Three conditions are necessary for the creation of a shadow: a light source, an interrupter and a background. Any light will cast a background as long as these conditions are met. To take photos with minimal or no shadows, you must alter these factors by obstructing the light source, moving the interrupter, lighting the background and changing the camera angle.
Diffuse the Light
Minimize shadows by diffusing, or spreading out, the light. By increasing the range of a light source, you decrease its strength. Diffuse light by using lighting umbrellas and reflectors or by placing a soft box around each of your lamps. This lighting environment replicates a natural phenomenon that occurs during cloudy days. When light passes through clouds, it is diffused and redirected in angles that sunlight does not travel on sunny days. This causes more light to reach all sides of objects, decreasing shadowing.
Move the Object
When we see shadows, we are actually perceiving the absence of light on a solid surface, a background or background object. Moving the object that casts the shadow away from the background allows more light to reach the background, decreasing shadowing. Vary the distance between the subject of the photograph and the background.
Light the Background
Place objects on a light box or add additional lamps to light the background. This will minimize shadows by allowing light to penetrate the areas that are obstructed by the subject of the photo, the interrupter. Use caution when using light boxes with people and animals because these devices can get warm and cause discomfort for your subject.
Change the Angle
Change the angle of the photograph so that the shadow is not included in the frame. Shoot from a low angle, below the eye-line of the subject. Lie on the ground if taking photographs of buildings or sculptures. Place small objects on an elevated surface. This technique has the added advantage of accentuating texture and size.
Sylvia Cini has written informative articles for parents and educators since 2009. Her articles appear on various websites. Cini has worked as a mentor, grief counselor, tutor, recreational leader and school volunteer coordinator. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Clark University of Worcester, Massachusetts.