Shadows are often the hardest part when creating composites. In my workshop I often get the question can’t we just take a copy of the model, duplicate that, make it black and use that as a shadow. My answer was always ‘no’ till recently. I am gonna show you a way how you can (often) use your model as a shadow.
It works only if you take the photos of your models yourself. If you are using stock images it is nearly impossible unless the light shining on your model is coming straightly from behind the model. A friend of mine, Renee Robyn, an awesome artist, shoots often her models at a grey background and can take the shadow in the photo to the composite. This is because her composites often don’t use sunlight as the main light source. So the soft shadows she gets from the lights in the studio, she can use, but my images have almost always the sun as the main light source and the sun produces harsh shadows, not a shadow with soft edges like you get when shooting with studio lights and specially when you have a softbox in front of the light, like I almost always have. Soft shadows are easy to create, but harsh shadows are a copy of the model and follow all the lines of the model. Not an easy job to draw, so… I thought about it and came with a solution that often should work 😉