Quick Fix Fridays: Shadows Are Your Friend

Novice photographers often work very hard to eliminate shadows from the background. Sometimes, that’s good. However, shadows can add a sense of depth and drama, and interest, to an image.

Case in point: Here you see how the shadows in the background add to the dramatic mood of the photograph. You get strong shadows like this when you have a strong, direct light, position the subject close to the background, and when the background is white or light in color.

Speaking of the mood, I like the mood, created by using only one light, as shown in the behind-the-scenes photograph. Placing a grid over the light created the circular lighting effect. Grids focus and direct the light. The smaller the openings in the gird, the more focused the light.

Here’s a fun tip: When you think you need two lights, use one light. When you think you need two lights, use one light.

I used a strobe light for this picture. My Canon ST-E2 wireless transmitter that was mounted in the camera’s hot shoe triggered the light. Reducing the number of wires in the studio is helpful because you and your model have fewer wires over which to trip.

There was, however, one wire attached to the camera. It connected my camera to my computer. This is called tethered shooting. When you shoot tethered, both you and your model can easily and immediately see the results on a relatively large monitor.

To change the mood of the image, I used Photoshop’s Lighting Effects Filter. You’ll find this filter under Render. For this effect, I selected the Omni option and used a blue tone as the color. Using the Color Picker, you can tone the picture any way you like.

Have a fun and creative weekend — working and playing with shadows!

Got questions? Drop by my website at www.ricksammon.com.

Leave a Comment