Mobile Menu

by Ben Scott, February 4, 2018 , In Blog , How to , Photography

Create interesting shadows using “cookies”

Add interest to your images with shadows.

I will walk you through how to simply add depth to your images with shadows and only one light with this simple process.



First of all, “Cookies” is another name for cucoloris.  What it does is create interesting shadows by breaking up the light.  You have to understand a couple fundamentals of light.  The larger the light source in relation to an object; the softer the shadows will be.  Conversely, the smaller the light source the more defined the shadows will be.

There are a couple of options to make the light smaller.  The first thing to consider is the light modifier.  A lot of times, I shoot these bare bulbed or with just a reflector.  The second thing to do is get the light back further away from both the cookie and subject you are shooting.  I try and get the cookie as close to the person as possible without getting it in the shot.  Sometimes I even use it in the shot to add depth to the image.

Here is an example of using the cookie in the image:

dappled light and shadows

Model: Felicia

Notice how the shadows lay on the model and background.

behind the scenes creating shadows

easy setup

Behind the scenes

This behind the scenes image shows how this was lit.  The plant leaf is just being held by a simple A Clamp on a boom arm.  I stood to the left of the light to make sure my shadow wasn’t in the image ,while I could still capture a corner of the leaf in the foreground.

Furthermore, you can use cookies to simulate a window. As a result, If you want to take a film noir style shoot, cookies are great for that.  It will give you add shadows to high contrast light that makes film noir visually interesting.

window light and shadows

Model: Emma


Here a piece of Black Foam Board is cut out to simulate a window. It is being held up by a c-stand  and Matthellini Clamp


using a cookie behind the scenes

behind the scenes