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Very harsh shadows - Steve Gallagher Look/Style

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  • Very harsh shadows - Steve Gallagher Look/Style

    Hi Guys!

    I am wondering how these shadows were created:
    http://trendland.com/steve-gallagher...e-photography/

    In my opinion it can be done only in post edit because you will never get such harsh edge shadow by any light modificator.... (this shadow looks strange).

    What do you think?
    Last edited by szeryf1989; 01-04-2014, 03:10 PM.

  • #2
    Re: Very harsh shadows - Steve Gallagher Look/Styl

    Photography 101.

    Using a small light source in relation to the size of the subject, you will get hard shadows.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Very harsh shadows - Steve Gallagher Look/Styl

      ...and at much closer proximity to the subject

      The closer the light source, the harsher it gets, the further it is, the softer it becomes, it is called "Feathering", usually, gobos are used with feathering to create some sort of light effect on the edge of the subject - but this is another story - feathering is not required for this shot though.
      It doesn't hurt though to accentuate the effect using photoshop.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Very harsh shadows - Steve Gallagher Look/Styl

        The reverse is true the closer the light source the softer the shadows become
        • Distance light source. The closer the light source, the softer it becomes.
        • Size of light source. The larger the source, the softer it becomes.
        • Subject distance. The closer to the background the more defined the shadow

        Even a flash source softened via an umbrella either bounced or shoot through will exhibit these properties. And then of course we have the sun which is probably our most distant light source.

        It is possible that there have been enhancements to the image in post but it is also possible that harsh shadows such as this could be SOOC.

        Look at the flash shot where the arm is slightly in front of the shoulder - a fairly well defined shadow due to the proximity of the subject. Look at the hand shot in sunlight fairly well defined shadow that would be even more defined if the finger placed closer to the palm
        Attached Files

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        • #5
          Re: Very harsh shadows - Steve Gallagher Look/Styl

          Thanks Tony, I need to proof-read what I type.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Very harsh shadows - Steve Gallagher Look/Styl

            Short answer: The pen tool.

            Longer answer:

            The way to create a hard shadow like that in post is to create a precise path around the pill with the pen tool. Turn the path into a selection, then turn the selection into a mask so that your pill is extracted against transparency. Put a solid color layer below the pill (pink in this case). Then a shadow layer goes between the pill and the pink. Again, turn your path into a selection, use your arrow keys to offset your selection down and to the right (in the case of this shot) and fill your selection with black. Adjust the opacity and blend mode of the shadow layer to suit.

            So your layer stack from the top down is:

            Pill, Shadow, Background Color.

            And really, for the shadow layer, rather than just filling the selection with black I'd make a black solid color layer, and mask it using the path selection. This allows you to easily change it's color/shade, but more importantly to refine it's edge via it's mask, if needed.

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            • #7
              Re: Very harsh shadows - Steve Gallagher Look/Styl

              Flashtones PS advice is great. I'll be using this, thanks.

              The way we shoot small and medium sized objects/products with very hard shadows in a studio is to use a specific light modifier. The Profoto Hardbox and Broncolor Sunlite Reflector are the ones to use. They are, of course, very expensive.

              I use the Bron reflector and it can create effects that usually cant be produced by anything else. Light falls differently because of the shape of the flashtube.
              The example from Steve Gallagher be shot in camera with little need for creating shadows in post.

              Unfortunately I cant find many examples of the reflectors being using on products/small objects etc but next time I shoot with hard shadows i'll post some images.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Very harsh shadows - Steve Gallagher Look/Styl

                Originally posted by skoobey View Post
                Photography 101.

                Using a small light source in relation to the size of the subject, you will get hard shadows.
                It would be crazy trying to get that exact falloff. Notice how you have some nice form on parts of the pill in the first one. If the falloff was that sharp, those highlights would be completely clipped. He may have set up a good placement for the shadow in lighting, but the drop shadows were definitely masked out and darkened. If you have a good lighting setup, it's actually not a huge move in post to do something like that.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Very harsh shadows - Steve Gallagher Look/Styl

                  Originally posted by klev View Post
                  It would be crazy trying to get that exact falloff. Notice how you have some nice form on parts of the pill in the first one. If the falloff was that sharp, those highlights would be completely clipped. He may have set up a good placement for the shadow in lighting, but the drop shadows were definitely masked out and darkened. If you have a good lighting setup, it's actually not a huge move in post to do something like that.
                  Actually, it's the highlight that is a complete fake, but both highlights and shadows have been enhanced, that's what retouching is for.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Very harsh shadows - Steve Gallagher Look/Styl

                    Originally posted by skoobey View Post
                    Actually, it's the highlight that is a complete fake, but both highlights and shadows have been enhanced, that's what retouching is for.
                    It's actually both, but that isn't terribly relevant. They are balanced as desired to create the final image. A lot of things linked on here aren't terribly difficult from a technical standpoint. Sometimes it's just artistic license.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Very harsh shadows - Steve Gallagher Look/Styl

                      Originally posted by klev View Post
                      It's actually both, but that isn't terribly relevant. They are balanced as desired to create the final image. A lot of things linked on here aren't terribly difficult from a technical standpoint. Sometimes it's just artistic license.
                      YES!!!!

                      That's what's my point. When you know what you want, you'll find a way to achieve it!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Very harsh shadows - Steve Gallagher Look/Styl

                        Originally posted by skoobey View Post
                        YES!!!!

                        That's what's my point. When you know what you want, you'll find a way to achieve it!
                        That is very true. It's a reason why I suggest that the "how do I achieve X look" threads are often misguided. If the person asking doesn't make some attempt to understand the stylistic goals in a body of stylized material, their gains in knowledge are minimal.

                        Comment

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