Shooting a person outdoors as a sihlouette

kat.hayes

EOS M6 Mark II
Nov 25, 2014
76
0
I am fairly new to photography and have never shot sihlouette. I want to shoot someone with some low light near the golden hour with a 5DM3 and a EF 24-70mm 1:2.8 L.
I will use Spot Metering and expose for the sky, and use AP mode at pretty wide open around f4 to create some nice blur to the background.

1. Does everything listed here sound ok for what I want to do?
2. Do I just set ISO as I normally would and have it somewhere around 600 based on the low light or should I want to keep my ISO lower based on what I am trying to do?

Thanks!
 

3kramd5

EOS R6
Mar 2, 2012
3,084
405
I presume you're shooting into the light? Either way, you might not end up with a total silhouette; it depends a lot on how bright the horizon vs ambient are.

Why AP mode? If you click it to manual you'll be able to adjust more easily.
 

kat.hayes

EOS M6 Mark II
Nov 25, 2014
76
0
I am new to this, that is why I was going to use AP mode, because I am not quite comfortable in manual yet.

As far as shooting into the light, I was going to select a location based on how it looks, though I didn't consider that I will need to shoot directly into the light...so I guess I need to find a good spot where the light is to backlighting my subject and make that is the priority vs. what I consider to just be a nice location...?
 

nvsravank

EOS 90D
Feb 2, 2012
125
0
You might have too much light!
Especially if you are trying to get a good silhouette directly in camera and not in post.
Minimize the ISO.

Use manual. No flash(obviously).
Set to what aperture you want and set the time to as quick as you can to get the sky in right exposure.
Make sure the actual sun is right behind the silhouette to get the best chance of the contrast you need.

If the light is too much, just wait for the sun to go down a bit more.
 

3kramd5

EOS R6
Mar 2, 2012
3,084
405
kat.hayes said:
I am new to this, that is why I was going to use AP mode, because I am not quite comfortable in manual yet.

As far as shooting into the light, I was going to select a location based on how it looks, though I didn't consider that I will need to shoot directly into the light...so I guess I need to find a good spot where the light is to backlighting my subject and make that is the priority vs. what I consider to just be a nice location...?
No time like the present. I only suggest it because the autoexposure algorithms aren't set up for what you're doing. You'll have to meter the sky, lock exposure, then compose. Then if you don't like it you'll have to dial in exposure comp. It would be much easier, IMO, to select base ISO and whatever aperture you want, and then merely adjust the shutter speed to taste.

Either way, have fun!
 

LDS

EOS 5D Mark IV
Sep 14, 2012
1,681
219
kat.hayes said:
I will use Spot Metering and expose for the sky, and use AP mode at pretty wide open around f4 to create some nice blur to the background.
Using spot metering, if you have enough time, you can take two readings (or more, if needed), one for the background, and one for the subject you want in silhouette. The difference between the two readings will tell you how dark (underexposed) the silhouette will be if you expose for the background. Unluckily the 5D3 doesn't have a way to store and display multiple readings (AFAIK the 1Dx and 7DII have it), but the math is quite simple.

The you can decide what shutter/aperture combination you need to obtain the desired result (i.e. a true black silhouette, or if you want some detail in the shadows, or how bright you want the background), usually working in manual mode is quicker, the same results can be obtained with AE lock or exposure shifts, but it's more complicated than useful, IMHO.
 

AcutancePhotography

EOS 5D Mark IV
May 8, 2013
1,853
1
First it depends on what you mean by silhouette. I am a narrow-minded purist ;D when it comes to silhouettes and I like mine totally black with no interior information. However, many photographers have great success with partial silhouettes. In photography, no one is right or wrong.

If I am going for a full silhouette, I find that I need at least 4 stops between my subject and the background. Try that as a starting point.

You mentioned shooting at f4 to blur the background. What sort of background are you shooting against and how far is it from your subject? Also what is your subject and is it moving? I find that shutter speed is of more importance, especially if there is movement and that aperture is set after shutter speed to get the correct exposure. It should be said that I only do tripod silhouette shots. I find that I usually have to stop down to get the right exposure.

Good luck with it. Full or partial silhouettes are fun to shoot.
 

Valvebounce

EOS R5
CR Pro
Apr 3, 2013
4,461
357
53
Isle of Wight
Hi Kat.
You have had a lot of good advice here, definitely get in to manual, my experience lies in trying to balance silhouette sunsets, and I have often found that I need more than 3 stops difference from what the camera thinks is a correct exposure, this would limit the usefulness of AV as even the 5DIII doesn't have direct access to more than 3 stops of exposure bias (you can get 5 stops by using menus).
As you no longer have to take a shot and go home (or send it away) to develop it and then remember what the settings were, ;D how about attacking it with a bit of trial and error, go out and shoot a bush or toy bear or something in silhouette and see what settings you need to get where you want to be.
Good luck achieving what you are aiming for, it can look good when you get it right, one day I'll get it right! ;D

Cheers, Graham.