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Thread: Why are shadows bad? (newbie)

  1. #1
    Member enewmen's Avatar
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    Default Why are shadows bad? (newbie)

    Hi all.

    I took some maco shots of bugs before. I thought they where good, sharp and detailed.
    However, the more experienced people constructively criticized how my lighting was so bad (even though there was plenty of light from the flash).
    It had some unsightly shadows.

    I notice many photographers try to get no shadows at all with well diffused lighting for most photos.

    So.
    When is it usually better to have well diffused lighting and when is it better to have some dramatic shadows to help add some depth ?

    Ok, thanks!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Why are shadows bad? (newbie)

    Quote Originally Posted by enewmen View Post
    Hi all.
    I took some maco shots of bugs before. I thought they where good, sharp and detailed.
    However, the more experienced people constructively criticized how my lighting was so bad (even though there was plenty of light from the flash).
    It had some unsightly shadows.
    I notice many photographers try to get no shadows at all with well diffused lighting for most photos.
    So. When is it usually better to have well diffused lighting and when is it better to have some dramatic shadows to help add some depth ?
    Ok, thanks!
    Been wondering about the same thing too.

  3. #3
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why are shadows bad? (newbie)

    who say shadows are bad!! only ghost has no shadow.

    anyway, you need highlight and shadow to tell you the shape of an object, the only time highlight and shadow are bad is causing distraction.
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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    Senior Member Diavonex's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why are shadows bad? (newbie)

    Quote Originally Posted by enewmen View Post
    Hi all.

    I took some maco shots of bugs before. I thought they where good, sharp and detailed.
    However, the more experienced people constructively criticized how my lighting was so bad (even though there was plenty of light from the flash)......
    There's too much light from your flash; you must use a diffuser to soften the light from the flash.

    Don't forget the flash is very close to the subject; you must drastically diffuse the light source.

    Example: If you take a photo under a bright hot sun, the shadow will be very harsh. Take the same picture when the sun is behind the cloud, the shadow will be soft and pleasant to the eyes.
    Last edited by Diavonex; 15th October 2010 at 10:44 AM.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Why are shadows bad? (newbie)

    Quote Originally Posted by enewmen View Post
    Hi all.

    I took some maco shots of bugs before. I thought they where good, sharp and detailed.
    However, the more experienced people constructively criticized how my lighting was so bad (even though there was plenty of light from the flash).
    It had some unsightly shadows.

    I notice many photographers try to get no shadows at all with well diffused lighting for most photos.

    So.
    When is it usually better to have well diffused lighting and when is it better to have some dramatic shadows to help add some depth ?

    Ok, thanks!
    somtimes having plenty of light is a problem. you need to know how to tame that plentiful light.
    It will be easier for us to give suggestion, if you post your image.

  6. #6
    Member enewmen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why are shadows bad? (newbie)

    There too much light from your flash; you must use a diffuser to soften the light from the flash.

    Don't forget the flash is very close to the subject; you must drastically diffuse the light source.

    Example: If you a photo under a bright hot sun, the shadow will be very hush. Take the same picture when the sun is behind the cloud, the shadow will be soft and pleasant to the eyes.
    I was just asking a very general question , but I understand your point. But I think I'm missing WHY the shadows are bad? Just because they are hard on the eyes?
    But here is a photo sample so you can see yourself.
    thanks again!

    Last edited by enewmen; 15th October 2010 at 10:45 AM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Why are shadows bad? (newbie)

    only when the shadow are TOO Harsh, then there is a problem.

    saturation is good, but when it is TOO saturated, then there is a problem. simple as that.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Why are shadows bad? (newbie)

    Quote Originally Posted by enewmen View Post
    I was just asking a very general question.
    But here is a photo sample so you can see yourself.
    thanks again!

    I think it is light fall off than shadow.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Why are shadows bad? (newbie)

    From the photo, looks like there is a lack of ambient light rather than shadow cast from the flash.

  10. #10
    Member enewmen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why are shadows bad? (newbie)

    Another sample:

  11. #11
    Member enewmen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why are shadows bad? (newbie)

    Quote Originally Posted by jopel View Post
    I think it is light fall off than shadow.
    Umm,
    what is "light fall off" ?

    thanks!

  12. #12

    Default Re: Why are shadows bad? (newbie)

    Quote Originally Posted by enewmen View Post
    Another sample:
    this light is bad for the poor spider eyes. I suggest you pick up a book on macro photography.

  13. #13
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why are shadows bad? (newbie)

    the lighting is flat, whether harsh or diffuse, it is still flat, head on flash/lighting.
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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  14. #14

    Default Re: Why are shadows bad? (newbie)

    Quote Originally Posted by enewmen View Post
    Umm,
    what is "light fall off" ?

    thanks!
    Light fall off happens when the light source is too close to the subject. You need to read about it to get a better understanding.

  15. #15
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why are shadows bad? (newbie)

    Quote Originally Posted by enewmen View Post
    Umm,
    what is "light fall off" ?

    thanks!
    light fall off means the changes of light from bright area to dark area.
    for this instant, the light fall off too drastic.
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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  16. #16
    Member enewmen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why are shadows bad? (newbie)

    Thanks for all the good advice people.
    It seems most of the problem is the diffusing.
    Can I assume all shadows are "bad" for macro shots on bugs?

    (Yes, I'll read more book as well)

  17. #17

    Default Re: Why are shadows bad? (newbie)

    Quote Originally Posted by enewmen View Post
    Thanks for all the good advice people.
    It seems most of the problem is the diffusing.
    Can I assume all shadows are "bad" for macro shots on bugs?

    (Yes, I'll read more book as well)
    no, i can provide you with fine examples of good macro shots wher ethe shadows are used to great effect.

    i hope you can tell the difference:

    http://www.pbase.com/eikin/image/75393555
    http://www.pbase.com/eikin/image/75393562
    http://www.pbase.com/eikin/image/75384350

  18. #18
    Member enewmen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why are shadows bad? (newbie)

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    no, i can provide you with fine examples of good macro shots wher ethe shadows are used to great effect.

    i hope you can tell the difference:

    http://www.pbase.com/eikin/image/75393555
    http://www.pbase.com/eikin/image/75393562
    http://www.pbase.com/eikin/image/75384350
    I see the difference. The shadows are much softer.

  19. #19
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why are shadows bad? (newbie)

    Quote Originally Posted by enewmen View Post
    I see the difference. The shadows are much softer.
    you still don't get it, it is not about soft shadows, is how the way of using the directional light for creating the mood.
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  20. #20
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why are shadows bad? (newbie)

    anyway, can not blame you too, most people also don't how to differential the good and bad lighting.
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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