Shoot Epic Travel & Street Photos with Deep Shadows That Demand Attention (VIDEO)

If your street photographs look like snapshots it time to up your game with an eye-catching technique that smacks viewers in the face. In this interesting tutorial from the aptly name Travelbugraphy YouTube channel you’ll learn how to incorporate “shadow play” in your images to capture compelling photos while traveling or on the streets of your hometown.

Today’s Hong Kong-based instructor Osk is a self-described “multi-genre” photographer with a particular fascination for shooting on the streets while traveling the globe. The technique described in this episode is based upon unlocking the drama of hard shadows while leveraging the power of contrasty b&w imagery.

It’s all about understanding the impact of light and shadow, finding an appropriate subject, and knowing how to choose the best vantage point and camera angle to heighten the effect. Along the way you’ll pick up some great tips on composition, exposure, and other important factors. And there are plenty of examples to illustrate the stark beauty of this unusual approach.

As you’ll see, Osk often employs the same method for photographing landscapes and other types of photos. So how do you find the right light while using this technique? According to Osk, this is a very simple task because harsh daylight, which is what you want, is often available from late morning through mid-afternoon. So you have plenty of time to get the job done as long as the weather cooperates.

Osk typically hits the streets after lunch on sunny days, looking for interesting shadows that aren’t visible under cloudy conditions. With the sun high in the sky, the angle of shadows will be steep. You’ll see how to choose the best locations while wandering through the urban environment, and why minimalist, uncluttered scenes provide the best opportunities.

When composing a scene Osk looks for eye-catching structures with elements like pillars, doorways, and arches that block some of the light. This enables you to capture the interplay between light and dark areas within the frame. Photographing pedestrians in shadow against a bright background is another effective method to try.

There are times when a long lens can contribute to this effect by compressing the scene and making various elements appear closer together. You’ll also learn how to unlock the power of “rim light” that occurs when subjects in shadow are illuminated from behind. The lesson concludes with an important discussion of separating the key element in a photo from the background in the shot.

If you want to capture unique images pay a visit to the Travelbugraphy YouTube channel where you’ll find a valuable array of techniques to try.

We also suggest watching the tutorial we posted recently from another pro who demonstrates how to transform boring daytime photographs into dramatic nightscapes that really command attention.