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Photography Trick Heart Shaped Shadow on a Book With a Ring

The heart shaped shadow is a classic photographic effect that interests many beginner photographers to try it. This is also a very simple trick and requires not much equipment. Only things you need to perform this trick are:
  1. A light source – an off camera flash or strobe will do; for those who does not have access to these a table lamp or even sunlight during morning and evening hours will do.
  2. A Ring – any circular object will do
  3. A Book – preferably a large book with hard binding. A thicker book works better because when open, the pages curve more thereby creating a rounder heart.
 In this example I shot all the frames with a single table lamp as my light source. It had in it a 60 watt bulb. (Milky white / frosted white).

Even though I was shooting in RAW format, the white balance of the camera was set to Tungsten. If you are shooting in Jpeg this point is all the more important as you cannot adjust your white balance settings later while post-processing.

Placement of light is what determines the shape of the shadow, best method to find out the right light placement is to first fix the ring on the book, take the table lamp in your hand and move it to see how the shadow shapes, fix it at the position that looks the best.

The most difficult part of this experiment is to make the ring stand straight on the book. I had to try many times to get it right, but I managed without using any adhesive or modelling clay or anything.

While selecting the book for this trick try to select one with some meaningful text that could create a context for the shot, eg religious books, medical journals etc. The book i used was the Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary.

First I tried the heart shadow with my gold ring, I kind of like the effect of gold colour on the black and white scene.

heart shaped shadow photography trick
Golden Ring - also used of narrow aperture for increased depth of field

To make the above picture a narrow aperture was used. But i chose to shoot the rest of the frames using a wide open aperture of f/2.8.

Next I used a 52mm UV filter ring to make my heart shadow. It produced shadows with very thin borders.

photographic trick heart shaped shadow of a ring
52 mm UV filter used to create the heart shape

The inside of the heart shape was given a reddish colour in photoshop. Also the ring used is a wooden bangle which is broader than the UV filter used in the picture given above.

creating heart shape on a book with a ring photography trick
colour of heart shadow changed in photoshop

A much broader plastic ring was used for this, it was green in colour, but I didn't like the feel of it so the picture was converted to black and white with increased contrast.

book ring and heart photographic trick
Picture was converted to black and white

 Two rings of different diameters one standing and the other resting.

how to create a heart shaped shadow on a book photography trick
two rings used for multiple shadows - one standing, one lying

Both rings in resting position, one in the center of the other.

how to create a heart shaped shadow on a book
two rings used for multiple shadows - both lying

A variation of the earlier example with a broader ring. The image was also cropped in square format.

photography trick creating heart shape on a book with a ring
to rings used for multiple heart shapes one broader than the other

Set-up Shots

heart shape on a book with a ring photography trick
Set up Shots - Heart Shaped Shadow - Photography Trick

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