Why light and airy with subtle shadowing works well attracting customers to stop scroll.

Without a doubt, the top images that you see on social media, like Pinterest all showcase the use of light, bright and airy photos with the combination of soft but subtle shadowing within images that makes people swoon towards them.  

Why does this image here below work so well on attracting consumers?  What makes them scroll stopping?  Why do our eyes just find this type of image suuuuuppper attractive?  

Let’s take a deeper dive and do a quick analysis of this concept light and airy with subtle shadowing.


Model with Lotion, Click Pretty Boutique Photography - All Rights Reserved 2024

First step, let’s look at the diagram below of the setup of this photography shoot. Sometimes it is easier to cut right to the chase and seeing a diagram visual to completely understand the concept of what we are trying to accomplish for our light and airy with subtle shadowing images.. 


In this simple diagram we can see there is light and airy with subtle shadowing.  We have the light source on the right-hand side, which is natural light coming from the large window and we have the shadowing source, which is coming from the wall on the left-hand side.  When placing this model in the middle of the room, we are able to gain equal amounts of light that pass across her body that are both light and airy with subtle shadowing effect that we are trying to accomplish.

Diagram of the Lesson

IMPORTANT TO NOTE: Think opposites here with the diagram image above and the real-life placement with the model. When I am telling you left or right below in the analysis in this light and airy with subtle shadowing concept, it’s being told from the view or perspective of the model looking at us, i.e. "her left", which is "our right" within the image.  Hoping that this is clear as mud.  lol 



The setup is super simple to accomplish, it is all a matter of finding the perfect balance of light and shadow within your room.  Normally it is the half way point that will give you the best results, but sometimes you will need to move closer or farther from one light source or the other depending on the amount of shadowing or light and airy effect you are trying to accomplish.

In this shoot, I placed the model in the middle of the room in a chair.  This is to make sure that there was an even balance of soft light and subtle shadowing on her, either side of her body.  

Placing her body at the diagonal, by opening her body to (her left), I can open the soft sun light to cast the window light on the left half of her body.  Her right side is still facing the dark side because it’s more towards the wall which has no light source, so it is casting more of the shadowing effect only.   Also, another trick you can do is by purposely place a dark (black) flat board or panel along her right-hand side to add a little more shadowing if needed for more dramatic affect.

This is all a personal choice when it comes to how much or how little of light and airy with subtle shadowing you are trying to achieve for your image. 

Play around with various versions of shadowing and soft lighting and see which you prefer.  After all that is a part of the fun with photography.  You might surprise yourself with something that you thought was not a great idea, but which happens to be the best idea or "shot" ever.


I am shooting with a Canon EOS R6 Mark II with this shoot, which is more of an  advanced camera for mirrorless.  This camera is able to take very dynamic images with very low light.  I also shot with the Canon 24mm-70mm zoom lens with an aperture of f/2.8.  

With the combination of this camera and lens type, I was able to create this image above with very low light within the room were we located in and I was able to push the camera with a lower ISO for a crisper and cleaner shot.  

There is an art and a science when calculating the camera setting. What is needed to making sure that your camera setting are dialed in correctly with the exact and perfect ISO, Shutter and Aperture needed. This come with knowing the exposure triangle diagram, and a little bit of practice with your camera.


Simply aiming the camera towards the middle of her body and angling the camera towards the soft backlit light, I can accomplish the combination of soft and airy with the subtle shadowing desired results, making the tone even on either side of the image.


Where am I looking to place the focal point in this image is the product of course…. This is what we are selling to our customers. 

Using a f/2.8 aperture setting with my lens, focusing on the product as my focal point which is in sharp focus.  All my eye attention goes directly to my subject/product in this image.  Then using the aperture of f/2.8, "the art" of show a shallow depth of field to blur the background behind the model brings the whole image together.

Benefits to these Shots

There are so many benefits to these types of images. 

  1. They are eye catching
  2. They are soft and pleasing visually
  3. Plus the offer a sense of calm.

I find that most people stop the scroll with these types of images as they are so attractive.  People tend to swoon towards images that just make them feel comfortable and relaxed.


Camera:     Canon EOS R6 Mark II

Lens:   Canon 24-70mm lens

Aperture:   f/2.8

Location:  Little Kitchen HTX – Party Room

Time of Day: Mid-Afternoon

Similar Images : Same Concept

Model with Body Spray, Click Pretty Boutique Photography - All Rights Reserved 2024
Model with Lotion, Click Pretty Boutique Photography - All Rights Reserved 2024


Both of these images are very similar to the image that we have discussed above.  These images are also light and airy with subtle shadowing.  Feel free to do your own analysis with these images and find where the light and airy and the shadowing start and stop.

This is great practice for you and also training you eye when you get behind the camera.  


U with Seal and Cap, Click Pretty Boutique Photography, All Rights Reserved


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