Written by Marjorie Dawson

Dramatic Shadow Craft #52Assignments No. 20

Dramatic Shadow Craft #52Assignments No. 20

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.

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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?

Sample Image Twenty20Photos

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!

Neighbour Cat with Extreme Filter applied
Dramatic Light Photo – ISO 100 55 mm f/8 1/250
  • 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.

Dramatic Shadows with Silver Cat
Dramatic shadows enhanced by a move to black and white.

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.

Neighbour Cat in dramatic Light – ISO 100 55 mm f/8 1/250
  • 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.

Shadows can make a big impact on your black and white pictures
Miranda casts a long shadow in this black and white photograph.

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:

  • #lightandshadow
  • #bnw
  • #blackandwhite
  • #silhouette
  • #dramaticlight
  • blackandwhitephotography

52 Assignment Book Details

The 52 Assignment Posts Details:

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Marjorie Dawson

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.

15 thoughts on “Dramatic Shadow Craft #52Assignments No. 20”

  1. The neighbor cat in trees photo makes me think of what it must have looked like when the first forest cats decided to come slinking out of the forest to join up with humans. She’s beautiful and the photo is awesome- definitely gallery worthy, or put it up on your sales page. At least frame it for your neighbors, I’d be thrilled if someone got that kind of shot of one of mine.

  2. I’ve accidentally taken some photos with shadows and some actually worked out. These are great!

  3. I love the way that shadows can really bring a picture to life. It’s a great way to take your picture from looking like a ‘boring’ flat image to a more realistic and lifelike photo. I love experimenting when I’m taking pictures of the pets, moving to different angles just to see how the shadows fall across their faces.

  4. Thanks for the blog hop. I love the black and white photo with the shadow it is just amazing, as for shadows now I know how amazing they can be if you play with them as I normally delete those photos, thanks for the input

  5. Shadows surely take on their own ‘purrsonalities’ sometimes!!
    Love the trees picture.

  6. Just fabulous shadow pictures, I always love to see shadows as part of a picture. And I especially love that orange cat picture with shadow and the touch of rainbow color.

  7. Oh my! Nice use of shadows in your photographs. I love the enlongated shadow and the close up use of light and shadow contrast. You are so talented with the lens!


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