Photographing Backlit Silhouettes in Tokyo
Shooting silhouettes is one of the major themes in street photography. By taking a picture with the background lit by a bright light will result in the person in front of the light to be rendered as a dark shape, a silhouette, but still recognizable as a person. It is a form of taking pictures of people but hiding their identity by keep the features shadowed. In pictures, silhouettes can represent men in general or humanity. It creates ambiguity and mystery in the picture while showcasing the context of the city or the area you took the picture.
Remember to expose your camera for the background and not the subject so the subject in front of the light remains dark. This means you adjust the brightness of your camera to match the lighted background, and not brightening up the person in front by exposing for the silhouette. Here are some spots in Tokyo for taking street picture with great backlighting.
The lit stairs
There are a couple of stairs in Tokyo that are illuminated like the above picture, but what makes this spot unique is that this stairs are longer and wider than the other similar stairs. Making this location a better spot to take backlit pictures. The spot is located in a commercial building which houses many offices and is located on the south east side of Tokyo. The lights turn on everyday after dark. Below are some examples of the type of images you can get here.
the ueno Silhouette
This illuminated wall art is located in Ueno. It is a very touristy area so if you are planning to visit Tokyo you will definitely will be coming to Ueno as it is one of the areas in Tokyo with many attractions. The above spot is located inside the Ueno station. The illustrations depict notable landmarks in the area like the Ueno Zoo and the statue of Saigo Takamori. This makes it a great background for silhouettes because it represents the Japanese folk heroes making the picture specific to Japan. A picture should not look like it could be taken anywhere, a good picture is one that is contextual.
The gentleman’s silhouette
There are many storefronts that have a display like the one in the picture above in Tokyo. But most of the displays are not worth taking a picture because they are not unique. But some displays are an exceptional, like this spot in Ginza. The designing done on this display is playful. This is a shop that has branded itself with an old British aesthetic. Although the display changes every season they almost always have a witty and interesting display making this spot great to use as background for backlit silhouettes. Stand in front of the display and keep shooting people’s silhouette until you capture that perfect moment.