evanston photographer

How to create a silhouette of child's profile - Liz Hansen Photography - Evanston, IL

On Sunday evening, I suddenly was struck with the desire to create black silhouette images of my daughter's profiles.  I've always loved silhouettes and I thought it would be fun to have some of my girls to hang in their bedroom.  It's a very traditional type of image to create of children's faces and I didn't have any of my girls.

My kids weren't super excited to have their picture taken (I probably try to get them to model for me too often...), but this actually went very quickly.  Start to finish only took about 10 minutes!

The set-up was really simple: I had my daughters sit on a bench right in front of a large soft box and look straight ahead.  You could also achieve this same effect by sitting in front of a large window on a sunny day.  I don't have any large windows in my townhome and sunny days are few and far between during the Chicago winters ... so we used the softbox :)

The light on the softbox was at 1/32 power; I shot with a 50mm lens at 1/125 - f8.0 - ISO200.  Those settings allowed the white background to blow out and the faces to be dark. You may have to adjust a bit depending on how much light you have coming through your window or how high you set your softbox light.  You may even be able to achieve this effect with an iphone camera!

I took a few shots with their hair down, but didn't like how it didn't give any neck definition.  So I slicked their hair back into ponytails (more freaking out from my children).  I also had them put on dark, solid shirts.  Although it wouldn't really matter what they were wearing, I think the dark solid shirts made the post-processing a bit simpler.

Here's a pull-back of my set-up in my messy basement:




In photoshop, I cropped the images and pulled down the blacks and the shadows to create a full silhouette effect: 

As I was working on the images, I also kind of liked another effect, where you can still see some detail in their faces:


Which do you prefer?  And more importantly, which should I print for my girls' room?