Shadow Photography Tips and Ideas

Shadows make photos look more appealing. They add dimension and texture to your images just like light. You can also make shadows the main subject or element of your photos. Read on to learn some photography tricks to make your shadow images unique, interesting, and convey the message that you want.

Typically shadows have no color, and are just gray or black. But if you use a colored translucent material to cast a shadow, you then get colored shadows. For this to work you do need a fairly translucent colored subject. Some balloons, for example, are quite thick and so will just cast a grey or very faintly colored shadow. Suitable subjects for this type of photo are colorful umbrellas, glass, bottles, or even jelly sweets. If you have a clear glass, you always create a colorful shadow by filling it with colored water.

Shoot on a neutral background to make it easier to see the colored shadow. You can also shoot shadows on a translucent surface. This photography technique is similar to a silhouette. After positioning your subject behind the semi-translucent surface, you place a light behind it. You can use translucent umbrellas or tents.

If you want distorted shadows, look for a 3D or uneven surface. This will allow the shadows to bend. Sometimes, the best shadows can be captured if you wait for light during sunrise or sunset. Longer shadows are created if your light source is closer to the ground.

The best shadows are created by light that is lower on the horizon, which creates strong, long, and dramatic shadows. You’re generally going to find this type of light outdoors closer to sunrise and sunset, when the sun is lower in the sky (rather than directly above you. If you are photographing indoors you can use a lamp without the shade to create a strong light source, which will result in strong shadows. The closer your light source is to the ground (or to the level the shadow-casting object is, such as on a table), the longer of a shadow you will end up with.

Watch the video below to learn more tricks for successful shadow photography.