Those of you who follow me on Facebook will know that I LOVE taking silhouette shots! In fact, the shot above was featured by the Kennel Club only yesterday on their Instagram account for Dog Photographer of the Year - eek!! So, with that in mind, I thought now would be the perfect time to let you in on how I take these shots.
The most obvious thing you need is a decent sunset....and believe it or not it is notoriously difficult to predict! There are some handy little apps you can use but to be honest, you just have to wait until about an hour beforehand to decide if it's a going to happen or not. If you are lucky enough to have a sunset then don't be too eager! Wait until the sun is just dipping below the horizon. You then have about 20 minutes in which to take your shots. You will need to set your light levels from the sky rather than the subject and you'll probably need to use f8 at the very least although you can play around with those settings of course. If you're not so sure about manually setting your camera up then I'd suggest you use the 'mountain/landscape' setting.
Certain types of dogs do 'silhouette' much better than others. Short fur, long legs and a long nose all help define a clean outline. If your pooch is a little (ahem!) vertically challenged and furry then make sure you don't put them in long grass otherwise you'll never identify them!! The other thing to remember is that ideally they need to be sideways on so that you can see the 'dog' outline clearly. Similarly, if you are going to include people then make sure they aren't wearing bulky clothes and make sure you can ideally see their arms and legs. Keep your skyline clutter free and you won't go wrong.