Helping companies tell what they're doing – visually

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Engage readers with Shadows and Silhouettes

Many corporate communicators have shared their struggles with how to create photos that will engage their stakeholders, who might include employees, customers, shareholders and the public. This is especially challenging in today’s digital communications environment, which demands frequent updates.

They ask, “How can we keep our photos fresh and interesting, so people will come back to see what’s new?”

My advice is to throw shadows and silhouettes into your box of tools. You don’t want to do this every time you’re taking photos, but it’s good to be aware of how helpful this technique can be. Now and then, try throwing a shadow or silhouette photo into your corporate communications news cycle and see what reactions come in return.

Some suggestions for creating photos with silhouettes or shadows:

Had this photo exposed for both the juggler and the background buildings, there might have been too much activity for the eye to absorb your message. Placing the street performer in silhouette creates interesting contrast while also quickly showing readers that the performance was taking place in downtown Charlotte.

Notice how including just a bit of the footwear in the image below helps to quickly explain the unusual shape of the shadows. The goal is to make readers pause to study the image… and then jump into your text to learn more.

This next image is a partial silhouette. Notice how well the clean graphic lines of the frame and hammer offset the features of the woman, who is volunteering her time at a Habitat for Humanity build.

Getting low while shooting this silhouette eliminated background clutter (including the bunching up of the other boaters), and created an image with nice graphic elements.

Patrons at the Mint Museum of Art Uptown seem to become part of the artwork because they are captured in silhouette.

The shadow of this barbecue chef against his smoker.


Helicopter rescue training on Lake Norman

On location with aquatic rescue teams

Close-up photo of an aquatic rescue team member during a training exercise on Lake Norman, north of Charlotte, NC.

Members of the North Carolina Helicopter and Aquatic Rescue Team (NCHART) refresh their skills during training exercises in May 2012 on Lake Norman. More than 60 National Guards troops, first responders and emergency management officials from across the state spent four days practicing rescuing survivors in various lake conditions.

Photography of aquatic rescue team members being lifted from Lake Norman during training exercises in May 2012.

NCHART combines the expertise of local rescue technicians with the training, maintenance and capabilities of the N.C. National Guard and the N.C. Highway Patrol Aviation units. The NCHART program became the first of its kind in the nation to implement a regimented training and response program that combines the best civilian rescuers with military aviation assets. HART teams were used extensively following hurricanes Frances and Ivan in 2004 to rescue an estimated 350 residents from fast moving water and areas isolated when landslides cut off roads and escape routes. Since then, the teams also have rescued numerous stranded or injured hikers from remote mountainous regions..Participating agencies: N.C. Emergency Management; N.C. National Guard; Lincoln County Emergency Management; Lincoln County Sheriffs Office; Fire Departments from Denver, East Lincoln, Sherrills Ford-Terrell, Mooresville, South Fork, Union, Asheville and Charlotte; Lincoln County EMS; Lincoln County Water Rescue Team; N.C. Wildlife; US Coast Guard Auxillary; Gaston EMS; Lincoln and Cleveland county Local Incident Management Teams; and North Carolina All-Hazards Incident Management Team.

On location photography in Charlotte NC of the North Carolina Helicopter and Aquatic Rescue Team (NCHART) during training exercises.

Photos created on location in Charlotte NC of the North Carolina Helicopter and Aquatic Rescue Team (NCHART) during training exercises.

On location photography in Charlotte NC of the North Carolina Helicopter and Aquatic Rescue Team (NCHART) during training exercises.

Photos of the North Carolina Helicopter and Aquatic Rescue Team (NCHART) during training exercises.

Photography taken in Charlotte NC of the North Carolina Helicopter and Aquatic Rescue Team (NCHART) during training exercises.

North Carolina Helicopter and Aquatic Rescue Team (NCHART) during training exercises held on Lake Norman, north of Charlotte, NC.


We had the pleasure recently of photographing the newly expanded veterinary practices of LakeCross Veterinary Hospital, located just north of Charlotte, NC. Expanding the building’s footprint gave it the chance to add/expand its services as well.


Published works by Patrick Schneider Photography

Cover art for the Charlotte Major Employers directory


We’ve escaped Dallas weather

Just completed a crazy assignment in Dallas, Texas, where mother nature dumped down snow and ice by the foot. Unfortunately, we were photographing a community service project — outdoors! Despite the harsh elements, the employee volunteers did an amazing job completing the tasks before them.

But here’s the real kicker… we left snowy Dallas and raced to our next assignment photographing snowshoeing in the North Carolina mountains — where we didn’t have snow. More on that later.