Creativity Exercise: Embracing the Shadows in your Self Portraits


This week, we’re staying away from the bright, light and airy look as we’ll be Embracing the Shadows in your Self Portraits.

Shadows can help tell a story, and play an important role in shaping light, setting the mood, creating depth and adding drama within your images.


You can use shadows compositionally the same way you would use any other element in the scene. Use them as leading lines, patterns, curves that guide the eye into the scene, or to create a balance of negative and positive space.

Look for the light amongst the shadows and then make sure to meter appropriately. We like to use spot metering, metering for the brightest area (the highlights). This will add depth and drama to your image. It will expose the highlights properly and allow the rest of the scene to fall into the shadows. The bonus is the depth and drama it will add to your images.


We’ve talked a lot about light and shadows in previous exercises and some that you may find helpful to refer back to this week are:

Creativity Exercise: Split Light

Creativity Exercise: Silhouettes + Partial Silhouettes

Creativity Exercise: Low Key Images

Creativity Exercise: Hard Light


Be sure to tag us with your images this week on IG with #unscriptedmentoring! Have fun and happy shadow hunting and you never know, embracing the shadows may be the perfect solution for unleashing your creativity with your self portraits!

- Jenny + Kelly