Using Shadows


Late evening as the sun is going to set is a good time to reveal long shadows especially when you shoot against the light. The shadows are there but not so prominent in the image above. The silhoete of the two ladies is more significant.  ( Retro park, Madrid, Spain )

In these photographs above, the long deep shadows play an important part in leading the eye to the main subjects of the photograph.

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It is tempting to think of shadows as simply the by-product of a particular type of lighting. However, they are often necessary to define shape, texture, or form. They can also be used to disguise areas you don’t want to be clearly seen in a composition—waiting for the subject alone to be spotlit by breaks in the passing clouds.

Shadows can also make powerful subjects in their own right. With either side lighting or backlighting, they can create a perfect two-dimensional copy of the subject’s outline. And just as with
a silhouette, this shape, although lacking detail, can be enough to identify the subject if the angles are right. The length of the shadow, of course, is increased at certain times
of the year and the day—when the sun is low in the sky. The longer the shadow, the more prominent it becomes—sometimes dwarfing the subject itself.

The interest to the photographer is that shadows on their own can provide a different, less direct and more abstract, way of capturing a subject. However, you have to be patient to capture a shadow from just the right viewpoint.

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There is nothing wrong in having a shadow. A lot of conservative commercial photographers may not think so and would always attempt to remove the shadows. Shadows are natural and they add a lot of depth and three dimensionality to the subject. Yes, sometimes if it is unintentional like the shadow from the on camera flash can look quite ugly as well since we do not really have a control of how and where its is going to fall.