5 Reasons To Embrace Shadows In Your Photography

this time last year, i was doing anything and everything to avoid shadows in my photography.  heck, i was doing this 6 months ago.  shadows were something that i found to be annoying and i was always searching for a way to avoid them while shooting, or painfully edit them out in post processing.  to be honest, i was exhausting myself.  i would only take pictures during the brightest part of the day, to avoid shadows, and i felt that this fear of shadows being present in my photos was ruining my passion for photography.  it was making me feel extremely limited, as i was only picking up my camera during certain parts of the day.  learning how to love shadows and incorporate them into my photography was a huge step for me and, ultimately, i am happier with my images.  now, i am actually searching out the times of day that offer the potential for shadows and am so glad i have learned their importance.  as you are photographing, don’t be afraid to let shadows play a role in your image.  here are 5 really good reasons why you should begin to embrace shadows in your photography.

learning to embrace shadows encouraged me to take on a new photography style that represented me better.  read about that story here.

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5 Reasons To Embrace Shadows In Your Photography

5 Reasons To Embrace Shadows In Your Photography | Bethadilly Photography

1. Shadows Create Depth

when you embrace shadows in your photography, you are encouraging depth to be present within your images.  because shadows come in all shapes and sizes and at varying degrees, how a shadow gradually enters your image or falls on your subject will create depth in your photograph.  photos that don’t have shadows tend to be more one dimensional and flat, while photos with shadows take on more dimension.

5 Reasons To Embrace Shadows In Your Photography | Bethadilly Photography

2.  Shadows Help Showcase Your Subject

incorporating how you use shadows within your photo can be a really strong element as you can use the separation between dark and light to showcase your subject.  in the photo above, shadows and light played a huge role in the success of this photo.  i intentionally worked with my light so that my daughter was the brightest part of the photo, to bring the viewer’s eye directly to my intended subject.  i even was mindful to place myself opposite of the light source to fall into the shadow slightly, to ensure she was brighter than i.  embracing shadows in your photography is a wonderful way to showcase your subject.

5 Reasons To Embrace Shadows In Your Photography | Bethadilly Photography

3. Creates Visual Interest

embracing shadows in my photography has brought more visual interest to my photos.  instead of being flat, shadows help my photos to take on more dimension that is visually pleasing to the eye.  playing with light has given me the opportunity to see all the possibilities that light and shadow offer, including sun flares within images.  when you embrace shadows in your photography, in turn, you are also embracing the light.

5 Reasons To Embrace Shadows In Your Photography | Bethadilly Photography

4. Shadows Create Realism

once i began to work with shadows, i began seeing my images take on a more realistic feel.  shadows do encourage an element of realism as we embrace photographing our world how it really is.  our world is not without shadows so learning to incorporate them thoughtfully into our images is a great skill to have.  where i see this the most is in skin tones.  allowing shadows into my images has especially made the skin tones on my subject take on more realism and texture.

5 Reasons To Embrace Shadows In Your Photography | Bethadilly Photography

5. Shadows Encourage Photography

once i decided to say the words, “I am not afraid of shadows,” aloud, i felt like i began to pick up my camera more and more.  i began to feel more comfortable photographing in any situation i was given, despite the light.  in fact, i began to take better pictures of my everyday because i was picking up my camera during all times of the day, instead of waiting for just the right light.

when you decide to no longer be afraid of shadows and, instead, embrace shadows in your photography, you will see a huge different in both your images and in yourself, as a photographer.  have fun experimenting with how shadows can create depth, realism, help to showcase your photography and encourage you to be a more thoughtful photographer.  not to mention, the time you used to spend worrying about shadows will not be spent photographing.

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