This FREE Lesson for Photographers is the 5th in a series, provided to you by the Maternity and Newborn Photography Prop Shop!!
This FREE Tutorial will teach you how to make beautiful Pregnancy Silhouettes! I’ve seen Tutorials / Guides / Actions on this topic selling for up to $120! Since I love seeing EVERYONE BE SUCCESSFUL and not go broke getting there, I’m going to show you exactly how to do it for FREE!
First and foremost, you’ll need to shoot your image in Hi Key. In other words, you’ll need to photograph your subject against a pure white background. I do this by using a 10 ft. white paper roll. If you want to avoid post processing of Erasing or Dodging out the background, you’ll need to get it right SOOC.
Here’s how to do that: I place two Alien Bee 800 strobe lights (which is what I use throughout my studio), on either side of the paper to light the background. My lights are shooting INTO umbrellas, which means they are facing AWAY from the paper, and the umbrellas are bouncing and more importantly, spreading their light across my paper. I have my lights about head high, and tilting downward, and slightly toward the center of the paper backdrop. My lights are set to 1/2 power.
Here’s an illustration.
As you can see, my client stands in front of the lights, closer to me. I don’t want my background lights spilling light onto her. They are there ONLY to light the white backdrop.
I do not want to light my client from the front, and therefore, I do NOT use a Main light.
My camera settings are: ISO 100 – Shutter 125 – f/Stop (or Aperture) is at 10
It’s important that I have my client stand in a way that is going to show her belly. Because this is a Silhouette, nothing is going to stand out except ‘form.’ Therefore, I want her standing sideways. Having her stand straight on to me would not be a wise choice when doing a silhouette, as my goal is to accentuate her belly.
I take my shot. Here it is.
Notice how she is not lit up well, which is my goal. There is no main light on her, and therefore she is very shadowed against the well lit white backdrop.
I like the way the shot looks, so I’m ready to move on. Everything else is done in Post Production. So, I download my image to my computer, and open it in Photoshop. Photoshop is my editing software of choice. There are others, but I prefer Photoshop.
If the image would have needed some editing, I would do that now. Luckily, this particular client looked great, and no other editing was needed!
Now, I open the Curves tool. I take the bottom left handle, and drag it to the Right. I can drag this until I like it…but I normally take it to be somewhere between the 2nd line, and the middle line. I like my silhouettes to have some shading in them, and not pure black and white. You can see where I’ve circled it in red.
Here’s what the image looks like once I’ve darkened it with my Curves:
The darkening is totally a personal choice, but I like it!
Finally, I convert the image to black and white. I choose to use the B/W Action over at the Maternity and Newborn Photography Prop Shop. I love the warm tones it produces! Here’s what it looks like now:
I like the way this looks, and I’m very happy with it. I think my client will love it too!! And, it only took me about 5 minutes to complete the Post Processing!! A very simple way to make great silhouettes!!
Hope you enjoyed this FREE Lesson for Photographers!!