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Silhouettes for D3200

edited January 2016 Posted in » Nikon D3200 Forum
For silhouettes, what are the best settings to have on my D3200, using my 50mm f/1.8 lens?


  • edited January 2016
    Silhouetting is a result of the exposure being out of range for a bright background and a dark foreground when the exposure favors the background. If you want the background to show detail without blurring the subject, then use a small aperture for greater depth of field. If you want a silhouetted figure on a blurred but bright background, use the largest aperture, and focus on the figure.

    The object to be silhouetted should be as much as possible darker than the background, and the exposure should favor the background. If you have any option to brighten the background, do so. The greater the difference, the easier it is. It's easy to silhouette a head in a window or against the sky, but hard to do it in the middle of a room or in the woods. Avoid flash and direct frontal lighting. If that is not enough, underexpose. One thing you can do also is to take a spot meter reading on the background and use that as a guide for manual setting. If you're doing this outdoors, you can just aim the camera at the sky and use that meter reading. Auto ISO must be off to make a manual setting reliable, otherwise the meter will attempt to correct it by boosting ISO when you don't want it to.

    For this purpose you do not want to maximize dynamic range or to open up shadows, so turn off the Active D-lighting in the camera. Various post processing measures are possible such as increasing contrast or decreasing dynamic range, but they may not be needed if you can get the initial exposure right.
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