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How to Create a Classic Silhouette from a Regular Photo.

Silhouettes have a timeless appeal, capturing the essence of a moment in a striking and artistic way. Let me show you how you can create a beautiful silhouette from an average phone photo in less than 10 minutes using Canva!

Silhouette Portraits

Taking the photo

I knew that I wanted side profile portraits of my kids. I’ve been collecting snapshots of their pouty lips, long eyelashes, and button noses this way since they were little. Side profiles are a great subject for silhouette portraits – they give enough depth and detail to make a silhouette that is both beautiful and discernible.

In order to capture these details, I had each child stand in the same place, facing the same way on a white wall, that was near the natural light of a window. The natural light helps capture the details in the eyelashes super well and the white background creates a simple, neutral contrast. For the girls, I opted to have their hair up to make their own silhouettes more personalized – catching the length and wisps of their hair.

How to make a silhouette portrait from a regular photo

Import your photo into Canva

What is Canva? Canva is an online graphic design/editing program that you can use to make presentations, posters, and original designs! We’ve found it to be the best tool to edit your image. Canva is also the software we use to make our Pinterest posts!

The best part about all of this is, while you can access Canva on your computer, you can download the Canva app right onto your phone and do all the editing right there. Uploading your photo into the Canva app is a much simpler process!

How to turn your regular photo into a classic silhouette:

  1. Once your photo is uploaded into Canva, you will see an ‘Effects’ tab. Tap on that. Then tap on ‘BG Remover’. This serves as the “remove background” button and will remove the original background of the photo.
silhouette tutorial using Canva

2. Tap the ‘Effects’ tab again and click on the ‘Duotone’ tab and select ‘Custom’. Then change both the highlights and the shadows to black. This will give us an all-black silhouette.

duotone in canva

3. Next find the drawing tool. Using a white color, create the bottom shape and voila’ you’re finished!

4. Optional: Adding text. I decided to add all the kids’ age in small calligraphy near the bottom. Feel free to add a name, date, quote or nothing at all.

silhouette photo

5. Save your silhouette file as a PNG in order to maintain the quality of your photo and print all right from your phone! Once you have the silhouette photos, the fun begins as you can do anything with the finished product! This includes making it into a silhouette cutout, laminating them for your fridge, gluing them onto handmade cards, etc. I chose to print all of our photos on a thicker cardstock, and then place them into our favorite magnetic frames and display them on our living room wall. 

Canva settings
Silhouette portraits on wall

Why You’ll Love Making Your Own Custom Silhouette from a Simple Photograph

  • It’s an inexpensive and easy way to create your own classic decor. The neutral black and white ensures these beautiful silhouette images will look good anywhere you choose to put them in your house: bathroom, bedrooms, etc.
  • You can turn these portraits into a tradition – take a photo of your children every year and watch how they grow! 
  • If your kids don’t like being a photo subject and are fussy when it comes to being in front of the camera, this is your method! You end up with a beautiful portrait without the kids having to dress up, travel to a photo location, or even pose.
  • This silhouette photography would also make fantastic gifts for grandparents!

side profile of silhouette

Our Frame TV Art

I get questions weekly about our Frame TV art. We’ve had our original Frame TV for around 5 years now and I have loved it so much! It’s seriously like having a piece of artwork that is interchangeable for the seasons. I enjoy it more as artwork than for tv viewing.

When we finished our basement renovation project, everyone begged for a second tv, so some could enjoy a football game and others could watch a hallmark Christmas movie. I said, ok, on the condition that it would be another Frame TV. Everyone was happy!

More of our Favorite Art for these Frames and our Frame TV.

basement tv gallery wall

More of our Favorite Wintertime DIY Projects:

How to Make Dried Orange Garland

The Best Playdough Recipe

Making Paper Snowflakes

DIY Delicate Paper Stars

Make your own Kraft Paper Stars

Sewing your own Waldorf Doll

Our Favorite Swedish Lace Cookies

How to Make a Cozy Winter Dress

Silhouette portraits on wall

Questions People are asking about Making your own Silhouette Art

Can I create a silhouette from any photo?

While silhouette creation is versatile, photos with clear outlines and well-defined subjects tend to have the best results. It might take some trial and error to take an image that will give you a discernible outline of an object/photography subject. This is part of the creative process! In general, full body pictures and pictures of nature (trees, flowers, etc.) will give you a pretty clear silhouette. 

How do I resize my silhouette without losing the quality?

When resizing, ensure the ‘Lock’ icon is engaged to maintain proportions and to prevent distortion. Saving in high resolution also helps retain quality.

Can I use Canva’s mobile app for silhouette creation?

Absolutely, It’s my favorite way to create quickly! After using Canva for so many years, I’ve found it to be the easiest way to create online designs and the best silhouette creator app!

Start crafting your silhouette masterpiece today! Tag me on social media #heartysol if you give this a try!

Pin this for later!

Silhouette portraits Pinterest Post
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Affiliate Disclosure & Content Disclaimer

This post may contain affiliate links from a paid sponsor, Amazon or other program. When you use these links to make a purchase I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. This allows me to continue creating the content that you love. The content in this article is created for information only and based on my research and/or opinion. 

Emily T.

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