Roberto Valenzuela on Creating Shadows

When Roberto Valenzuela photographed this image in Pioneertown, California—an old Western set out in the desert—he says he was first working on a close-up of both models to show the level of sharpness attainable with the camera he was testing out—the new Canon EOS R6 and its line of RF lenses. Little did he know he would stumble onto a photo op that was created out of shadows.

[Read: What Photographer Roberto Valenzuela Wishes He Could Tell His Younger Self]

“When I took the R6 out of my face to pose the models, I noticed how neat the shadow of the tree on the left side of the frame was printed on the wall,” Valenzuela, a Canon Explorer of Light, explains. “To keep the fun of the shadows alive, I decided to reposition the models to create a shadow of their own.”

Valenzuela adds that for an image like this, it’s important to pose your subjects in profile so you can see the outline of their bodies clear against the wall. “The final result is a bit of what I like to call a shadow sandwich,” the photographer says with a chuckle. “Shadow on the left, shadows on the right, and them in the middle.”

Roberto Valenzuela Tests for Sharpness and Shadows
Photographed with a Canon R6 and RF 24-105mm f/4 L lens, a f/4.5, 1/2000 sec. and ISO 125.

Valenzuela says that when you are on location for a shoot, there are often great gifts available that you might not have even seen at first… “It’s up to the photographer to recognize them, and utilize them to create something special and visually interesting. Have a plan, but also be open to reacting to the other options in front of you.”

When not out working on big campaigns, Valenzuela is busy promoting his new book, The Successful Professional Photographer (Rocky Nook, October 2020). “It’s meant to really give modern and solid business and marketing assistance to improve a photographer’s chances of running a financially successful photo business,” he explains. “I’m really excited about it because I believe this book will help many photographers not only survive but thrive in their businesses. We all need that right now.” (For more information on ordering a copy, visit the publisher’s site.)

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