The darker side of photography.

A friend once asked me…”When it is really sunny out… how can I shoot … everything looks so contrasty during the day?”

Well… I understood where he was coming from because I knew he came from Arizona. Forget soft light at high noon. My answer is … you can do one of three things. Put the camera back in its case and watch TV. Or you can find some “open shade” to shoot. It is soft in the shade but it will be well lit since the light will be there… but not harsh. I love to shoot portraits in “open shade” Or you can just roll with it and embrace Mr. Sun as your friend. Take advantage of the harshness by searching out interesting shadows… or great silhouettes.

A great silhouette has a recognizable shape but without the visual details. You see it and know it, but since it is dark… it becomes a very graphic and dramatic image. Here’s a silhouette I shot yesterday.


When shooting a silhouette… make sure your background is simple and there is a huge difference in light between the subject and the background. The greater the difference … the greater the visual impact.



Now… the two photos above are examples of shooting shadows. Many times you don’t have to “see” the object that is creating the shadow… but the viewer will know it’s there. The mind will fill in what is not there. It too can be very dramatic. So…. when the sun is setting your retinas on fire…. grab the camera and get outside and wander into the dark side of photography. You will probably get a suntan at the same time you get some dramatic photographs.

Happy trails.


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