Tuesday, July 30, 2013

{Guest Post} How to Make Stunning Silhouette Portraits

Happy Tuesday everyone. Today I'm excited to have Lisa Jolan as a guest blogger! 

Lisa is an experienced home decoration and home improvement blogger. Blogging about home décor, trends, seasonal decorations & crafts, organization, and doing small DIY projects is her passion. She can be found on Twitter or Pinterest.

Take it away Lisa!

Hi all readers! This is Lisa Jolan and I am very thankful to Stephanie for giving me an opportunity to contribute on her blog. Today I am going to share how to make stunning silhouette portraits. Hope everyone will find this helpful.

Silhouette portraits are a wonderful and easy way to capture the essence of another person, without needing a scrap of artistic talent. This step-by-step guide will talk you through the steps of the process of making a stunning picture for your wall, along with some ideas for variations along the way. 

You will need: a flexible desk lamp with a fairly bright bulb, white paper, black paper (other colours too, for one of the variations), glue (a glue stick, glue dots or sticky photograph mounts are all fine), a pencil, good sharp scissors capable of cutting precisely. Choose small-bladed, but very sharp scissors to ensure that you can snip very accurately. Practice cutting pictures out of magazines before you try the real thing. The pencil should be around a 2B, soft enough to leave a strong line without tearing or damaging the paper, but hard enough to make the line very clear, not soft and blurred. Good collection of pencils can be found here.

Pin a sheet of white paper on the wall. Make sure the paper lies as flat as possible, to give you a good work surface. Place the subject of the silhouette so their profile is parallel to the paper, and have the light shine so their shadow falls squarely onto the paper. Be quite careful positioning the light and the subject, as you want a very clear shadow cast onto the center of the paper. The closer to the paper the subject is, the clearer and smaller the profile will be – but it is quite difficult to trace out the profile if you are trying to avoid blocking out the light and working around a person who may be struggling to sit still!

Trace around the face, using the shadow to capture any hair curls and flicks, and staying close to the profile – the more careful you are at this stage, the better the likeness will be. Get one or two profiles of each person, and then you can let them go off and do their own thing again. (If you have a good camera and access to a printer, you can take a profile picture of the subject and print it out to use instead.) 

Very carefully snip out the profile, taking great care to stay close to your penciled lines. Tufts of hair can be very slightly stylized as you will find it very hard to snip out strands consisting of only a few hairs. The neck can be cut straight across, or you can introduce either a concave or a convex curve – personally I like the look of the convex curve. Once the profile is cut out, transfer it immediately to a piece of strong cardboard or thin plastic. Old x-rays, should you have any, make excellent stencils, being waterproof, flexible and resistant to tearing. This stencil can be reused, painted over, kept for later, or simply discarded once you are finished!

Using your stencil trace the profile onto black paper and once again cut it out. This paper profile is the classic silhouette and can be easily and simply mounted on a white background in a frame. These look absolutely stunning set on a mantelpiece, or coffee table, the latter of which can be purchased from shop4furniture stunning range. 

As a variation, you can use brightly coloured paper for the silhouette and mount it on a black background, or vice versa. You can even fill in the portrait with another scene or pattern. Another variation, if you have several children and want to capture them all in one photo you can make the eldest child's profile slightly bigger, and the youngest child's slightly smaller, then arrange them so all the profiles are arrayed in one picture in age order from the back to the front. This is a perfect picture for grandparents or relatives far away - or even for your very own sideboard. 
If you are good with using graph paper to enlarge or reduce the size of pictures you can reduce the profiles down to half or one quarter the original size and make cards to send to friends and family. To see amazing art of silhouette photography visit here. 

This guide should help you create your very own, stunning beautiful yet very simple, silhouette pictures of your loved ones.

Thanks so much Lisa for that great silhouette portrait tutorial!

If you'd like to be a guest blogger on Simply Dream & Create please e-mail me at simplydreamandcreate(at)gmail(dot)com. : )


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