How to Kill the Shadow (… in Photography)

Me and photography – that is one romantic love story.

It all began about nine months ago when I started stealing my boyfriend’s ‘big’ camera. And let me tell you that he was all happy about it (where ‘happy’ stands for hurt, disturbed and angry). Anyhow, I kept stealing his big DSLR camera – no matter what – because that miraculous thing with a lens started to provide a great outlet for my self-expression and creativity. Oh, and my boyfriend, don’t you worry about him, he got used it (my left-hand punch is very famous; I can punch and run away very quickly… NOT!).

Of all the places that this wonderful planet offers I and my new camera decided to settle in the kitchen. And we’ve barely left that place ever since.

There’s just something truly special about the kitchen – to me it’s a place where magic happens. Whether it’s just the appearance of various kinds of food I admire or the experiments I make. Yeah, to me cooking and baking is one huge experiment. And I guess I am not the only one who feels the same way…

Taking pictures of it all even adds to that enormously enjoyable experience.

In the field of photography I’ve learned so much …and I am still learning.

For example, the shadow. I’ve learned that food, to be presented at its best, needs a sufficient amount of light. Soon I understood that it was very good to place the food that I was going to capture by the window.

But then there was this shadow.

When I studied some photos of other photographers I wondered how they got their meals so wonderfully and evenly lit from all sides. First I thought they must have used some kind of artificial light to achieve that. Stand light or something.

Okay, my boyfriend kept uttering something about reflectors and I, in return,  kept ignoring him (because I’m just the smartest and stubbornest person in the universe and have to learn my own way).

Anyway, there came the day when I stumbled upon a ‘light reflector’ discussion on the internet. And that was a big day for me.

It allowed me to move from this…

… to this.

With the help of my masterpiece – ‘a homemade light reflector’.

My pride and joy.

What this thing does, basically, is that it bounces back (or reflects) the light that comes from some light source (the window, in my case).

And yes, I made it myself (would you say that?). It only took some cardboard, some aluminum foil to cover the cardboard, something to tape these two things together and about 5 minutes of time.


Please notice that I folded the aluminum-covered paper in the middle so that it stands upright.

Some grown-up people use fancy looking reflectors like this one.

Since I’m not a fully grown-up person yet I had to make my own reflector.

I placed the object between the window and the reflector…

… and got this result.

No shadow!

It works!

I’m so pleased.

This is another example.

A picture with the window light only.

And here is one with the window light and the reflector-bounced light too.

Doesn’t the strawberry smoothie look much more appetizing this way?

Here are the two pictures side by side for you to compare.

I hope this tip helps you in your ‘awesome-picture-making’ quest.

Now that I’ve won the fight with the shadow I can go and solve another 1200 questions I have about taking pictures.

I love that aspect of photography – there’s always something to learn and think about.

It never gets boring.


See ya soon, dear friends.



65 thoughts on “How to Kill the Shadow (… in Photography)

  1. 51

    Too bad the recycling bin was just emptied. I’m ready to make my own darn reflector. Who knew killing the shadow could be this darn easy?!? THANK YOU!

  2. 52
    India says:

    I love this post. I was actually looking for what ideas people might have about killing the Jungian Shadow. But I also can really use this knowledge. I love photography and use it in social media and blogs. So this is awesome. I don’t know if I’m a grown-up, myself, but I know I will make my own reflector, so thank you for showing an example on your blog!

  3. 53

    […] + […]

  4. 54
    Kavi says:

    Wow… great tip!! I dint know that i can make my own reflecter so easily.
    Thanks a lot :)

  5. 55
    Bobbi says:

    Thank you for posting this. I am going to go make my own reflector now.

  6. 56
    Becky S says:

    So damn easy! My one possible spot for photography is a ledge by the window like you have, and the shadow is so annoying! I’m off to make this now.

  7. 57
    Rozanna Bojdo says:

    Thank you for the very useful information.

  8. 58
    Rozanna Bojdo says:

    Thank you for this very useful information.

  9. 59
    Angie says:

    That was really great tip. I’m just starting to dabble into photography with my tablet and that is the first big problem i’ve come across. I thought i would start off from scratch.

  10. 60

    […] for Better Food Photos –Natural lighting is best. -Watch for excessive shadows. -Use the rule of thirds. -Do not let flatware steal the show. -Use plates and bowls in proportion […]

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