Out of the Shadows - tyneholm
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Out of the Shadows

Assignment S14

Stylish? Sinister? Seductive? Shadows are loved by street photographers and have an important part to play in our art. Sometimes the shadow can be the main feature or purpose of a picture, and sometimes it can add na important graphic or compositional element. Occasionally, a shadow can be represented simply in abstract form.

To develop your ‘shadow skills’, head out in bright weather with the sole intention of perfecting this type of shot. Look for uncluttered areas (modern ‘business’ districts are great for this) and plan ahead. Pre-visualise the images you want to achieve and think about the intensity and direction of light, and the best vantage points for achieving them.

Work out your options for exposure and shoot a wide variety of subjects as you practice getting the composition just right. How many stunning shadow shots can you shoot in a day?

View the images


  • Try shooting in manual mode and exposing for the highlights. This will intensify the shadows but keep the highlights in check.
  • The time of day is critical. Shadows are usually most dramatic when they are at their longest, so aim to shoot early in the morning and late afternoon.
  • Think about your viewpoint. Shooting from a high vantage point will produce a very different shadow shape to shooting at ground level.
  • a goo shadow will be dark, intense, and well-defined (with a strong, interesting shape), and in its own space without interference from other elements.

Field Notes

  • Be bold! Make the shadow a feature of your image and don’t rush – as many photographers do – to ‘lift the shadows’ one post-production.
  • In scenes where there is a dark but distracting background, darken the shadow areas further to erase some of the clutter.
  • The strong geometric shapes created by the shadows are a key compositional feature, and they can be darkened in post-production to emphasize the effect.