This week’s photo challenge is all about shadows, and shadow craft, it’s a lot of fun and easy for beginners to try. You can use dramatic shadow craft in your cat photos for atmosphere, an edgy feeling, or eye-catching drama.
How shadows can make your cat look amazing
The 52 Assignments book by Adam Juniper suggests a project with early morning light casting sharp shadows against a wall. The first photo here shows the drama of deep dark shadows cutting through trees. Striking silhouettes arent they? How can you use these shadows with a cat or other pet?
Cats in the Spotlight
Because Dash Kitten is a photoblog with cats, I wanted to include a mix of felines to show the impact shadows can have on your own cat photos. Try it whichever pet you have.
Look for your shadows, they are not always big, they can be subtle and eye-catching too. For a lucky shot filled with drama, check out this shadowed image of our neighbour’s cat. If I’m lucky, you can be too!
- NOTE: The shadow here was strong and I enhanced the drama even further by running the photograph through an Affinity Photo filter. Check your own software for ‘Filters’ and play around.
Different Types of Shadows
Shadows are affected by your light source. The sun casts strong shadows, but you could just as well take an indoor cat photo with a single bright lamp, or light coming through a door.
To enhance your dramatic shadow craft before you post on Facebook or Instagram author Adam Juniper suggests IG filters including Mayfair or X-Pro II (high contrast), or monochrome like Inkwell. Photoshop Elements, Affinity Photo and many free online editors offer heaps of computer based filters and Smartphones are spoiled for choice with free and paid apps to transform your photographs.
Your shadows can be long like Miranda’s or softly focused like my neighbour cat shot. Both go a step beyond the normal cat portrait to add either an air of mystery or a touch of humour. These shots were taken on a spur of the moment so be prepared to raise your camera and just go for it. Use Burst/Sport mode for a better chance of a great shot.
- Look a little bit further for your shot, and try evening (like the trees photo) when shadows can stretch a long way.
We can read shadows when they are on flat surfaces, like this driveway. Shadows can be fun too so look out for moments that catch your attention. Miranda suddenly becomes a giant cat with big ears.
Miranda’s photo shows that if you can find a flat area when you take photos you have a longer and larger area for your shadows to project on to. This works with people photos too. You might find your impromptu canvas is a brick wall, a paved square or the path in front of you and if someone walks in front of you, a giant appears.
Suggested Shadow Craft Instagram Hashtags
Finally, a quick look at the relevant hashtags you might use. I also recommend exploring IG to see what others have made popular as trends change quickly on social media. Miranda’s black and white photo lets me sneak in plenty of black and white hashtags like:
52 Assignment Book Details
The 52 Assignment Posts Details:
- Join the journey in my special DashKittenPhotos account on Instagram.
- You can find the book 52 Assignments Instagram and the rest of the series via this Amazon link.
- Read the book review that started the series.
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Marjorie is a motorbike riding blogger and award winning cat photographer who believes that everyone can shoot and edit wonderful pictures they love regardless of the camera they use.
She is a Professional member of the Cat Writers Association, Kuykendall Image Award winner and published photographer at the Guardian newspaper.