Silhouette Photography Quest

Silhouette Photography Quest

silhouette [sil-oo-et]


  1. a two-dimensional representation of the outline of an object, as a cutout or configurational drawing, uniformly filled in with black, especially a black-paper, miniature cutout of the outlines of a famous person's face.
  2. the outline or general shape of something:
    the slim silhouette of a skyscraper.
  3. a dark image outlined against a lighter background.


A Silhouetted image is both mysterious and intriguing. Technique is critical to successful creation of a silhouette but as always how you use it is more important than knowing how to make one.

If you are ready to test your complete control of exposure control, accept this quest now.


This quest will require significant research and investigation as a major component of your process. While skill will allow for success, your process and planning of how you will utilize AND create the silhouette will define success or failure in your artwork.

Utilize the resources below AND do investigation of your own. Application of silhouettes in creative compositions varies far beyond  just portraits.


Better than good enough


Silhouette Galleries

Apply the design process while clearly and thoroughly documenting your process on a Project Page. Read the entire Quest and understand the expectation and requirements before beginning. It's part of the first stage of the design process.


Create your new project page titled SilhouettesNow copy and paste the following as you will need to complete and correctly document these 7 steps on the your design process:

  1. Understand the Problem
  2. Research and Investigate
  3. Generate Possible Solutions
  4. Select AND DEVELOP Best Solution 
  5. Model and Prototype (Create)
  6. Test and Evaluate
  7. Produce


Use these to guide your Design Process


1. Consider what the goal is for this project?

  • What is a Silhouette?
  • What are the challenges you must meet to be successful?
  • What is your assignment?

     Design Process STAGE 2: Research, Investigate and Inspire

Always record every resource either as a cited source or a linked resource with documentation on your project page.

2. Research Silhouettes technique and Find inspiration in new resources

  • Clarify what is needed to be successful
  • What technical skills are necessary
  • Document what you find that inspires you.
  • Include images and photographers that inspire you…and why
  • What will make your silhouette special

Two short videos  1 |  2 – part a larger backlighting course that might help too

Digital Photography School

How to Photograph Silhouettes in 8 Easy Steps

Tips for shooting killer silhouettes

Amazing examples

Tips for silhouettes


     Design Process STAGE 3: Generate Possible Solutions

3. Brainstorm ideas – Show your brainstorming as idea webs, clouds, lists, found imagery, sketches.

  • Brainstorm – subject matter
  • Brainstorm – environments
  • Brainstorm – compositions
  • Brainstorm – concept/meaning/purpose

     Design Process STAGE 4: Select and Develop Best Solution

4. Select the best solution

  • notate why you have chosen it
  • Finalize a sketch of best solution
  • create a plan for time place and technical goals

      Design Process STAGE 5: Model and Prototype (Create)

5. Begin production of your design

  • Create and get the shots
  • upload and Process
  • Explore digital development options
  • Consider asking the Captain for a brief In-Progress Critique

     Design Process STAGE 6: Test and Evaluate

7. Self-reflect on your design

  • Reflect on how they have turned out
  • Reshoot? See the Captain if you think an Extension would benefit you.
  • How could you take it further or improve it?
  • Document at least one other photographers suggestions that extend beyond “it looks good”
  • Refine or develop elements of the design that can be improved

     Design Process STAGE 7: Produce

8. Turn in the final .JPG and Print

  • Turn file into the Captain’s server
  • Finalize Project Page with full self-reflection
    • successes
    • struggles
    • improvements
    • what you learned
  • Turn in a self-evaluation sheet to the Captain

Project Requirements
  • Complete Design Process documented on a Project Page
    • Include Both Final Print with an artist statement at the Top of your Project page
  • 2 finished Photographic Prints (minimum size 1950 x 2850 pixels)
    • One utilizing controlled lighting
    • One using ambient or atmospheric light (natural setting, but does not have to be sunlight)
  • Print both and mount or matte at least one

COMPLETE: You need a fully finished project page including all scanned sketchbook work with captions. Turn your your finished artwork to the Captain's Server. Finally Paste the URL to your project page below and you may then click complete.

Great Work Visitor.

Be Proud.

Go hang the finished piece on the Critique wall at the front of the classroom. Other's need to see what you have accomplished.

MASTERY: To earn your mastery

  • Get your photos printed and matted or mounted (If its larger than 8.5 x 11 it will need to be matted or spray mounted. ask the Captain)

Rock ON!!!

Here is some additional bonus loot if you get your artwork displayed in the hall. Don't forget to come back and claim it when you see on display!

  • Have it selected for display in the hall
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