You see such a beautiful & breathtaking sunset filled with multiples of color so your initial thought is to pick up your smartphone and capture the moment, but isn’t it such a disappointment when you hold up your camera and what it captures doesn’t come any close to how vibrant and colorful your eyes can really see? In person the view just captivates you too well, but on camera it just looks flat and lifeless. So here’s my tutorial on how you can achieve sultry silhouettes and vibrant skies without your photographs having to look overly filtered.

Even if you’ve got the latest smartphone with the most promised high-definition camera and other features, sometimes reality still seems better than technology when what is captured on camera doesn’t come close to what your eyes can see. This kind of filtering is what I use for images that are usually captured with low light but vibrant colors; most likely for sunsets, silhouettes and colored skies.




Step I: Shooting your Image

There’s nothing much you can do with nature’s natural settings. The most you can do is just actually hold up your phone and click, but before you do, here’s a tip before you hit that capture button.

When you hold up your camera, first touch to focus the brightest part of the image(the brightest part of the sky meaning where the light is at it’s strongest). This will help balance your image by enabling you to capture the colors at the most your camera can. It will also stabilize the darks and the lights and help you avoid grains and noise(those white little dots you see on the photo when it is taken with very minimal light).

Notice when you click on the silhouette(the darkest or black parts), your camera will struggle to put in more light thus causing your image to create noise & colors will be washed out because they are turned into light instead to illuminate on your focus; which is the silhouette, unless your focus is really to capture the silhouette as your subject and not the color of the sky.

All these photos were just shot and edited with my iPhone 5s.




Step II. Editing Your Image

The filter I usually use is VSCOCAM’s HypeBeast 2 or HB2. It usually darkens the image and adds a fade into it but I still adjust the settings to achieve the treatment I want.

There are six adjustments I normally make:
1. Exposure– Decrease to desired level to enhance the colors to be seen.
2. Temperature– Increase, but it depends to how cool or warm you want your image. Sometimes this is not even necessary if you want your image to look as close to the real scene.
3. Contrast– increase to maximize the difference between the darks and the lights of the image.

4. Tint– increase to add that purple-ish tint to your image.
5. Saturation– Increase to your desire.
6. Sharpness– None, but it depends if you need to.
Here is a sample on how I adjust my settings:



This is an image I shot at a TVC shoot up in the mountains. The sky was incredibly breathtaking at sunset, most of us had to pause to just stare at it, but our camera’s could not exactly capture it entirely, so here’s how I edited the image to make it as close to the real scene. The sunset was really as vibrant as the edited image.

Tip: Always adjust according to how you feel. Be free to edit according to what your senses call for, these are just guidelines on how I normally do the style of my photos, I hope it also helps you in creating your own signature treatment!


Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset

Have a question in mind or tips you want me to share?

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One response to “Instagram: Silhouettes & Skies”

  1. Ricahhh says:

    Hello Andie! I’m Ricah! 🙂 a big fan of your style and photography. i just want to ask if the filters you use like S2 and HB are not free? It seems that i can’t find it in my Vscocam 🙁 thank you!

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