Monday, March 4, 2013

How to Photograph Sunrise Silhouettes

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While on my anniversary trip to Cancun last week, I got up every morning
at six to photograph the sunrise.
Since Cancun faces the east, we didn't get a sunset over the ocean,
so I wanted to capture the rising sun.
This pier was in front of our hotel and gave me a lovely focal point...
especially when people were on the pier.
This family had no idea I was photographing them. I was silently blessing
them for being up so early to become my secret models!
I have always said my cutest and sweetest hubby would
hang the moon for me...
Here...he's holding the sun for me!
(He got up early to do this....I love him!)
These photos are fun to try. 
I won a photography contest and one-thousand
dollars for Hold the Sun photos.

One morning, I quickly snapped this gal walking on the pier.
I shouted out and asked if she would pose for me.
Notice with silhouettes, you need to see most of the body for
it to be effective.  Here, her silhouette is cut in half by the dark ocean.
As the photographer,
I drop LOW for silhouettes...sometimes even lying on the ground.
The best silhouettes tell a story with
body movement or position.
Have subjects spread arms, bend legs...otherwise, the person looks like a
black blob.
The woman's sister was also on the pier and I loved her
long hair in the silhouette.
Look for other silhouettes in the photo.  I waited for this bird
to fly into the perfect position.
Sunrises and sunsets take just minutes...
so enjoy those few moments capturing as much as you can
In editing, add contrast or up your blacks to really define
your silhouettes. Also, straighten your horizon.
Another tip, the sky should take up more space in your photo than
the ground.  Or do it the other way around with more ground than sky.
 In other words, don't put your horizon at the halfway
point or you will lose visual interest. 
(That's just one of the "rules".  All photography rules are made to be broken ; )
When the sun was up I was stunned to see
the beauty of my models Johanna and Andrea...
sisters from Stockholm, Sweden!
Turns out, they were staying just two doors down from us in the hotel.
I asked if they would pose for me on the beach in the sun
and they happily obliged.
I'll share those photos in my next blog post along with some
great tips for shooting in bright beach sunlight.


  1. A wonderful collection of silhouette photos. The colours, the pier as a focal point and your models poses all combined make amazing photos. Looking forward to your next post.

  2. Wow, these are spectacular shots! I've always wanted to get silhouette shots on the beach. Thank you for the tips! I'll have to try this out sometime. Congrats on winning the contest as well!

    Visiting from Weekly Top Shot :)

  3. Everyone of theses photos are just perfect.

  4. Loved this post...thank you so much for the information. And the images are all stunning!!

  5. This is a beautiful series of photos. Thanks for the photography tips.
    Visiting from The Weekly Top Shot.

  6. wonderful, joyfilled photographs!

  7. Those are wonderful silhouettes. Thank you for sharing the tips.

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