Today Tara Whittaker, a Calgary photographer and craft extraordinaire, shares with us a trend that we still love to this day, silhouettes. You can use them for vintage and modern weddings alike. For the next 3 days, we’ll be sharing some of Tara’s do-it-yourself (DIY) projects, starting with how to create the silhouette itself. I’m not going to lie, I did think that making a silhouette involved pulling out a flashlight, a dark room, a chair and a pencil on a wall. I forget I’m not 5 years old anymore and the fact is, there are so many easier ways of creating a silhouette. Thanks Tara for describing it step-by-step in 2 different ways.

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I know that not everyone has the same tools available to them so I’ve create and low-tech and a higher-tech method of creating a silhouette. We will use both for different applications.

Low-tech option

I started with a photo of our groom, Warren. Because the decor projects were completed prior to the shoot itself, I used a photo of Warren that I already had on hand (Warren was the best man at Sarah & Bryce’s wedding). If you have the option, I recommend having your subject stand in front of a plain, contrasting wall and take the profile photo right at their level, so as not to distort their facial features.

This photo worked out just fine though. Using your own photo editing software, crop the photo down for simplicity.

Using your photo editing software, size the photo to suit your project. Ours needed to fit into an 8×10 photo frame, so I sized the photo as follows. The resolution of the photo isn’t important for this application as it will essentially be used as a stencil for tracing.

I printed the photo onto white card stock.

With a steady hand, I used an X-Acto knife to cut out Warren’s profile, being careful around facial features.

Voila! A hard-copy silhouette of the groom that can be used for tracing.

High-tech option

I started with the same photo and opened the image in Photoshop.

I used the “freeform pen tool” to trace Warren’s outline. When I had completed the outline, I right-clicked and chose “make selection”. I then clicked on “edit” followed by “copy”.

Next I created a new project which I sized at 8×12. For this purpose, I used a web resolution of 72 dpi. If you were using it for a printed application, chose 300 dpi.

Next I clicked on “edit” followed by “paste” which brought the outline of Warren onto the new project. Use the “move” tool to place the outline where you would like on your project.

Press “control” & “u” simultaneously and you will see sliders for hue, saturation and lightness. Move the lightness slider to -100 and you will see the silhouette become black. Press OK.

I used the brush tool to smooth out a few of the rough edges and here’s the final product.

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Thanks Melissa. Hope your readers find it inspiring!

Tara on May 29, 2012

Thanks so much for posting this, especially with both options! I love the silhouette style and will try this right now!

Monimonique on May 29, 2012

The paper and knife way certainly looks a lot easier to me! But I think photo editing programs are one of those things that, when you ‘get’ them, you can be really quick with. Either way, great idea, so thanks for the tutorials!

my honest answer on May 29, 2012

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