How To Set Up A Silhouette Light

by William Lulow

The SILHOUETTE LIGHT is not used all that much, but it helps to know how to set it up. I have used it on occasion for dramatic shots. The definition of a SILHOUETTE LIGHTING is to make the light hit the background and not the subject. The subject should be in total darkness, thus creating the silhouette.

Here what the silhouette should look like:

SilhouetteLightHere is one of my creative uses of the silhouette light:


There is a lot of “negative space” in this image. It was made for a movie poster concept for the film “Endless Love.” Sometimes, you can flood the background with light (say 2-stops brighter than the main light would be) in order to get a “spill over” effect. The following image was made by loading up the background with light almost to the point of creating some lens flare. Gobos were used to help keep the light from spilling over completely, which would have washed out the image. This picture was also made with a cross-processing filter.