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Showcase Of Beautiful Shadow Photography

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By Daved Brosche and Smashing Editorial Team

Shadows can add a lot to a photograph. They can emphasize emotions, create surreal images, and be used in a variety of ways. While strong use of shadows in color photographs tends to be mostly used in silhouettes, it can also appear in a variety of other forms in color photos as well. In my opinion though, shadows are most powerful when used in black and white photographs.

Below we present a showcase of truly outstanding photos that make strong use of shadows in a variety of ways. All images are linked to the sources where they were found. Please feel free to explore further works of photographers showcased in this post.

You may also be interested in the following related posts:

45 Beautiful Examples Of Shadow Photography Link

Ricky Montalbano6
Just a neat, artistic picture of a skateboarder and his shadow.

Sample7

deadstar8

Sample9

Philippe Sainte-Laudy10

Sample11

Newbaro12

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Vic Nicholas14

Sample15

John Sloan16

Sample17

Vilhjálmur Ingi Vilhjálmsson18

Sample19

Nuuttipukki20

Sample21

teddymb22

Sample23

Thomas Mues24

Sample25

Bill Hinton26

Sample27

TJ Scott28

Sample29

Valerie (pearceval)30

Sample31

Gazza or Garry32

Sample33

Darvin Atkeson34

Sample35

F. A. Ecker36

Sample37

William Hundley38

Sample39

madolina40

Sample41

Kap’n’Kaos (Mike)42

Sample43

Jason Swain44

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Lara Fairie46
A stunning silhouette of a beautiful young lady. The light and shadows here create and excellent beauty shot.

Sample47

Paul Bredow48

Sample49

Rosie Hardy50
A very creative use of shadows to help portray a powerful feeling and emotion in this picture.

Sample51

Massi Miliano52
A combination of deep shadows, dark colors, creativity, and perfect time make for a very interesting and surreal photo.

Sample53

David Herreman54
“View from the top of ‘Levant Terril’ at Mons in Belgium. A ‘terril’ is a hill made from mining waste. There are still a lot of them in the old mining regions like Mons, now being appreciated as green areas. I’ve used a ND1000 filter in order to have an ‘evening effect’ even if the sun was high in the sky. This is NOT a tone-mapped HDR but a digital blending of 3 exposures. The main exposure was of 30 sec.”

Sample55

Alonso Díaz56

Sample57

Sample58

Sample59

Leley Noronha60

Sample61

Fred Eerdekens62

Sample63

Sample64

Sample65

Katarina Stefanovic66

Sample67

Kevin McNeal68

Sample69

Josh Exell

Sample

ms4jah70

Sample71

Michael McAreavy72

Sample73

Watari Goro74
Original picture – no Photoshop or image manipulation is used.

Sample75

duesentrieb76

Sample77

ViaMoi78

Sample79

Ciscophotography80

Sample81

Sarah France

Sample

Gloredel82
Create use of shadows to create some abstract tears.

Sample83

Last Click Link

Joshua Liberman84

Sample85

You may also be interested in the following related posts:

