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Me and My Shadow:
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Shadows are readily found outdoors, but you can photograph shadows indoors as well. To do this, a strong, continuous light source works best because it will produce the strongest shadows, such as light coming in through a window or doorway. Using flash won’t work because you wouldn’t be able to see the shadows it produces until you see the resulting photo—the duration of its light is too brief. But if you have a digital camera, you can experiment by shooting a picture with flash, quickly view it on the spot, and see if you’ve gotten the results you want.

Two shoes emerge from darkness, creating visual drama.
Reader photo by Lisa Vivona, Lowell, MA

Shadows are most effective when they contrast with a light-colored background. The shadow portion of your image can be darkened by underexposing the scene slightly. With an SLR, you can use your film-speed dial to compensate. Temporarily set the dial one or two ISO numbers higher, and be sure to return it to its regular setting when you want to photograph other subjects. If your camera has a zoom lens, experiment with different focal lengths and shooting distances. If you have a compact camera with a built-in fixed-focal-length lens, you’ll need to physically move closer or further away from your subject.

The shadow cast by this picket fence becomes an important part of this photo’s composition.
Reader photo by Stan Kaufman, Bayville, NY

You don’t need to limit yourself to “found” shadows—go out and create a few of your own
to shoot.

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