Controlling Shadows: Exploring Photography with Mark Wallace

Controlling Shadows: Exploring Photography with Mark Wallace

January 13, 2020 43 By Peter Engel


Hi everybody, welcome to another episode of Exploring Photography right here on AdoramaTV. I’m Mark Wallace. In today’s
episode I’m going to show you how to control shadows on a white background
like this. To keep things simple I’m going to use one single light. We’re
going to use this Profoto with the soft box attached. Now we’re going to use
a fantastic model from South Africa, this is Amy she is the rockstar down here and
so we’re first going to show you how to do this and they were actually going to do
a real shoot so let’s get started. To start what I’m going to do is I’ve
already taken the softbox off of this flash because one of the big ways to
control a shadow on a white background like this is with the light modifier. Let
me illustrate this by first taking a picture with a bare head. So we’ve already metered this. we’re shooting this at f/11 and so Amy will have you look straight forward, just like this and
we’re not looking for amazing pictures were just trying to illustrate. Wow look
at that crazy shadow. You can see this right here. Really, really big nasty
shadow right here behind Amy. Now watch what happens when I just add a soft box,
This is a two-foot softbox here and I’m just going to throw this on. Amy is at the same exact
place. Now our soft box is going to consume a little bit of light. We’ve already metered this and I know
we’re going to go from f/11 down to f/8. So I’m going to make that adjustment. Going to shoot one more time, get everything in focus and perfect. Bam and look at the difference between
the first picture and the second picture. You can see that we’re already affecting
that shadow in the background making it much softer. Now the other thing we can
do is change the position of light. That’s the best way to control a shadow. Now we could try to add a bunch of lights back here and wash that out. It’s really not
going to work as well at just moving the position of our light. Now we have to do
that in relationship to where our camera is. So the camera is right here shooting
Amy and so what I’m going to do is I’m going to move this to this side and when
I do that what you’ll see is now the shadow is going to go that way. So when I move that light that way, the
shadow goes this way. If I move the light up the shadow goes down and so by moving
the light in relationship to the camera for fixing
our shadow. So now we have this over to the side, move this right over here. I’m going to meter this one more time really fast Amy. Amy is multi-talented she can
meter and model. Ok here we go, we’re to do that and we’re at f/8. Ok so we’re going to have this shot again. I’m all focused here. Perfect, all right now notice two things
that just happened right there. One, the shadow went away but also notice what
Amy did. Now she is a professional model and she knows about the light in
the position and the key light and where she needs to position yourself. Notice
she went from straightforward to this way because she knows what to do. Look what happens if she positions
herself in the wrong way. So we’ll have you move away just like that. Excellent and now I’m going to take
another shot and now notice her face falls into darkness and we don’t want
that. We can do some artistic stuff and how to move around we can really work
with this would be a lot of fun but when you’re just starting out your learning
about position of light make sure that your model cheats to the key light.
Always sort of going toward that light and that will help fix those shadows. Now
here’s another thing. Remember that this is all about the relationship of the
light and the position of the light relative to the camera. So the camera was
right here, we got rid of the shadow but watch what happens if I come over here.
So now I’m going to come over here, focus this up and watch what happens to
our background. Click, now we have a shadow back there again because now I’m on axis with the light. We don’t want that. We want to make sure that we keep
our camera and our light separated so that our shadow goes from right behind
model to over here. There’s one more thing that we can do instead of moving the
light and relationship to the camera we can move our model and relationship to
the background. So we’re going to start with Amy where she shouldn’t be and that
is right against the white background. Now what I’m going to do here is I’m
just going to take a shot to show you exactly why this isn’t what you want to
do. So when I take this picture, bam you can see that she’s got this nasty shadow
right next to her, even with the softbox, against this
background it’s just sort of this hard nasty light. All we need to do is have Amy come
out. This is about five feet or so from the background and now we’re shooting at about f/10. I’m going to take the same picture now with her out right here. So let me
focus this up just like that perfect and then we’ll take this shot and you can
see that we’ve gotten rid of that background shadow and we can start
working with that. So to summarize all this. If you have shadows in the
background the easiest thing to do is either move your light in relationship
to your camera or move your model in relationship to the background. Now that
we know all of that stuff we’re going to take some real pictures and have some fun
with it and we’ll show you the results. So let’s get going. Well that’s all there is to it. Remember
it’s about the position of light to control the shadow, more than trying to
make things really complicated. It’s also about having a fantastic model, thank you
Amy for joining us today and don’t forget to subscribe to AdoramaTV. Amy’s
done it, I’ve done it and you should do it too. Thanks again and I’ll see you again next
time.