Stopping shadows

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by anthwinter, May 26, 2008.

  1. anthwinter

    anthwinter TPF Noob!

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    Hi everyone,

    im looking to find out how to stop shadows on shots where this is a background close (E.g. a wall or backdrop of sum sort)

    i find the shadows annoying and even more annoying to edit with PS

    am i right in thinkin that the big large white sheet thing that you hold behind the camera (dont know name sorry... a refelctor??) stops shadows when held behind the camera?

    I saw some of my friends wedding photos at the weekend and all the shots are shadow free, for poses that had everyone on stairs with a wall behind them or similar, and i believe the photographer had someone with them all the time using a reflector sheet.

    any tips to stop the shadows would be appretiated
     
  2. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    To eliminate shadows you must add light. That may be from a flash, it may be from a strobe, or a reflector. It may mean moving your subject(s) to a different spot, or taking the photo at a different time. The topic of lighting is far to complex to get into in on post. It is one about which many books have been written. I would recommend a trip to your local library or bookstore to pick up some books on the fundamentals of lighting and illumination. You can also find a lot of information on the 'net.

    The reflector doesn't stop shadows per se, what it does is reflect light from a light source into a shadowed area and brighten it up.

    As far as tips, the only thing I can really suggest is train your eye to see those shadows and account for them, before you take a picture. If you see a heavy shadow, you can use an off-camera fill-flash or reflector to bring more light to the area.
     
  3. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    A white shoot through umbrella or other modifier to make the light larger and softer will make the shadows softer. Putting another light on the background, will remove the shadows.

    Two lights here. One with a shoot through umbrella which makes the soft shadow behind the penguin and one direct, which makes the hard shadow off of the knife.
    [​IMG]
     
  4. TamiyaGuy

    TamiyaGuy No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I had these problems when I used my on-canera flash. If you have a bounceable flash, you can bounce the light off a wall or ceiling, which will virtually eliminate all shadows. An umbrella will also have this effect on the flash, as it generally makes the light less direct.
     
  5. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I use a flash bracket to avoid annoying side shadows. The bracket allows me to keep the flash high above the camera, even when turned to vertical (portrait) orientation. With the flash high and directly above the camera...it throws the shadow low and behind the subject.
     
  6. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    An umbrella makes the light larger, not less direct. Regardless of whether there's a bare flash pointing at a subject or a flash with a shoot through umbrells, they're both pointing directly at the subject.

    The umbrella will diffuse the light and make it bigger. A bigger softer light creates bigger softer shadows.

    Look at the sun as an example. When it's sunny out with no clouds, the shadows are very harsh. When it's cloudy, the clouds act like an umbrella and diffuse the light, making the light source huge. The shadows then are very big and soft.
     

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