Footnotes Link

  1. 1 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/01/18/the-beauty-of-urban-decay/
  2. 2 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/08/24/45-beautiful-motion-blur-photos/
  3. 3 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/11/30/50-beautiful-examples-of-reflections-photography/
  4. 4 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/11/09/60-beautiful-examples-of-night-photography-2/
  5. 5 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/11/16/beautiful-examples-of-tilt-shift-photography/
  6. 6 http://flickr.com/photos/rickymontalbano/3108143427/
  7. 7 http://flickr.com/photos/rickymontalbano/3108143427/
  8. 8 http://www.flickr.com/photos/deadstar/3224346499/
  9. 9 http://www.flickr.com/photos/deadstar/3224346499/
  10. 10 http://www.flickr.com/photos/pilou/369678729/
  11. 11 http://www.flickr.com/photos/pilou/369678729/
  12. 12 http://www.flickr.com/photos/newbaro/2723885789/
  13. 13 http://www.flickr.com/photos/newbaro/2723885789/
  14. 14 http://www.flickr.com/photos/11646219@N03/2571729334/
  15. 15 http://www.flickr.com/photos/11646219@N03/2571729334/
  16. 16 http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnsloan/2132894930/
  17. 17 http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnsloan/2132894930/
  18. 18 http://www.flickr.com/photos/villiv/2097903748/
  19. 19 http://www.flickr.com/photos/villiv/2097903748/
  20. 20 http://www.flickr.com/photos/12208732@N00/369231654/
  21. 21 http://www.flickr.com/photos/12208732@N00/369231654/
  22. 22 http://www.flickr.com/photos/teddymb/8106725/
  23. 23 http://www.flickr.com/photos/teddymb/8106725/
  24. 24 http://flickr.com/photos/garibaldi/530661201/
  25. 25 http://flickr.com/photos/garibaldi/530661201/
  26. 26 http://www.flickr.com/photos/bilbert/3175807036/
  27. 27 http://www.flickr.com/photos/bilbert/3175807036/
  28. 28 http://www.flickr.com/photos/tj_scott/2298732929/
  29. 29 http://www.flickr.com/photos/tj_scott/2298732929/
  30. 30 http://www.flickr.com/photos/valanne/187549367/
  31. 31 http://www.flickr.com/photos/valanne/187549367/
  32. 32 http://flickr.com/photos/garry61/3149912081/
  33. 33 http://flickr.com/photos/garry61/3149912081/
  34. 34 http://www.flickr.com/photos/liquidmoonlightcom/2858892596/
  35. 35 http://www.flickr.com/photos/liquidmoonlightcom/2858892596/
  36. 36 http://www.flickr.com/photos/glockenblume/405014914/
  37. 37 http://www.flickr.com/photos/glockenblume/405014914/
  38. 38 http://www.flickr.com/photos/williamhundley/214212879/in/set-72157594235409275/
  39. 39 http://www.flickr.com/photos/williamhundley/214212879/in/set-72157594235409275/
  40. 40 http://www.flickr.com/photos/madolina/2209307174/
  41. 41 http://www.flickr.com/photos/madolina/2209307174/
  42. 42 http://www.flickr.com/photos/kap_n_kaos/2584784737/
  43. 43 http://www.flickr.com/photos/kap_n_kaos/2584784737/
  44. 44 http://www.flickr.com/photos/s0ulsurfing/2330908946/
  45. 45 http://www.flickr.com/photos/s0ulsurfing/2330908946/
  46. 46 http://larafairie.deviantart.com/art/Beth-Silhouette-49886711
  47. 47 http://larafairie.deviantart.com/art/Beth-Silhouette-49886711
  48. 48 http://www.flickr.com/photos/pbredow/3212437148/
  49. 49 http://www.flickr.com/photos/pbredow/3212437148/
  50. 50 http://flickr.com/photos/rosie_hardy/2942438120/
  51. 51 http://flickr.com/photos/rosie_hardy/2942438120/
  52. 52 http://flickr.com/photos/massimiliano_peana/370370413/
  53. 53 http://flickr.com/photos/massimiliano_peana/370370413/
  54. 54 http://www.flickr.com/photos/hdr400d/1560338610/
  55. 55 http://www.flickr.com/photos/hdr400d/1560338610/
  56. 56 http://www.flickr.com/photos/bigsleep/2670607562/
  57. 57 http://www.flickr.com/photos/bigsleep/2670607562/
  58. 58 http://www.flickr.com/photos/bigsleep/285530693/
  59. 59 http://www.flickr.com/photos/bigsleep/350074989/
  60. 60 http://www.flickr.com/photos/leley1/2049180872/
  61. 61 http://www.flickr.com/photos/leley1/2049180872/
  62. 62 http://www.fredeerdekens.be
  63. 63 http://2photo.ru/2009/02/27/prosto_neverojatnye_veshhi_tvorit_fred_eerdekens_s_obektami_svetom_i_tenju.html
  64. 64 http://2photo.ru/2009/02/27/prosto_neverojatnye_veshhi_tvorit_fred_eerdekens_s_obektami_svetom_i_tenju.html
  65. 65 http://2photo.ru/2009/02/27/prosto_neverojatnye_veshhi_tvorit_fred_eerdekens_s_obektami_svetom_i_tenju.html
  66. 66 http://www.flickr.com/photos/jup3nep/3199706204/
  67. 67 http://www.flickr.com/photos/jup3nep/3199706204/
  68. 68 http://www.flickr.com/photos/kevinmcneal/3116271736/
  69. 69 http://www.flickr.com/photos/kevinmcneal/3116271736/
  70. 70 http://www.flickr.com/photos/hotair2112/137331615/
  71. 71 http://www.flickr.com/photos/hotair2112/137331615/
  72. 72 http://www.flickr.com/photos/lightchaser/322845787/
  73. 73 http://www.flickr.com/photos/lightchaser/322845787/
  74. 74 http://www.flickr.com/photos/inazuman/51011457/
  75. 75 http://www.flickr.com/photos/inazuman/51011457/
  76. 76 http://flickr.com/photos/duesentrieb/120879600/
  77. 77 http://flickr.com/photos/duesentrieb/120879600/
  78. 78 http://www.flickr.com/photos/viamoi/3219633544/
  79. 79 http://www.flickr.com/photos/viamoi/3219633544/
  80. 80 http://www.flickr.com/photos/30457633@N03/3108400666/
  81. 81 http://www.flickr.com/photos/30457633@N03/3108400666/
  82. 82 http://gloredel.deviantart.com/art/Shadow-tears-Before-101292015
  83. 83 http://gloredel.deviantart.com/art/Shadow-tears-Before-101292015
  84. 84 http://www.flickr.com/photos/jerikojosh/234415273/
  85. 85 http://www.flickr.com/photos/jerikojosh/234415273/
  86. 86 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/01/18/the-beauty-of-urban-decay/
  87. 87 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/08/24/45-beautiful-motion-blur-photos/
  88. 88 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/11/30/50-beautiful-examples-of-reflections-photography/
  89. 89 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/11/09/60-beautiful-examples-of-night-photography-2/
  90. 90 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/11/16/beautiful-examples-of-tilt-shift-photography/
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  1. 1

