from behind the shadow

backlight-shadow-shoot-bts-4Being my first, this shadow shoot became a family event as do many of our projects. Our goal in everything we do is to grow, learn, do our best, and have fun in the process. When tackling a new project, we are honing our skills and expanding our capabilities, which is energizing for me (our girls not so much at 1 am on the backside of an ice cream induced sugar high). Our purpose for this shoot is to use photography to communicate our services.


It is all about lighting for a shadow shoot…true for any shoot but more so here. We used a single Canon 600EX-RT speedlite to backlight the subject. Our first setup had too much light spill, and the beam wasn’t concentrated enough even with the speedlite set at 200mm, so we answered by 1) making a make-shift beam snoot out of printer paper and 2) moving the speedlite closer to the subject, say 5 ft. That worked perfectly.



What we noticed is light placement, specifically height, affected the silhouette shape and falloff. There is a certain height (center or slightly below center) that shows maximum amount of silhouette. Lowering the light seemed to give the shadow a larger-than-life feel. For our subjects, we typically choose center placement.

In the end, we got our shots and the kids were exhausted. We envision more projects using this technique in the future, and that’s exciting. Even though this turned out to be a good shoot, I’m never satisfied and as usual, I’m already planning improvements for our next shoot.