Do you want to add spice in your photo? A silhouette is a great way to add spice in any picture. Not only this, if you think one of your images has a lot of empty space, and if you can cover that space, it will be a great image. Using the silhouette process, you can make your image more iconic than before.

There are multiple ways to make a silhouette from a photo. In this article, we will learn about how to make a silhouette from a photo using Photoshop. Let’s take off the flight.

What is a silhouette in photography?

Would you like to add emotion, imagination, mystery, drama, and mood in your picture? Use silhouette and surprise your friends and family. Now, what is a silhouette?

Silhouette is a process where an object or a scene consists of an outline and an uninspired interior. Generally, in the silhouette photograph, an object remains black. Images like this don’t contain any story. Or the story depends on the imagination of the viewer entirely.

Using different settings in your camera option, you can capture a perfect, partial, and contrasting silhouette. There are some key points that you need to take care to achieve a silhouette photo: an active subject that is well recognized; background light should be more vigorous than foreground light, light source should be behind the object and confirm that the silhouette shapes are dissimilar and organized by making subjects recognizable and keeping numerous subjects distinct.

Learn about Making a Silhouette from a Photo!

Making a silhouette from a photo is simple. We will discuss 3 methods to fulfill your dream about how to make a silhouette from a photo

Method 01: Generating a Quick Silhouette

Step 01: Open an image in Photoshop. Choose an image where the subject is wholly separated from the background and well visible. This method will become more comfortable if the subject has a unique color and contains some distance from the background.

Note:

  • Do you face any problem while opening the image? Like padlock on the layer, simply click twice on the layer and press ENTER. This will let you unlock the layer.

Step 02: Make sure you are not working in the original image. In this step, you need to create a duplicate layer. Simply press the right button on the layer and choose “Duplicate.” You can perform shortcut keys too, by pressing Ctrl + J.

Step 03: The image needs to be refined for more precise work. The quick selection tool will play a vital role at this point. Let me help you to find out the quick selection tool. Go to the Toolbar; there, the fourth option should be the Quick Selection Tool. You need to click and hold on the “Magic Wand” to disclose it. You can follow below points also to control it easily

  • While removing the parts of your selection, Hold ALT. If you need to make your Selection Tool bigger or smaller, press the “[ and ]” key to make the selection less or more precise, respectively.
  • Switch to the Magic Want to select all pixels of similar colors quickly. Ctrl-Click to add selection, alt-click to subtract it.

Step 04: It is time to adjust the “Hue and Saturation.” Believe your selection is still ON; to accomplish the adjustment, click on “Image > Adjustment > Hue and Saturation.” You also can quickly get to this option following by

  • Go to the adjustment panel. It is right above the layers’ panel. Then select Hue and Saturation.
  • Press Ctrl + U together.

Step 05: Check the COLORIZE box and TICK it. You will find 3 sliders there. Sliders are Hue, Saturation, and Lightness. Drag the Hue and Saturation slider to the left to make this option “0” and make Lightness “-100”. Then select “OK.” Believe already, you have a silhouetted image, or the image becomes darker than the original one. Even if you don’t like it, you can still make the subject much darker. Simply select the “Hue and Saturation” option again and continue the same once again. You can extend the same process until you get your required silhouette image.

Method 02: Generating Vector Silhouette

This option is an excellent way if you want to generate a silhouette without losing image quality. Also, this option will help you if you want to create a silhouette professionally and make the image more versatile.

Step 01: As you have already created a layer at Method # 1, create another layer for this method so that your original and method # 1 images remain safe. To generate a new layer Press “Ctrl + Shift + N.”

Step 02: Go to the Toolbar and select Pen Tool. Photoshop has a Menu option at the top, search for the small drop-down menu named “Path.” You will find this option at the top right side of the option, remember, to get this option in this area, Pen Tool needs to be selected. Change this menu to say “Shape.”

Step 03: Take your time and don’t hurry while tracing out the silhouette. To make things easier to see, select the opacity level at the lower side of the layer you’re working on by changing “Opacity” from the top of the layer panel.

Step 04: Once you finish working with the Pen tool and return to your starting point, DOTS should fade away, and you will get the silhouette shape. Now, increase the Opacity level back to 100%.

Step 05: Once you have selected the shape, you can do anything with it as you like. Do you want to isolate it? Do it and keep the silhouette image only. To do this, you can delete the below layer or to create a new Photoshop document, click and drag the image.

Method 03: Separating the Image from Background

Step 01: To make a quality silhouette, you need some time. Because you need to acquire few techniques like deleting or altering the original image, it is best just to duplicate the layer now and leave the original with its little padlock, preventing you from ruining it.

  • It is simple to duplicate a layer. Simply click the right button in the layer panel and select “Duplicate Button.” 

Step 02: Pen Tool is the most perfect and useful tool to outline an exceptional silhouette. Though it takes time to get used to with Pen Tool, choose it from Menu option or press shortcut key “P.” then click to create little points around your outline. Once you complete perfect selection, you will have a “Path” around your full image. Then hit the right button on the path and choose “Make Selection.”

NOTE:

  • If your image shape is very curvy, you can give a try with the “Free Form Pen Tool.” You can found it by clicking and holding the Pen Tool in the toolbox.
  • Pen Tool is one of the best tools in Photoshop. To get the most out of it, you need to practice more using this tool.

Step 03: If you have different 1 or 2 background colors in your image like a woman standing against a mostly blue sky, and you want to silhouette her. Instead of choosing the woman, you can select the sky behind her, removing it from the layer. Magic Wand is the best choice to do this task. This option will delete it away to leave just the silhouetted object.

Note:

  • To change the Wand option more or less precisely, you can select the higher and lower tolerance level. A high tolerance level will give you a wide range of selected colors that you can work with, whereas the low tolerance will let you choose a similar variety of colors.

Step 04: You may miss out on some simple objects that you can’t miss out on. You can use different Selection Tools like Quick Selection, Lasso Tool, and Shaped selection to avoid this. Generally, a steady hand and patience is a must while working with these Selection tools. Using these tools is simple, and you only need to select the tool and drag around your object to create the selection. You can add more to a selection simply holding Ctrl / Cmd while you click, or subtract from a selection by holding Alt/Opt.

  • Quick selection: It looks similar to Paintbrush; the difference is it exists a circular dotted line around the Brush. You can select roughly everything that has the same color and clarity, and this tool will confirm edges selection correctly.
  • Lasso tool: A lot of options available in this tool. Each option requires you to click the mouse, then manually trace out the object. Another click will let you create an anchor point while finishing the circle or shape ends the section.
  • Shaped selection: This is similar to a dotted square. But if you click and hold it, you will get more shapes. If you want to create a geometric shaped selection, this tool is helpful when used with Ctrl/Cmd or Alt/Opt, an excellent way to add or deduct little bits from the selection to improve it.

Step 05: If you are looking to silhouette an isolated object, and if it’s in its dedicated layer, Photoshop will help you out to trace it easily. Only, press and hold the “Ctrl” button and click on the small image of the layer. Automatically, you will get the selection edge.

Step 06: We are at the final stage of the process. If you want to get subtle changes in your image, then choose the “Refine Image” tool. Refine tool has a variety of option listed below

  • Radius: Helps to shrink the edge of the selection.
  • Smooth: All points and corners get smooth using this selection.
  • Feather: Blurs the edges of everything of the image.
  • Contrast: It makes your selection sharper. It is inverse to smoothing.
  • Shift edge: Grows or shrinks the selection by percentage.

Once you finish everything, don’t forget to save the image on your computer.

Above all methods are simple enough to let you learn about how to make a silhouette from a photo, and practicing will help you a lot to get the required silhouette image.

Tips to Capture Amazing Silhouette Photograph Using Smartphone

You can create a silhouette photograph using your smartphone following simple techniques stated below

1. Capture image against the source of light: Keep the source of light behind your subject. the subject stays in shadow and automatically turns into a silhouette when you take a photo. This tip is suitable for the outdoor silhouette image.

https://www.eyeem.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/iPhone-Silhouette-Photo-12.jpg

2. Look for unique silhouette subject: Sometimes, the silhouette image lost its appeal due to incorrect subject selection. People, birds, trees, humans are an interesting subject to capture a silhouette image. Use these subjects to make your silhouette image memorable.

https://www.eyeem.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/iPhone-Silhouette-Photo-01.jpg

3. Pay attention to the outline of the subject: Capturing the subject’s expression is not essential in the silhouette image because you are outlining the subject only. So, learning about creating an outline is critical because a simple outline may create a big difference.

https://www.eyeem.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/iPhone-Silhouette-Photo-16.jpg

4. Snap movement of the subject: Capturing the action of the subject is a great way to have a unique silhouette image. Keep the shutter speed fast to snap a short movement. Also, the burst mood is another option for taking photos of action because it can capture the particular right moment.

https://www.eyeem.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/iPhone-Silhouette-Photo-19-1024x1024.jpg

5. Shot from a low angle: Low angle is a unique position to get an impressive silhouette image. Because using this tip, you can capture a picture where your subject position will be against a unique background. Don’t think about kneeling on your knees or getting much lower if required.

https://www.eyeem.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/iPhone-Silhouette-Photo-11-1024x1024.jpg

Wrap Up

Tips are a way to help you to snap an interesting silhouette image. You are the person who needs to play a significant role in capturing a silhouette image. Once you learn about it, a window will open by which you can see a new world of photography.