Most of the time the subject of the a photo is easy to see – whether it’s a portrait, landscape, travel, or architecture. While these subjects are easy to identify, the use of shadows in these topics is not discussed as often as it should be. We spend so much time trying to get the lit portion of our images in focus, composed to our satisfaction, making sure things are sharp, and all the rest, we sometimes miss the value of shadows in our imagery.
The shadows of an image can be just as important to the composition as the lit parts are. When talking about how to light images with strobes and studio lights, the use of shadows to give definition is often discussed, but the same discussions can be germane to naturally lit photos too. Remember, the word photography means to paint with light (photo and graphos), so even the absence of light can be significant in defining our images.
Whether you shoot portraiture, architecture, landscapes, or even abstracts, shadows can and do play a role in how you compose your images. Do you look at the shadows in your images? What story do shadows tell in your work?
Share your own thoughts on how to accomplish a story by shooting with shadows below in the comments – would love to hear others feedback. In the meantime, keep on shooting.