictures. i think i will use some of them for my screensaver.

  49. 49
  50. 50

    This are very unique and absolutely amazing photos. Great article on the different ways to create silhouettes.

  51. 51

    These photos possess a dream like quality to them. Very nostalgic…They make my heart smile. =) Thanks for sharing!!!

  52. 52

    Catalina Quiroz

    May 18, 2009 12:26 pm

    images may be photoshopped or not, I still think the overall result is worth it big time.
    Great collection!

  53. 53

    Truly amazing talent – Karishma job well done.

  54. 54

    STUNNING.
    so great!!
    I’m just gonna stare at these for a few hours lol.

  55. 55

    Wow! Looks great, but some of them look so unreal, they must have been photoshopped. I wonder…

  56. 56

    very nice collection thanks

  57. 57

    Vancouver photographer

    May 19, 2009 12:48 am

    All of these are excellent. Can’t say that I like one in particular because they are all good. Thanks for posting these amazing images, I would love to start adding shilhouette to my wedding photos too.
    Thanks!

  58. 58

    here’s another one. flickr

  59. 59

    Kasandria Reasoner

    May 19, 2009 6:11 am

    Wow! Those are truly breathtaking! Enjoyed reading your blog. Keep up the good work! Clicked some ads for you.
    Kas

  60. 60
  61. 61

    Lame post… There are a few great pictures here but most don’t meet with the standard Smashing used to have. It’s a shame, posts like these make me wonder why I still follow SM at all…

  62. 62

    Wow – nice pics!

  63. 63

    Great selection of photographs!

  64. 64

    Cool, but several images are no original photographs. Example “threefiftydee” is a ” conceptual poster” in its owner’s words.

    It would be greater if you include original images

  65. 65

    Prateek Raghav

    May 22, 2009 5:15 am

    @ Meghan

    yes they have been clone stamped :) ..i did it to fill the frame coz the upper left part of the frame seemed empty and didnt attract .
    thanx for the criticism ..but had no other option

  66. 66

    Simply Amazing! and look great :D

  67. 67

    Dominika M. Frej

    May 23, 2009 2:02 pm

    Hi there! Thanks for featuring my shot. It was such a nice surprise when my friend told me she saw my photo here.
    I’m happy for choosing this one, cuz people can notice horses are gorgeous animals.

    Best wishes from Warsaw! (;

  68. 68
  69. 69

    impressive Pictures -|-

  70. 70

    AKSDAREFLECTION, you are very aesthetic and animated towards Nature , YOU ROCK!!!

  71. 71

    Wonderful, impressive photos! Just love them!

  72. 72

    wt a lovely click!! unbelievable photography!

  73. 73

    really great!

  74. 74

    great.., thx..

  75. 75

    hellow is beautifull this image and xplication’s,

    have a nice day

  76. 76

    pleasure to see. keep going..

  77. 77

    i would be amaze if its the original photos alone… no revision… no photoshop.

  78. 78

    its heart touching photography.

  79. 79

    Fantastic, eye catching pics… loved them all

  80. 80

    speechless…. *amaze

  81. 81

    Amazing silhouettes .. very inspiring ..

  82. 82

    fasinating photographs

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