Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Light - identifying it, writing about it as a technical aspect of your work in college projects.

Photography... It's all about the light, if there is no light there is no photograph. If you're at college studying photography, you're studying light as well and with 2 years of work free study surrounded by lecturers that are experts in the art of light you need to be leaving college with some basic knowledge of light.

It's usually the case on a level 3 course be it A-Level, UAL or BTEC there'll be some requirement at some point where you'll need to discuss your use of light and why you've made the choices that you have with regards the light.

So what decisions and knowledge should you identify when writing about it, analysing it and planning it?

(1). What is the light source and what are characteristics of that particular source. If it's an artificial source, is it trying to recreate something in nature... Sunlight or moonlight, reflected light, scattered light, fire light, dappled light, diffuse or point light?

(2). Direction - where's it coming from and why, why are you choosing to shoot in that particular light? What is it doing for your subject, is it moody, emotive, dramatic, objective, neutral?

(3). Does it flatten the subject or does it model the subject e.g. pick up the shape, form and texture, do you want it to do one or the other, if so why?

(4). Refracted, diffuse, reflected, specular, point?

(5). If it's an artificial facsimile of a natural form of light, how have you achieved it and how close have you been able recreate its properties and characteristics - be explicit in your explanations, draw floor plans and photograph the set-up.

(6). Colour of light

(7). Lighting equipment - what did you use, why did you use it what are its pro's and cons.

(8). Inverse square law and its application in photography - how does it help you and why do you need to know about it, how have you used it?

(9). Reflected light - controlling light in the studio using zones and inverse square law.

(10). Artificial light sources, their characteristics and properties.

(11). Studio flash, modifiers, dishes, soft boxes, snoots, diffusing screens, reflectors, umbrellas all the equipment and its characteristics and properties.

(12). Studio space, heights, distances, widths and walls... why?

(13). Influence - whose lighting technique and style are you borrowing from, your analysis of their approach.

(14). Deconstructing and analysing other people's lighting using visual clues.

(15). Ratios - between highlight and shadow, masculine and feminine lighting.

(16). Masters of lighting - classic lighting techniques used by painters.

That's some of the easy stuff.

Use these prompts above and your notes from over the first year when all of this was covered, discussed and used in practice. (That's if you're on one of the courses I deliver).

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