    have a nice spring everyone. inspiring photos.

    2
  2. 2

    Inspiring. Amazingly creative use of shadow and light.

    2
  3. 3

    Brian Gottier

    March 1, 2009 4:43 pm

    Very Cool! Michael McAreavy’s picture of the trees is my favorite.

    4
  4. 4

    Nice :)

    0
  5. 5

    ChiefWakambi

    March 1, 2009 5:05 pm

    Damn beautiful. I like the shadow within the trees.

    0
  6. 6

    I do dislike when obvious fakes are used in examples of great work. There are at least 3 up there that are physicly impossible to have actally happened. Not that i dont give credit for good photoshop work, or the relevance of useful photoshopping in fake shadows to enhance an image.

    -1
  7. 7

    amazing !

    0
  8. 8

    Not all of them are higher quality.
    A lot is known ‘middle of the road’.

    -5
  9. 9

    Wow! Love the skaterpic and the one from teddymb.

    1
  10. 10

    Great photos!

    This photo by Erik Hedman is also very nice!
    http://www.skellskate.com/media/bilder/g1/images/erik_sjolund-nollie_heelflip.jpg

    1
  11. 11

    Nice photos, but I’m quite sure the airplane was painted on that wall ;)

    -1
  12. 12

    once again a very nice collection.
    thank you

    1
  13. 13

    Dallas Web Design

    March 1, 2009 3:55 pm

    Those photos are amazing!

    2
  14. 14

    Ken the tech

    March 1, 2009 3:56 pm

    Indeed the shadows give to the pictures some kind of mystery or even a surreal air :)
    Nice pictures!

