Part 4 Project 4 – Exercise 4.4

Project 4 Exercise 4.4

Using a combination of Quality, Contrast, Direction of light and Colour, light an object if order to reveal its form.


I did a little of this in a previous exercise, thinking about light and colour, I experimented with changing the direction of the light to give the best possible viewpoint. Exercise 1.2. Also see workshop Studio Lighting Click Here.  In the studio workshop, I worked with a model, getting the lighting right made sure that I got the best possible portrait. There were a few errors, which meant I had to think more about where the lighting was placed, but in the end all came right and I soon understood the importance of checking the scene and taking time to set up before the trigger finger started taking the shots.

Lets take the quality of lighting, choices need to be made in order to achieve the outcome desired. For example in my series ‘Shadows’ I needed hard light, from the sun to give as crisp an out line as possible (see Project 4 – Ex nihilo) as in the photograph of the swing shadow on the right

Whereas the portrait shots I took in the studio, soft light was needed to give a natural glow, as in Jacks portrait below. Reflectors and flash light were used and placed in position so that the face was highlighted and the back of the head was back light giving the hair a glow around the top. If there was no light at the back, the head would be front heavy with the back and the back of the head being in dark shadow.

In this exercise I was able to experiment with different light sources and photograph the food stuffs in various ways, changing the colour and by using light and creating varying shadows which had a part to play in the contrast of each image.

So onto the exercise. I used sweet peppers, carrots, mushrooms, tomatoes and lettuce as the subjects for this exercise.  I used a variety of lighting, to include, red light, white light, soft and hard light. The lighting source was bicycle bulbs, and I used kitchen roll to cover them in order to produce soft lighting.  I moved the light source around in various places to get differing effects of highlight and shadow. I a couple of cases I used the camera built in flash, this is indicated below in the first image of the tomato.

NB; I was unable to draw sketches at this time due to my hands being swollen, so I decided to use my hands as subjects too

IMG_1482 IMG_1486

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Above is the setup I used for this exercise

Built in camera flash

Built in camera flash

Red light in front of subject

Red light in front of subject

White Light to the left of subject

White Light to the left of subject

Red light behind subject

Red light behind subject

As can be seen in the images on the left and above, depending on the direction of where the light source was coming from, this will greatly increase or decrease the colour and contrast elements. The image on the above left shows the natural colour of the tomato, with the surface as you would expect to see it.

In the second image above (centre), a red light was placed in front of the tomato with a soft light effect, by using kitchen roll to cover the light source, enhancing it’s colour and also colouring the seeds in a red tone.  The same effect comes about when coloured reflectors are used, for example a gold reflector on a portrait will produce a golden glow on the skin.

Here in the image above right, a harsh white light was used, this was achieved by removing the kitchen roll and placing the light source closer to the tomato. By moving the light closer, a spotlight effect was achieved. If we were to move the light source further away, the light would be spread out and this would have achieved a softer look. But because of the light direction the contrast is greatly increased

In the final tomato image, I backlit the tomato with a harsh red light. Although I used a red light the colour, the camera picked up a yellow glow where the light was directed.

I experimented with various food products which resulted in some unexpected results.

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IMG_1474 IMG_1472 IMG_1471 IMG_1468

IMG_1445 IMG_1442 IMG_1441 IMG_1440

IMG_1435 IMG_1423 processed IMG_1410 IMG_1407

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Also see previous Exercise – Part 4 – Ex 4.3
Nature of Artificial Light


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