The September Issue of Popular Photography hits newsstands today. In it find reviews of the latest digital cameras, in-depth features and how-to guides to improve your skills. Subscribe to it here.

Shadows lend visual interest and drama to your photos, and they’re easy enough to find-or make- wherever you happen to be. Here are three ways to take familiar shapes beyond the ordinary.

1. Create Soft And Abstract Silhouettes:

Frosted glass adds another dimension to fl at silhouettes. With your subject backlit, you can get an eerie and surreal shadow. In this photo, the blue tint and the model pushing up against a window gives the impression of a person trapped in ice. You can buy a sheet of frosted glass to use indoors or out, or look for it in doors and windows. (If you offer them a print of the resulting photo, businesses such as hotels and shops may let you shoot there-it doesn’t hurt to ask.)

2. Make The Shadow Your Subject:

Why include the original object at all? We don’t need to see the actual beach chair and umbrella-the shadow alone defi nes their presence. Look for shapes and textures that can carry the image.

3. Hunt For Patterns:

Pay attention to the ways in which pinpoint or narrow light sources cast repeating shadows-and try using the effect for intriguing portraits. This photo, for instance, would’ve been dull without the alternating stripes. Look for light streaming through blinds or other beam-splitting objects. Or make your own: Cut holes or slits in fabric, paper, or cardboard to shine the light through.