    1
  15. 15

    A.B.C. Photography

    March 2, 2009 1:14 am

    I would reduce that to 25 maximum.

    1
  16. 16

    ultimate collection!

    1
  17. 17

    these are real amazing & inspirational !

    1
  18. 18

    Shadows are like negative space. Reminds me the Dali Atomicus photo. Great post!

    -1
  19. 19

    OverZero.it

    March 2, 2009 3:07 am

    Beautiful pictures!
    I’m really impressed.

    1
  20. 20

    Wow, Cool Cool Post and Awesome Photography !

    1
  21. 21

    Something wrong with boy’s hand at the shadow xD
    Although, very good showcase.

    Короче, ахуенно.

    1
  22. 22

    Wade Jackman

    March 2, 2009 4:52 am

    wow, what a great assortment. That water tower with the trees is really slick.

    1
  23. 23

    Wow-Great pictures-beautiful!!! I love the shadows!!

    0
  24. 24

    joyoge designers' bookmark

    March 2, 2009 5:31 am

    very nice examples of shadow photography, thanks for share..

    1
  25. 25

    As with all photography topics. Many of the submitted images aren’t photographs. I.e. it is not captured moment in time. With or without editing.
    There is no original negative, slide or digital raw image.
    Many are dreamt up scenes based on one or more stock images (and I doubt if these were shot by the poster) with heavy editing, sharpening, color boosting etcetc.
    On future photography topics a check for originals should be applied. These originals should then be posted along with the published image. Otherwise don’t call it photography.

    1
  26. 26

    Excellent, it’s may be my inspiration. Thanks!

    0
  27. 27

    Tom Bradshaw

    March 2, 2009 5:04 am

    Some beautiful images, shadows bring life to any image and can create great atmosphere. I would say shadow is important for everything from photography to illustration and even web design.

    0
  28. 28

    Nice pictures. :)

    0
  29. 29

    Another cool post,the tree and fog one is my favorite….a feeling of being lost in
    childhood memories.

    0
  30. 30

    @Anjte… By the above comments, I think it’s a pretty safe bet you are a photographer. As a graphic designer myself, don’t you find it a bit fickle to say these images aren’t photographs. I mean an image is an image, plain and simple. And, I find it hard to believe that the large majority of even full-time, traditional photographers are not using Photoshop these days. Hell if you’re not, you’re wasting time. IMO, I don’t want to see the negative, raw image, or shots that haven’t been brought into their full potential. I think the digital work on several of these is what made them memorable, or worthy of posting. Take them for what they are, good inspiration, and if you think you can duplicate the effectiveness with “captured moments in time,” then please by all means do so, and submit them to SM.

    I think everyone is getting a little tired of photographers being so defensive on here. We live in a digital age, and you either embrace it, or get run over by it.

    0
  31. 31

    Some beautiful images, but you guys are a little confused about entoptic phenomena. It definitely doesn’t have anything to do with covering people in sheets. (That’s so far off, it’s actually kind of ridiculous)

    0
  32. 32

    @Mark… I am a designer and a photographer. I respect a well laid out digital composition, but at the end of the day, thats not a photograph. Showing a photo that someone took that captured a split second of beauty, sompared to someone who spent hours laboring on the computer to achieve, only cheapens them both. As a designer, I have spent hours retouching professional photographers photos, slimming people, removing wires, slimming people, removing reflections, and at the end, it gets listed as an “awesome photo” taken by X photographer. This cheapens my work… The same goes the other way. half the photos up there could ahve been digitally made, but they werent, they were captured in the money, usually by a photographer spending hours waiting for the right moment, just to be displayed next to an obvious photoshoped image being displayed as “great photography”…. As both designer, and a photographer, i want both of my skills recognized individually.

    If you dont want photographers to get defensive, dont say “photographs” just say “digital compositions”. If you want to ignore that there is a difference, then stop specifying one or the other… or, if your showing “photos” the person collecting them should make an effort not to post obvious fakes.

