Thursday, 2 August 2012


Opacity is the measure of impenetrability to electromagnetic or other kinds of radiation, especially visible light. Opacity is the degree to which light is not allowed to travel through and an opaque object is one that lets through little or no light.

All materials that are not transparent or translucent are opaque. Remember silhouettes, we have an article explaining How to Photograph Silhouettes. During the earlier days of photography photographers had limited functionality available on cameras and lights and so they invented very creative ways to capture shadows and silhouettes. Some methods would sound funny like cutting out the shape of a person’s profile and lighting from behind to cast a deep shadow forwards with no frontal light falling on the shape.

Photo By Donsolo

Another method was to use bright background light in combination with fast shutter speeds so as to eliminate any shadow detail. This method of lighting was used to make solid objects appear as simple flat shapes. A subject backlit with no visible details recorded has a unique feel if its shape is recognizable in the final image. This made photographers actually shoot shadows instead of the real subjects. Photographing shadows presents many creative opportunities as shadows could be easily manipulated. They drape themselves over curves of the surface on which they are falling; they could run across the floor, go up a wall, could be elongated, shortened and further modified in endless ways. It all depends on the creativity of the photographer to bring all the elements together to create a visually compelling shot.

In the next article we will discuss about Quality Of light - Transparency

Related Reading

  1. An Introduction to Light
  2. Wavelengths and Colours
  3. What Happens When Light Falls On a Surface
  4. Quality Of Light
  5. Shadows