Shadows play an important role in lending a dramatic effect to photographs. However, many photographers avoid shadows while some prefer it. Apart from the personal choice of a photographer, there are certain rules regarding when or whether to use a shadow in different photographic styles. If you want to make the utmost use of shadows in your photos, here are some useful tips that will enable you to capture shadows better.
Shooting In Sunlight
If you want to shoot in harsh sunlight, make sure you choose the perfect time. Do not wait for the golden hour and go outside to explore. At the same time, avoid 12 o’clock or when the sun is high in the sky. This may give you undesirable results because of the high exposure and shadow angle. Shooting geometrical shapes like architecture can be a perfect idea in the sunlight.
Shooting At Night
If you are a street photographer who loves to capture photos at night, here you go. Shadows look extremely appealing at night and some common ideas are a silhouette or artificial lights. Capturing silhouettes at night is more critical than the day as there is less light source available. You can experiment with the artificial street lights to highlight your subject.
It is the treatment of light and shade in painting or drawing. In photography, it is the contrast between light and dark. Knowing lights in photography is important when you want to be a master in shadow photography. If you want to explore further, understanding chiaroscuro is also essential. An idea of chiaroscuro will definitely help you capturing shadows better. You can study some paintings that are regarded as the greatest examples of chiaroscuro. Two most famous paintings are Joseph Wright of Derby’s The Orrery and Vermeer’s Milkmaid.
Portraits With Shadow
This is one of the widely practiced trends among photographers worldwide. Shadows can be used brilliantly in portraits and fine art photographs. If knowing chiaroscuro is the first step, the second would be to apply it in portraits. There are multiple techniques that you can try in this genre. The most popular ones are split lighting and Rembrandt lighting. The first one is defined as half of the portrait visible and a half in shadow. It is a very common style and ideal for an actor’s portfolio shoot. The second one can be obtained if you point the light source from a 45-degree angle.
Shadow In Black And White
Some photographers are highly fascinated with black and white photography. When it comes to shadow photography, this one makes a perfect combination. Sometimes color can be distracting and hence the option for black and white in those cases can get you exactly what you want. One can play between the black, grey and white color tones using shadows.
Above are some techniques that can bring life in shadow photography. Editing is the final step and one can adjust the exposure while editing these photographs. To set the right balance of light and darkness, you can adjust the contrast as well.