We love taking outdoor portraits during the last hour of daylight, a time known to photographers as the "Golden Hour". Unlike other times of the day when the bright sun is blazing above causing squinting and harsh shadows, the golden hour marks a time when the sun is low in the sky, casting a warm, soft and magical light on our subjects. It's also a really great time to take silhouette photographs like the one below.
This image was one of the last photographs we took during our most recent maternity session. A shot like this is nearly impossible to accomplish using any automatic settings. Automatic settings will try to properly expose the subjects in the foreground at the expense of the background. The camera will usually overexpose the sky (creating a washed out, bright sky) or it will kick on the flash (in which case, the subject will be lit, but the background will be underexposed and nearly black). The camera just isn't smart enough to read my mind and know my intentions for the final photograph. :)
How I took this shot: As always, my camera was set to full manual. Using my camera's meter, I exposed for the background, bumping down the ISO and turning up the shutter speed to get the desired exposure. The result was a well lit sky and mostly underexposed subjects. To create the silhouette effect, I opened the raw image in Camera Raw. I turned up the blacks and turned down the brightness until the subjects became an almost solid black silhouette. Still unhappy with the visual results, I then bumped up the vibrance and contrast levels to their maximum. Doing so created an image I was happy with, and which only needed a little sharpening in Photoshop and VOILA!
We love how you can still see the smiles on their faces! We hope you enjoy this sneak peek of our latest maternity session! Who are the mommy and daddy?! You'll have to wait until the next peek!