    0
  33. 33

    Fred Eerdekens photos are my fav!

    0
  34. 34

    heather van de mark

    March 2, 2009 10:28 am

    I think Chris has a very valid point. We should give credit where and how it’s deserved. And as communicators of messages, we should all understand the importance that language plays–such as the difference between an image, a photograph and a digital composite. Perhaps this is just one area that SM could benefit from strengthening.

    A lot of these are spectacular images (and photographs (?)) which do provide great inspiration. So thanks SM.

    0
  35. 35

    uh oh, more whiney-ass ‘holier-than-thou; don’t-call-this-photography bs.’ somebody better call the WAaaaaAAAhhhmmbulance!

    people are such bitches at times.

    0
  36. 36

    Just to preface my next comment, please realize I enjoy this type of debate over traditional vs. modern formats for producing art, and constructive criticism is more than welcome. But… this is where my dilemma falls. (And this article does have some questionable examples of my point). But I agree with Brian that some of this is pretty “whiney-ass” for an inspiration related post.

    If a traditional photographer has to wait for hours just to capture the perfect moment in time for an image to be effective, and a digital artist can achieve the same effect with skill in deception, in a fraction of the time (assuming it is accurately and artistically well done), then why does the digital artist not get to call it a “photograph?” Seems like kind of an archaic thought process to me.

    Example: Typing and printing a letter on a typewriter might take twice as long as typing and printing it on a computer, but at the end of the day, the result is still considered a letter no matter how modern or old-fashioned the process was for creating it. Should we call one a letter, and the other a “digital composition.”

    0
  37. 37
  38. 38

    Matt Palmer

    March 2, 2009 2:41 pm

    You guys generally pick good images, but every time I read a smashing writer talking about photography it pains me to read how unsophisticated their knowledge and views on the subject are.

    I could forgive that a lot easier if the writers weren’t trying so hard to present themselves as a beacon of knowledge on the subject.

    0
  39. 39

    Matt Palmer

    March 2, 2009 2:52 pm

    As for photos vs graphic design.

    A photographer is one who photographs.

    Therefore if everyone taking a photo is a photographer, a photo must come from a photographer.

    And yet someone remixing other people’s stock, has not taken a photo. At the very least they shouldn’t be credited as having done so.

    0
  40. 40

    A photograph is when the image is written by light. In a brief moment of time. “the decisive moment” quoting HCB.
    A painting on cloth is not a photograph and neither is drawing on paper. So neither is a computer assisted drawing/painting like image in a file.
    Recently a newspaper wildlife photographer was sacked because he had cloned a few deer in his picture, he claimed his son had done that without telling him :) Some Reuter photographer/partner was kicked out because he cloned a falling bomb to juice up drama a bit. I am not sure if the iranian photographer was sacked because he cloned a rocket with smoke launching. Maybe it was on orders :)
    So to people in real life it is quite clear what a photo is and what is not.

    Being clever with photoshop is not making photographs. Putting birds where they weren’t before or extremely unrealistic coloring of skies and what have you is not photographing.
    Also why don’t these publishers mention where the image came from? Are they entitled stock image republishers, I doubt it. Publishing these photos is a liabilty for this website and German law is quite strickt on authoring rights. Before you know it owners can be fined and be selling their cars or houses.

    BTW Like James Brown in a case about paying for sampling his music and the samplers didn’t want to pay because they easily could have used some other music. “Then please sample that other music”. Well they didn’t because that was as good.

    BTW Letter writing is putting text on paper. So what is the point of naming two machine types? Could be done by hand too. And a pro on a typewriter is likely much faster then anybody else on a computer with a wordprocessor. Ink and typewriter are much more durable than electrostatic printing methods. Or certainly more than a PDF which likely nobody can track back after 6 months unless there is special archiving software available.

    BTW Remarkable on other topics about design how people think they are so clever using computers while when shown graphic designs from the 30-ies or 70-ies their jaws drop wide open. “How could they ever have achieved these images”

    0

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