Photographers, do you DEHATE Those Stupid Shadows?

My photography students frequently ask me how to get rid of shadows and other related questions.

The bad news is that photographers constantly struggle with shadows. The good news is, there are a number of simple “fixes”.

What causes the shadow in the first place? Well, it stands to reason that your subject is affected because the background behind them is not being illuminated.

Therefore, if you have a problem with shadows appearing on the background, removing the background is one solution. Without a shadow to fall on, there is nothing, of course. No shadow.

Eliminating the background would be fix number one.

Place your subject so that nothing is behind them if you are shooting outside! Easy enough.

If you’re inside, it goes without saying that you can’t knock down the walls, but you can move the conversation farther away from them. Your shadow issues will vanish if you aim your shots more toward the center of the room rather than directly at the wall.

Adding a background light is another solution.

If you are using a “studio” lighting setup, once you get your subject lit the way you want them, add an additional light that strikes only the background and not the subject.

This has the added benefit that you can alter the colors, shapes, and patterns that the background light casts onto the background by using colored gels, cookies, and scrims. In this manner, you can transform it into more than just a shadow-removal mechanism.

Light can be compared to a ball on a pool table. Like a pool ball striking the cushion and bouncing off, it will strike the subject at a specific angle and reflect off at the same angle. On the other hand, the shadow ALWAYS lies exactly parallel to the light. In order to reduce the shadow issue, adjust the lighting’s angle so that the shadow falls on a surface that won’t be visible in the final image.

Outside, simply move the subject until the desired light is shining on them. You can move the lights around in a studio indoors to get the best angle. If you’re using just your camera’s built-in flash, you can change the angle at which the light hits the subject by reflecting it off the wall or the ceiling.

The relative power and size of a light source determines how harsh and intense a shadow will be. Lowering the light’s intensity will also result in a reduction in the shadow’s intensity. Although it will still be present, you might be able to lessen the way that it will divert your attention.

By using less power or the same amount of power while moving the light farther away, you can reduce the brightness of the light.

Umbrellas, softboxes, and scrims can be used to alter and enlarge the size of the light.

Consider a softbox or umbrella as a cloud that is moving between a subject and the sun. As a result, the entire cloud becomes a source of light rather than just the tiny little sun. Step outside and compare some shadows made before and after clouds obscured them. The shadows ought to differ significantly.

This message is by no means an exhaustive solution to the problem; however, it should give you something to think about. Entire books have been written about it.

This article may be reproduced or published as often as you like, provided it is used exactly as written. Including the section with an author biography.

Related Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *