DIY Digital Silhouette (Facial Profiling)

I wanted a simple address label and decided to try to make our own silhouettes to use as motifs. Here’s how they turned out:


I am a photography & graphic arts dummy, and of course my cheap@$$ wanted to DIY this within my usual budget of zero dollars. The following are my ghetto instructions on creating the digi-silhouettes:

1. Set up the ‘studio’ by a bright window on a sunny day:

  • Tape a big piece of white tissue paper to the windown to cover it (this becomes the backdrop)
  • Minimize the rest of the light coming in the room (see how I closed the curtains except for the opening I needed)
  • Set a chair in front of the window and adjust seat height (I used pillows) so subject’s profile fits within the framed area


2. Get your camera ready:

  • A fancy camera is not necessary; I just used my 5-year-old point and shoot here
  • A tripod is helpful, but also not necessary if someone can take the picture
  • Turn OFF the flash
  • Zoom in to fit only what you need


3. Sit your subject down and snap away (here’s the original pic of da hubs):

4. Then, we edit – I chose Picnik to show you since it’s available freely to everyone, but most photo editing software can do these steps. First, crop and resize the photo as desired under the ‘Edit’ tab (make sure you crop out all areas not covered by the tissue paper):


5. Convert the image using the black and white effect under the ‘Create’ tab:



6. Return to the ‘Edit’ tab and adjust the exposure. Turn down the exposure and up the contrast until you get a clearly defined silhouette and the background becomes white with indistinguishable edges:


7. Save the photo and you’ve got your very own digi-silhouette!


Additional tips:

  • SMILE! We looked like the fighting GTs living on Grumpy Ln. on the first trial
  • Minimize flyaways by wetting/gelling your hair
  • The window should provide bright light that can be diffused by the tissue paper (you don’t want the sun to be IN the picture and create a concentrated glow)
  • Minimize light shining on the side of the subject that faces the camera
  • You can further touch up the bright spots (like the back of his collar) in simple programs like Paint. Simply paint grey spots black.
  • To make the address label, I just plopped the images into PowerPoint, then added text and autoshapes to use as frames

Mrs. Green Tea

Wedding Date:
August 2008
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  1. Member
    Yin 347 posts, Helper bee @ 1:37 pm

    Wow! What a great and simple tutorial. I love it! I’ll have to try it out just for fun. Thanks!

  2. Member
    Serendipity 10356 posts, Sugar Beekeeper @ 2:11 pm

    Girl you rock, I’m so gonna try this out! And you made is simple enough that even my unskilled self could actually do this, thanks!

  3. Member
    Cole B 1367 posts, Bumble bee @ 2:12 pm

    I love those labels! So cute & easy to do! Thank you Mrs. GT!

  4. Member
    penguin 3471 posts, Sugar bee @ 2:12 pm

    A word jumble:



    What this project is

  5. Member
    bearcub 1561 posts, Bumble bee @ 4:18 pm

    suh-weet! I’m gonna jump on this design-wagon!

  6. Member
    jc4evaluv 125 posts, Blushing bee @ 4:22 pm

    Thanks for the tips!! Definitely going to attempt to give it a whirl.

  7. Member
    LzzNYC 882 posts, Busy bee @ 4:39 pm

    So creative!!!!

  8. Member
    doublemint921 499 posts, Helper bee @ 5:07 pm

    So cute!!! And such a great idea too! Thanks for sharing

  9. Member
    driftslikesmoke 1224 posts, Bumble bee @ 8:01 pm

    I can’t see the images, but just from the description, I’m so excited to try something like this!!

  10. Member
    greentea 765 posts, Busy bee @ 8:06 pm

    @ ALL: i’m not sure why the images seem to be coming and going as they please, but try refreshing or clicking on the individual photos, they should show up.

  11. Guest Icon Guest
    PinkCherrySpa, Guest @ 2:23 am

    LOVE IT! I would put false eyelash on you to make your eyes stand out!!!!!! hehee

  12. Member
    mrspaetz 3812 posts, Honey bee @ 7:29 am

    yaay! love the zero budget idea ;)

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