Now that you understand some of the basic ‘rules’ of composition and the elements of art, you can use them in which ever way you like. Let’s try some studio photography.
To do this there are a few things we need to consider first, particularly in relation to lighting and the effect this can have on an image.
A broad light source
1. The broader the light source, the softer the light. The narrower the source, the harder the light. A broad light source lessens shadows, reduces contrast, suppresses texture. A narrow light source does the opposite. This is because, with a broad source, light rays hit your subject from more directions, which tends to fill in shadows and give more even illumination to the scene.
The farther the source, the harder the light
2. The closer the light source, the softer the light. The farther the source, the harder the light. This stands to reason: Move a light closer, and you make it bigger—that is, broader—in relation to your subject. Move it farther away, and you make it relatively smaller, and therefore more narrow.
Think about the sun, which is something like 109 times the diameter of the earth—pretty broad! But, at 93 million miles away, it takes up a very small portion of the sky and hence casts very hard light when falling directly on a subject.
Tip: When photographing people indoors by available light, move lamps closer to them or vice versa for more flattering light.
Tip: Position a portrait subject near a large, bright window that does not receive direct sunlight. It makes for a no-cost softbox— no studio equipment necessary.
Take a series of 10 digital, black and white images experimenting with different light sources including natural light, directional light, shadows and artificial light, and high contrast light.
The subject matter is entirely up to you but do a brainstorm in your visual diary to clarify your idea. If you are really stuck consider using your friends or people in the class to pose for you in the lighting studio.
Print out 10 finished images and hand in as your submission. You should also include contact sheets in your visual diary and a reflection as part of this submission.
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