Street Focus 02: Q&A and Silhouette Street Challenge

Welcome to episode two of Street Focus!

valerie Jardin - silhouette-1
A silhouette by Valerie Jardin

Street Focus is the newest addition to the This Week in Photo family! This is my first “question and answer (Q&A)” episode, I’ll be doing these types of shows regularly — you know, to break things up a bit, and keep it interesting!

If you’d like to submit a question to be answered on a future Q&A episode of Street Focus, just head over to to send us an audio question (if you’d like to hear your voice on the air), or if you’re shy, just send your question as text.

In this episode I answer questions about how best to do street photography when visiting foreign countries, as well as some personal revelations about what street photography means to me.

For those technical folks out there I also discuss my black and white conversion tool and processes of choice. And there’s also a Pick of the Week section where I recommend something street photography related for you to check out.

Street Challenge: Silhouettes!

As I mentioned, in this episode, we’re also launching the very first Street Challenge! Just listen to the episode for details, then simply submit your entry for consideration using the comment area on this blog post. I will pick my favorite before the next Q&A episode – and I’ll post the image on the show notes that week.

So get creative! Go out and shoot some silhouettes over the next couple of weeks. Surprise me!

A few tips for successful silhouettes in street photography

Your subject has to be easily recognizable. Think of elements that make strong silhouettes (umbrellas, bicycle, couple holding hands, people with hats, etc.) Keep the area around your subject as clutter-free as possible.

Your subject will be backlit, so don’t meter on your subject or your camera will try to expose it properly! Expose for the bright spot, press the shutter half way while pointing to the brightest spot then recompose.

You can also use spot metering if it’s easy to access on your menu or exposure compensation to trick your camera by stopping down 2/3 of a stop. Don’t be afraid to blow out your highlights for a more dramatic effect!

Here are a few samples for inspiration:


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  1. How nice of you to comment on this. I work in a library and can listen to you on TWIP while in the backroom processing the day’s book requests – it brightens up my day!

  2. Nice work Cyn!! Bicyclists always make awesome silhouettes. I look forward to seeing more from the listeners. THANK YOU for listening to my show!

  3. I was waiting near the entrance to Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna. It was frustrating because I knew the shot I wanted. I stood with my camera at the ready talking to one of the people I was with and had asked them to go down out of view, then walk towards me from around the corner. That’s when he said, “You mean like that?”. Yes, exactly like that…click.

  4. Didn’t realize I wasn’t logged in properly before….this is the Schonbrunn Palace image described previously.

  5. I know you like DARK subjects in your silhouettes, but this is the best I have 🙂

  6. After listening to your show this morning I went out to shoot a fresh silhouette image with a strong Hamburg content for the challenge 😉

  7. After listening to your show this morning I went out to shoot a fresh silhouette image with a strong Hamburg content for the challenge 😉

    Sorry, 2nd try as image did not show in my first post…

  8. This was taken during a morning walk in the Marina District, Downtown San Diego. It was one of those morning, nice temperature, calm water, and the moment just felt right to snap this.

    BTW, great job with the new site!

  9. the lonely stroll

    the wind was around. the sea a bit crispy. just a soul or two far away. I like desolation or just isolation some times. It makes you feel small in face of such a big and powerful world. she came down the road with the baby trolley and took a walk on the sand. a small one. the wind was not that convenient for the baby. I felt I had to catch her. I did.

    Denmark, Tornby Strand.

  10. Third and last attempt to upload the image through Disqus. Seems to be very buggy for me…

    After listening to your show this morning I went out to shoot a fresh
    silhouette image with a strong Hamburg content for the challenge 😉

  11. Hi Frederick,
    The image is 1024 x 683 px and 295 KB in size. It shows up correctly in the preview of my Disqus post (small version of the image in the bottom left) but when I submit the comment only the text makes it.

    I’ll tweet the image to you and Valerie via Twitter for now.

  12. This photo was taken in Paris in June. It was taken using an old Olympus XA rangefinder point & shoot film camera using Ilford XP2 400 Super film. I was following a group of people heading into the sun and snapped a shot at f/8. Negatives were scanned and lightly processed in Lightroom.

