A shadowy wrap up: The Dark Side

Last week saw the last instalment to our lighting month with a trip to the dark side to explore creative ways to use shadows in our images. Our mentor Angel Aguila from @heydominic was our shadowy champion and inspired us with her images and clever use of shadows. We were particularly impressed by all the different interpretations to our shadowy theme #cs_thedarkside. It will never cease to amaze me how this community constantly surprises and delights!

If you’ve just joined us, last month we were learning all about light - how to find it, work with it and use it creatively to enhance our visual story storytelling. Each week during June we focused on a different aspect of light. We chased it in our first week, we took a moody turn for our second week, our third week saw us experimenting with ways to manually add light to our images and as I’ve mentioned we threw some shade last week. Even if you missed all the June challenge weeks we have put together the ultimate lighting cheat to guide you through all the tips from the mentors as well as the great resources and tutorials which you can access any time.

Top tips from our special guest mentor

We invited a special guest Angel Aguila from @heydominic to guide and mentor us during our week of shadows. Angel lives on the east cost of America and fun photo-shopping her little one into some pretty epic adventures, flying and dragons included! Find out more about Angel.

During her mentorship Angel shared some great tips with our community. Here were some of her top recommendations for adding shadows to your image in photoshop:
1. I’d say go against the rules! The general rule for creating shadows in Photoshop is never use a black brush. Shadows are usually brown in real life or a darker shade of the object you are creating the shadow for. If you are creating “shadow play” and the focus IS the shadow, use black
2. Always use the blend mode, “Multiply”. This particular blend mode will let your background show through a bit and give it a more realistic look.
3. Remember that shadows very rarely have hard edges. I always soften the edges with a Gaussian blur. Even if I want the shadow to be prominent (like in my Peter Pan edit), I still blur it slightly.

And some tips for getting creative in general:

1. I have a notebook, as well as my phone notepad, full of ideas. Sometimes when I’m playing with my son or reading or watching something, the idea just pops in my head and I’ll jot it down. I use Pinterest and google as well for inspiration. I like to look at art and photography or even quotes to help me get creative.

2. Look in second hand stores for props, little local shops etc. or just around your house! You’d be surprised at how many great props you can find just lying around.

“Dominic had been mimicking airplanes for a while and I just took the opportunity to create what he was imagining.”

Angel Aguila

Here are some of the #cs_thedarkside entry highlights selected Angel and the Creatively Squared team:

A stunner by  @this.holliday.tribe
A simple yet effective submission by  @imagineamy_

A simple yet effective submission by @imagineamy_

A very clever interpretation of ‘the dark side’ theme by  @claraloupeimagines …a favourite of Angel’s.

A very clever interpretation of ‘the dark side’ theme by @claraloupeimagines…a favourite of Angel’s.

A stunning still life by  @annemaree.c

A stunning still life by @annemaree.c

A shadow overlay used by  @astokes_photo

A shadow overlay used by @astokes_photo

We loved this meaningful submission by  @leapofcharly …a clever and unexpected interpretation.

We loved this meaningful submission by @leapofcharly…a clever and unexpected interpretation.

A signature shady vignette by  @joetravellersg

A signature shady vignette by @joetravellersg

Some fun with a shady Peter Pan by  @nathan_and_theo

Some fun with a shady Peter Pan by @nathan_and_theo

A heartfelt submission by  @paper_planes_life …we heart this!

A heartfelt submission by @paper_planes_life…we heart this!

Thank you to everyone that played along with our shady theme and got creative with shadows.

July sees us exploring a whole new topic and set of themes. It’s foodie month! If you are hungry for more styling fun, check out our first challenge for foodie month Styled and Served, along with some resources to help you get in the foodie mood and get inspired.