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How I Capture Shadow Images

I’ve been asked several times what techniques I use when capturing the dramatic shadow images that I use frequently in my posts.  So here you go. 

My home studio is fairly average in size. It’s actually supposed to be a second bedroom. My current setup allows for 86″ backdrops and I have a shoot depth of about 9′.

I use Savage backdrops and for the shadow series I use black.  On the right I place a foldable v-flat with the black side facing the model so that light is not reflected. 

On the right, my light source is a 30″ FotoDiox round LED flat light. It’s barely 1/2″ thick so it doesn’t take up as much room as a standard monolight.  It’s already fairly diffused, but in front of it I use a roll of Translum, a soft, translucent, diffusion material. 

All of this combines to create a very soft, controllable, diffused light directed at my model.

I shoot with a Sony A7 iii mounted with a Sigma 24mm f1.4 DG Art lens. I typically shoot these scenes at ISO 125, f2.8, and a shutter speed around 1/125th of a second.

If the model faces directly towards camera, these settings will typically result in the right half of the model in light, and the left half in the shadow split right down the middle of their face and body.

The model can control what is in light and what is in shadow simply by twisting and rotating the face, body, and arms. Anything that is twisted toward the right (light source) will be in light, and anything twisted toward the left (darkness) will be in shadow. 

I can control what is visible as well by changing the angle I shoot. If I move to the left more of the shadow side will be seen and if I move to the right, more of the light side will be seen.

Together with the model, we can create unique scenes as the model and myself twist and move about. 

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