  13. Image I took on the weekend. My take on a silhouette. The southbank of Brisbane, Australia is a Mecca for fitness. Pathways everywhere whether walking, running or cycling. Interesting history fact, this entire area was underwater during the 2011 floods.

  14. Hey Marco… FYI, we do have moderation controls in place on the comments for obvious reason. So some images may be held for approval before displaying on the site. The system isn’t broken but for better or worse, that approval step is necessary.

  15. Hey Frederick, I understand that moderation is necessary. But where is the image now? Is it in your moderation queue or has it vanished?

  16. a foggy morning at work

    I am loving the new podcast. This is the first assignment because silhouette is a French word.

  17. File was too large so the below post is void of an image. Let’s see if this one work. “Retro Venice”

  18. Retro Venice – Appears a little like a night shot; however, image made at 10:00am with camera pointed into the direction of the sun.

  19. Not a perfect silhouette but the scene was too funny to pass.

    Edit: Sorry for double post. I wasn’t logged in the first time and can’t delete it.

  20. So tired of trying to post, I’m sure technology isn’t my friend today. Here is a image of a young lady out for a morning job along the shores of Lake Burley Griffin Canberra Australia. Hello from the land of Oz.

  21. Sorry for the technical difficulties. The site is new and we’re trying to fix things so that it runs as smoothly as possible. Thank you for being persistent!

  22. Sorry Marco. Better luck next time. This is all still new, thanks for your patience and persistence!

  23. Valerie, i’m really liking the new show. Here is my first Silhouette photo.

    Shot just outside work, in Iowa City, Iowa.

  24. After listening to the episode I left my comfort zone and tried to get some street shots. Here is the one that I like best. It is slightly postprocessed to enhance the silhouette.

    Thank you, Valerie, for giving me the nudge to try something new.

  25. Looking at many of the images in this thread I cannot relate them to ‘Street Photography’ by any stretch of my imagination.

  26. I’ll use the newest image for the challenge but this one is really awesome. Thanks for sharing!

  27. Here’s an image from Mindil Beach in the Darwin, Northern Territory Australia. The sunsets are spectacular. This is one of the few beaches that allow us to see the sun set in the west and sink into the ocean, colours are spectacular.

  28. You tell me Peter, check out Valerie’s silhouette examples above. Does it need to be in the street to qualify as ‘Street’ Photography? Check this link :
    I’d like to think the people on the boats were engaging with each other in public although it was quite some distance from the promenade at Mindil Beach.
    As for the technical difficulties, I’ll save that for another time.

  29. Here is a photo from downtown San Diego. At the time I was more focused with catching the traffic at the nearby intersection when I saw this man sitting along the sidewalk and I am really pleased with how it turned out.

  30. Apologize for the double post,

    Here is a photo from downtown San Diego. At the time I was more focused
    with catching the traffic at the nearby intersection when I saw this man
    sitting along the sidewalk and I am really pleased with how it turned

  31. Took this in colour and its subtle so keep it the same rather than convert it to black and white

  32. Apologies, having trouble loading up the image!!! Doesn’t seem like I am the only one either!!

  33. Sorry for the technical difficulties and thank you for being persistent. The definition of street photography is vague. I shoot street photography at the beach all the time, as long as there are people and stories to be told. I would say that this image qualifies as far as I am concerned as there are people in the scene. Others may have a different opinion and that’s what makes the world interesting! 🙂

  34. Then it wasn’t a technical problem, most posts need to be approved by a moderator to prevent Spam.

  35. “Does it need to be in the street to qualify as ‘Street’ Photography?”

    Yes, or call it something else.

  36. I’ve seen you comment on several posts now and most of your input seems to be condescending or sarcastic. This is suppose to be a fun way for us to interact and share what we enjoy doing. No need for the negativity.

  37. ATTENTION: The contest is now closed. Thank you all for your entries. Stay tuned for the next contest starting next week!