Why Shadows Matter

If you’re a beginning photographer, your number one goal at this time may be to have a bright, and airy photo. But if your image lacks shadows your image can come out looking very flat and won’t stop anyone in their tracks to look at your photo.

Shadows are what shape the light, they are what draw attention to the light. They are what give your baby their round, chubby features. If you were to bring up your exposure and eliminate those shadows, your subject may lose their defining features.

Take my 10 month old baby boy for example. He has the BEST rolls. Every time I strip him down for a tubby, I wish I had brought my phone up with me to document his cute little booty. So the next day I made it my goal to document those dimples and rolls.

Below you will see the image strait out of the camera (SOOC) with the settings I photographed it at. The second image has a preset added and I brought up my exposure bar to make it brighter. When I toggled back and forth between the before and after, I could see he “lost” his roles. To fix this, I lowered my exposure and brought up my contrast to really show the difference between the light and darks. The difference was amazing! His booty now pops out of the image. It is the first thing your eye goes to.

Before and after image showing the importance of shadows on a cute chubby baby. Showing his rolls
The room was pretty dark so I had to bump my ISO way up. This may cause grain in your image.

Click Here

to watch how I combine the exposure slider and contrast slider in Lightroom to make his rolls pop!

For the final touch, I really like to use a brush in Lightroom to really make his rolls nice and sharp. Click here to watch how to use a brush in the editing software Lightroom.

By now you’re probably beginning to notice why shadows are so important to an image. If I had never lowered the exposure or brought up the contrast, we would have never really known how wonderfully chubby my baby really is. Sure the story is clearly trying to show you a cute chubby baby but you don’t fully see it until you’ve captured those shadows.

I hope you enjoyed this short tutorial on shadows. Hopefully it left you thinking differently about the light in your image. If you would like to see more helpful tips on photographing click here to receive them directly in your inbox.

A few more of my favorite images

10 month old baby showing his cute booty and roles
10 month old baby showing his cute booty and roles
10 month old baby showing his cute booty and roles
This makes my heart melt. He loves to rub blankets on his face.