Berger's equations for the large amplitude deformation of membranes are used to produce a simple approximate expression for the large amplitude deflection of plates. The deformation of shallow shells is also considered and two approximate methods are outlined. Several important problems are discussed, the obtained solution being in good agreement with both experimental data and other approximate results. The main advantage of this technique is its ease of application, as it requires comparatively little computational work. A simple approximate formula for computing the fundamental frequency of a vibrating shallow shell is also presented and is shown to yield very accurate values in the case of a shallow dome and a rectangular panel.