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How to Use Gobos to Make Your Photos More Interesting

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How to use Gobos To Shape Light

What is a gobo, you ask? A gobo can be anything, as long as it’s placed in between a light source and your subject. This casts unique looking Shadows on your subject. You can use pretty much anything that’s not a completely solid object – in this case we experimented with a large houseplant, a room divider, and a ladder. Even if you don’t own strobes, you can still make use of gobos when shooting outside. In fact, you may have used them before without knowing it. Even a tree branch casting a Shadow from the sun on your subject’s Face is a gobo!


Controlling Your Shadows

There are two major factors to take into account when using a gobo. The first is the distance between your Light source and your gobo. As the Distance between your gobo and light source increases, the shadows will get harsher. It’s usually best to have a decent amount of Distance between your Light source and gobo in order for it to be effective.

The second factor is the distance between your subject and your gobo. This one is the opposite – Shadows will ger harsher as the distance between your gobo and subject decreases. So for maximum effect from your gobo, have your Light source as far away as possible and your model as close as possible to the gobo.

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