Working in the shadows – when the light isn’t there for photographers

There’s a real mixture of pictures in this section because I wanted to talk about the importance of shadows (not ignoring the role of highlights too). The key image above was taken in a lounge full of furniture and soft light from some large windows. Directional light produces shadows and it’s the shadows that do the work in that picture. But without shadows, life can get difficult. The architectural shot of the New Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury is as flat as a pancake because there is no sunshine, no shadows to really make the excellent design come to life. The stage shot of opera singer Rosie Aldridge from Glyndebourne testing the acoustics on stage in the main auditorium relies on a shadow cast by a speedlite hidden in front of her (in the absence of stage lighting!). Again, the shadows do the work.

The shot in the church – the darkest church I have ever been in – is a speedlite faking the direction of the window light and thus creating shadows. The shot of the groom on the steps at Mount Ephraim is packed full of interesting shadows – a speedlite creating a harsh light and the ambient lifting the shadows.