How To Use Shadows Creatively In Images

In this video tutorial, COOPH show you how you can use shadows creatively to add drama, narrative, fun and more to your photos.

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COOPH shootout

Want to know how you can capture creative images with shadows? COOPH have put together a useful video showing you how to utilise shadows creatively in your images. 

Shadows are often demonised as an enemy of a good photo - high contrast in images can confuse the camera, leading to dodgy exposures and frustrated photographers. However, there are ways that shadows can be used creatively to create some great images. 



Watch the video above to find out more, but here's a rundown of the ideas in the video:

  • Look twice - Shoot your model stood in the same position, but using different poses with backlighting on a plain background. Combine the images in post-production to create a shootout!
  • Simulate dynamic actions - Get your model (s) to perform an action, posing them as such so that it looks like a shadow is acting independently. In COOPH's example, the subject jumps so that it looks like he is being held up and strangled by the shadow. 
  • Everyday occurrences - Shadows are basically silhouettes and so can cause something to appear real when it's not - for example using padding to make someone appear pregnant in a shadow. 
  • Coloured gels - placing lights at different angles on your model and using different coloured gels on each makes it look like you have two different coloured shadows. 
  • Use harsh sunlight for sporting captures - Capturing the shadows of people performing tricks whilst skating. Or try posing your shadow so it looks like it's climbing up a wall. 
  • Use shadows to simulate clothing - meshed metal items can be used to shadow lags and make it look like someone is wearing tights. 
  • Create shapes - Form goggles with your fingers and with some harsh lighting, it'll look like you have a pair of glasses on.
  • Use objects to accessorise a shadow - Get a full-length capture of your model's shadow and lay real props on the ground to accessorise it! Or how about using leg or hand shadows to look like they're using real objects?


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