The blog of photographer Kim Ayres

The Silhouette Challenge - and Episode 62 of Understanding Photography with Kim Ayres

There's something engaging about a silhouette – we can't help but feel a compulsion to work out what the outline is of, and to try and mentally fill in the lack of internal details.

This desire has no doubt evolved in us as a survival mechanism: when our distant ancestors couldn't see something clearly, the ability to fill in the gaps and work out whether it was prey or predator would have made all the difference in whether they ate, or were eaten.

In terms of photography, it means the viewer can't help themselves attempting to solve the puzzle – and by looking at our photo that little bit longer feel a slightly stronger connection to it.

The background also becomes extremely important in deciphering the image – either it is blank, and so allows the outline to be seen more clearly, or it might give some kind of clue because of the setting.

Create the right combination of silhouette shape and background, and the desire to look can become almost irresistible.

And when we live in a world where people will scroll through a long feed of hundreds of images on social media, it can mean the difference between whether your photo gets a like, a vote, a comment or a share, or is barely noticed.

So this week's photo challenge for the live video podcast is to create an interesting, engaging image using silhouettes.

Quick word of warning – DO NOT look through the viewfinder if you are pointing your camera towards the sun – your camera is a lens and you could seriously damage your eyesight. Best to use the viewscreen to line up your shot, or point the camera in the right direction you want, take the photo and then check it on the viewscreen to see if it worked.

See how you get on – I'm really looking forward to seeing what people are going to produce! But if you find you're struggling, then you can still submit a photo you're having difficulty with - just explain the problem and I can include suggestions and ideas in the podcast too.

Place your photo (just the one please) either into this event page in the Discussion section:

or into the Understanding Photography with Kim Ayres Facebook Group:

Try and get it in before the end of the weekend, or by Monday (14th April) at the latest. Anything that arrives on Tuesday runs the risk of not being included in the podcast.

You can use a phone, tablet, point-and-shoot or DSLR (or mirrorless).

And then, make sure you tune in on Tuesday 15th June at 7.30pm (UK time) where I'll go through the photos, and give comments and feedback, and hopefully we will all become inspired by some of the submissions to go and try out new things with our photography.

Meanwhile, enjoy episode 62 below


0:00 - Welcome, what's coming up, greetings and comments
3:40 - Introduction to Silhouettes
16:25 - Adding colour to a black and white silhouette photo
22:25 - Never look through the viewfinder when pointing the camera at the sun
30:48 - Critique of images submitted to the Facebook Group, "Understanding Photography with Kim Ayres"
48:47 - Removing redness in faces
1:05:05 - Coming up next week - the Silhouette Challenge
1:08:55 - End

If you found this interesting/useful/entertaining, then please consider supporting these podcasts and blog posts via

Also consider subscribing to my YouTube channel - – to help me build the numbers.

And, or course, if you would like to submit a photo for feedback, or just ask a photography related question, then do join my Understanding Photography with Kim Ayres Facebook group and I will put it into the following podcast:

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