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How I Got the Shot | Silhouettes with Bradley Images

How I Got the Shot | Silhouettes with Bradley Images

Capturing silhouettes never goes out of style when it comes to photography! They make for some seriously creative images and we are always on the lookout for good silhouettes to share!

This week, we got the chance to ask Baltimore native and award-winning wedding photographer — Bradley Zisow of Bradley Images about some of our favorite silhouette shots he’s captured.

Take it away, Bradley!


Capturing Silhouettes!

at The Belvedere

A silhouette shot of bride & groom at The Belvedere Hotel, Baltimore

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Canon 5D MK III, Canon 24-105 F4 (105mm, F4, 1/100, ISO 3200)

The Belvedere is a historic hotel and venue in downtown Baltimore, MD. This photo was taken at night from the street below. The silhouette worked best here as it allowed us to expose for both the backlight from the chandelier, as well as the light from the hotel’s sign out front. 

The texture of the building was nice to show and not be too dark by making the shutter speed too quick. 

The most important component when capturing silhouettes shots like this with two people is creating shape. By asking the bride to lift her leg up, we introduce fun and whimsical feeling for the photo. The posing has functionality as well as it creates more shape that contrasts the couple’s silhouette from the background. This creates a more dynamic image by adding more lines and curvature to the shape of their silhouette.


at The National Museum of Women in the Arts

A wedding photography silhouette shot captured at the National Museum of Women in the Arts at Washington D.C.

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Nikon Z6, Nikon 24-70 f/2.8 (48mm, F 5.6, 1/160, ISO 400), Adorama Flashpoint 360 

This photo was taken at the National Museum of Women in the Arts located in our nation’s capital. The venue is covered in beautiful marble all throughout with grand chandeliers acting as the centerpieces of the room.

We loved the intricate design of the chandeliers and wanted to capture those details while also bringing focus towards the couple. 

A Flashpoint 360 ws flash was placed directly behind the couple firing at ½ power in order to create a silhouette. We chose 5.6 aperture, so the middle of the chandelier and the railing were in focus to show the details of the building. 

Exposing for the light of the chandeliers was the first step. The second step was adjusting the power of the speedlight behind the couple to cast just enough light to create this soft silhouette around the couple’s head and not overpowering the bride’s veil. 

Once again, posing was of the utmost importance when creating these silhouettes. The bride and groom were instructed to lean forward and kiss each other, leaving that gap of space between their torsos. Using empty space to create lines and separation from the subject and the background leads to a more three-dimensional image.


at Celebrations at the Bay

A silhouette wedding shot captured at Celebrations at the Bay
Canon 5D MK III, Canon 24-105 F/4 Lens (105mm, F4, 1/100, ISO 1250) Canon Speedlight 550ex

This photo was taken outside of the Celebrations at the Bay venue in Pasadena, MD. We wanted to capture the dark blue sky at dusk.

The process for this photo is similar to the other silhouette shots, yet the initial exposure was taken to showcase the sky instead of a darker silhouette.  

A single speedlight at full power was placed behind the couple which gave them an even glow around their bodies. The posing for this photo was a bit more intimate and did not use empty space between the subjects. They were exposed relatively well enough for us to see the contrast between the dark suit and white dress. 

It is important to make sure the light doesn’t poke through the stomach or shoulders on this shot from an elevated angle.


Thank you so much to Bradley Zisow for taking the time to write this post.  

Capturing Silhouettes in conclusion

Silhouettes can be challenging to capture when you’re just starting out and haven’t even fully grasped posing yet.  But just like many things — practice makes perfect.

We hope what you’ve read here has given you a few ideas on how to stage your next silhouette shot.If you’d like to check out more of Bradley’s work, check out Bradley Imaging. You can also give him a follow on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.  You won’t be disappointed!

At ShootDotEdit, we are primarily an photo editing company that edits your wedding photos for you! But we also want to inspire you by bringing you tips and tricks for shooting that rely on the knowledge and expertise of our valued customers. We LOVE it when we get the chance to act as a platform for our customers to share their expertise with others!

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