Photographing light and shadow

Learn how to capture striking images when faced with challenging conditions.

They say opposites attract, and that’s not limited to the dating scene. While shooting images in bright, vibrant conditions can lead to warm photos, capturing areas of shadow can deliver dark, enigmatic shots.

Although individually impressive, bring these contrasting elements together and your images can generate even more ‘likes’. Read on to find out how to capture the polarising highs of both light and shadow without compromise.

Lower the exposure

Finding the perfect balance between light and shade can be tricky, especially when it comes to exposure. The temptation is to make the most of that bright light, but lower the exposure slightly and you can enhance the shadows, bringing new depth to your image.

Using the manual controls of ProCam 7, tapping the shutter speed option before swiping right on the metering bar lets you keep natural skin tones and vivid skies while enhancing the shadows. You can even shoot in RAW to add uncompressed detail to all areas of your image.

ProCam 6 lets you alter your exposure with a swipe.

    ProCam 7

    Manual Camera + RAW


Shift your focal point

Depending on how the shadows fall across your image, you might want to separate where your camera is applying focus and pulling exposure levels. If that’s the case, try VSCO’s native camera.

Pinch outwards on the camera viewer to create separate focus and exposure points. These can then be dragged as desired to help you better balance your shot without losing that crisp focal point of your image’s main target.

Simply pinch and drag to separate your exposure and focus points.

    VSCO: Photo & Video Editor

    Creative Tools & Video Stories


Add some extra drama

Photo editing might seem like a dark art, but here it’s a case of light and dark. With Ultralight you can easily enhance the points of difference in your image of contrasts without muddying the whole shot.

Helping you create a sense of drama in an image that pops, under the Edit tab dedicated sliders let you individually alter your image’s blacks and shadows, highlights and whites to find a level that perfectly suits your shot.

Want to bring up the blacks without compromising the midtones? Ultralight can help.

Remember to not overdo things though. By pressing and holding the image you can instantly switch between the original and edited versions to ensure you’ve not strayed too far from an authentic look.

    Ultralight - Photo Editor

    Photo and video filtering