My top tips for taking great silhouette photos of your dog

Silhouette photos are so much fun to take! You can get really creative with poses and especially with creative editing afterward. Here are some of my top tips for getting that great, unique shot!

  • Location: Scout out your location beforehand. Find a hill or an area that's raised up so you can place your subject completely framed against the sky. Keep an eye out for distracting elements like trees or buildings, you want to make sure they don't come into contact with your subject. Meanwhile, you as the photographer will need to get down low and shoot up at your subject and the sky.
  • Time of day is critical! Ideally, I've found the best time is the few minutes before sun reaches the horizon. You can easily find out ahead of time the exact minute when sunset will occur. During the summer months, you actually have a longer shooting time because the sky retains the color for longer. I actually have it set up to show on my apple watch face, but then I'm super nerdy like that!

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  • Posing: Usually a profile pose looks best. If posing straight on, make sure your subject's limbs aren't too close to their body or they end up looking a little blobby. You want to be able to see their entire outline if possible. That's why profiles poses are much easier! If the dog knows a trick, try to capture that moment. Bring a ball and treats with you to get them to jump up or look engaged at their owner.
  • Camera settings: I often use a wide angle lens for these types of photos. That way I can get as much of the sky in the photo as possible. I exposure for the sky and make sure the subject is as dark as possible. You'll also need a fast shutter speed to catch those small movements or actions that will really make your final image special!

If shooting with your cell phone, try using burst mode and bring down the exposure before you shoot.

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  • Post-processing: This is where you can have lots of fun! In lightroom, I bring down the shadows and blacks to make the silhouettes as sharp and dark as possible. I also clean up the sky area to make sure I remove any dust spots and flying insects (there are ALWAYS insects flying around in Houston). Then I add a gradient from the top down and play with the temperature, exposure, and color tint till I get it how I want. Then I add a second gradient from the bottom up to adjust the colors at the horizon.

Photoshop now has a neat feature that lets you completely replace the sky. Doing with this a silhouette photo is as easy as one click! You can get really creative with your adjustments! I photograph sunsets whenever I can and keep the images on file to use for just this purpose!

Have you tried taking a silhouette photo? How did they come out? Tag me in your social media post, I would love to see them!

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