When I was pregnant with my fourth, I knew it would be my last pregnancy, so I wanted to make sure I made the most of the experience and document it through flattering and timeless images that I knew I would love and feel comfortable sharing with everyone.
After a bit of a google as to how silhouette photography works, then through trial and error of photo taking and editing, I finally “perfected” my skills as a “pro” (novice) silhouette photographer.
I documented and shared each stage of my last pregnancy through silhouettes on my Instagram account and the response each time was mind blowing. I was flooded with compliments and had my images re shared hundreds of times, all over the world with continuous praise, tags and comments from other women saying they wanted to know how to do this or telling their friends they NEEDED to try it.
I even started a bit of a trend among my girlfriends who were then pregnant or have been since. With them too documenting their pregnancies through silhouette, after being inspired by my photos and following some simple advice, provided by yours truly.
If you too want to want to document your pregnancy or get that special Maternity shot, without the expense of hiring a professional photographer, then all you have to do is follow this quick and easy tutorial.
Pregnancy Silhouette Tutorial
Step 1. Get a camera. I used my phone. It doesn’t have to be a good quality camera at all, your phone will do the job perfect if you don’t own a DSLR.
Step 2. Find some light! I used my bedroom window because it was a full wall floor to ceiling window. You could also use sliding glass doors, any room that allows for an abundance of natural light, or one of my favourites is when the sun is low on the horizon (Sunrise or Sunset).
Step 3. If you are taking your photo in front of a window, you may want to buy some sheer curtains. You don’t have too, if the lighting is good then you wont see anything in the background (if you do, you can always edit it out anyway) but my bedroom window faced the front yard, so I didn’t want onlookers watching me pose in my window half naked.
Step 4. You need to make sure that the room is dark(er) behind the camera. The main light source should be facing into the lens without other bright light sources surrounding the camera. For us that was just window blinds open open, and bedroom light off. So forget all other rules of photography because silhouettes is unlike taking any other kind of photo.
Step 5. When you’re taking the photo you need to focus on the background (where the light is coming from so for me that was the window) and not have the focus on you. Adjust your DSLR to have you out of focus, or if using your phone (which I was) simply touch the background and it should have unfocused on you.
Step 6. Get someone to take the photo. My husband took mine, there is no skill needed in it. He simply aimed the phone and took about 20 photos, because.. OPTIONS. You could also put your camera on a timer if you have no one.
Step 7. Don’t worry if your photos don’t look like silhouettes just yet. THEY WONT! that’s what editing is for. You don’t need any fancy software. Any basic editing tools will get you the silhouette look. I just used INSTAGRAM to edit my photos before posting them.
Step 8. Select photo to share on Instagram (these same steps will be the same as any other editing program) Zoom/Crop to desired frame then select EDIT.
Step 9. Select Brightness and adjust it to the brightest setting.Step 10. Select Shadows and adjust it to the darkest shadow setting.Step 11. Select Highlights and adjust it to the lightest/brightest setting.Step 12. Select Contrast then adjust it to your desired Silhouette effect. Adjusting it to the highest contrast will give you the best silhouette, however some people prefer for it to look more natural and not as black and white. See below comparisons.
Step 13. Select Saturation if to alter the colour. If you would like your silhouette to maintain a natural feel with a hint of skin tone then leave as is, if you want a full black and white silhouette effect adjust accordingly. See below comparisons.
Step 14. You can always use editing software to remove any interference in your white background if youre unhappy with it, however I have left it.
Step 15. You’re done. It’s time to SHARE and SAVE!
For Comparison, here is a before and after shot. The difference is mind blowing and simply stunning!
I hope you found this tutorial helpful. Don’t forget to tag me if you share your silhouettes on Instagram @mytribeofsix so I can check them out!
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