Jun 29

FOLD: LIGHTING

[Photo: Darwin Bell, flickr]
WORKSHOP BY ERIN BUNDOCK, FOR YWP
 
FROM A NEW PERSPECTIVE


From a New Perspective
Have you ever looked at the world upside down? In your writing, have you ever tried approaching a topic or feeling from a different perspective?

This Playlist is going to get you thinking about how to make your visuals look at the world in new ways. Most of the learning in this Playlist will be discussion based as we talk about how different perspectives can be interpreted.

You'll also brainstorm some ways to approach each perspective or angle to help you with all the activities. You have enough skills in your toolbox to help you make these decisions, even if you don't feel like you do! Trust yourself and have fun!
High Angle
Take the time to look through the photos, and imagine that you're taking the photo.

Where are you in relationship to your subject? Is it close or far away?

High angles for landscapes don't necessarily have to be as vast or open. You have the option to involve elements in the foreground as well.

Depending on how close you are to your subject, you may have to change the angle our camera in certain ways. How would you angle your camera in this shot? What about this shot?

When taken from a high angle, what happens to the proportions in the photo?

What about the negative space?

Start thinking about what high angle shots communicate. What subject do you want to capture with this angle?
Low Angle
Once again, take the time to look through the photos and think bout camera position.

When taken from a low angle, what happens to the proportions in the photo?

What happens to the negative space?

Start thinking bout what low angle shots communicate. How is this different from a high angle shot?

What do you rarely see from a low angle? Think about what could be an interesting subject for your own photos.
Activity
You have two options for how to approach this activity.

One option is to pick one object and take photos of it in both high and low angles. Another option is to focus on either high or low angles, and take photos using that angle type.

Take 5 to 10 photos for whichever option you choose, and upload them as a slideshow.


WHO TURNED OUT THE LIGHTS


Low Key Lighting
Low Key Lighting works with the darkest shadows and focuses on high contrast.

How do you think this technique works to define form? What type of lighting (front, side, or back) do you think is used here? Do you think multiple different techniques can be used?

Low key lighting can create high contrast with harder shadow lines, but can also have softer shadow gradients. Where do you see these two qualities in this photo?

Notice how a softer form of high contrast lighting affects the mood of a photo.

How is the lighting changing how the subject is perceived? Start thinking about what mood this type of lighting offers.
Activity
Think back to the mood you associated with this type of light and write about it. Once you have your piece done, think about what focal points would work well with this type of mood.

AROUND THE CLOCK

Clap On, Clap Off
Lighting plays a major role in how photos communicate with their audiences. It can affect color and structure of the subject. It also influences mood and meaning. Whether photos are well lit, or leave more to the imagination, lighting is an essential part to taking photos.

This Playlist is going to be looking at the different ways you can light your subject to create engaging and meaningful images.
Over Under
Exposure is the amount of light reaching your camera's sensor or film.

Underexposure is basically when there isn't enough light in your photo to give you the "information" you need. In other words, it's hard to see. Think about it this way-- if you walk into a dark room after being outside, you can't see anything. Without direction, you'll probably run into something.

Overexposure is basically the opposite problem with a similar effect. By overexposing, you can lose some of your content in the light. In the example, some of the background is lost to the light.

Finding a middle-ground can be tricky, but there are some ways to adjust photos with over or underexposure with editing (although underexposure is trickier).
If you take your photos on a phone, or if you're able to transfer them from your camera to your phone, you can use one of the many user-friendly apps available:
Instagram
Font Candy
Fused
Camera+

If you are able, try experimenting with editing in one of these apps as you move through this Playlist.
Types of Lighting
While looking through the examples, start thinking about the mood of each piece.

Front Lighting
This typically makes the photo a little flatter as it eliminates shadows and highlights, so for creating space, you'll need to focus on space and depth of field.

Side Lighting
Side lighting helps create more depth to subjects through well defined shadows and highlights.

Back-Lighting
This completely, or partially, flatten a subject. Back-lighting places more emphasis on the silhouette of the subject. You'll have to focus more on negative and positive space and the intended mood of the photo.
Activity
Spend some time looking at how natural light interacts with objects around you.

Pick a stationary object, and place it near a source of natural light (perhaps near a window or outside) and take pictures of it periodically throughout the day. When you're done, try to identify areas of front, side, and back-lighting. Write a poem or story describing the different types of lighting and how they interact with your object.

Post your photos in a slideshow with your writing below.




NEW VIEWS


Tilt
In this Playlist, you've already taken a look at how changing the angle can have a big difference on how we see the world around us. There's more to perspective than simply looking at subject from high or low angles. A lot of taking innovative photos is trying to think outside the box.

Remember this example from the last XP? Well, there's more than one shot in this space. Here's a shot that looks at the space a little differently just by experimenting with how elements could interact.

A level camera is helpful in most shots, but what happens if you turn it slightly? How does this change the way we interpret the photo?
Point of View
The concept of point of view is that the camera is the eye of the photographer, and therefore as if the viewer is looking "through the photo" into another world.

What type of feeling could this camera angle communicate?

If you could change the lighting or negative space, how would it change the "atmosphere" of the photo?
Over Under
Where do you think the camera is positioned in bird's eye view photos in relation to the subject?

Bird's Eye View doesn't have to capture a vast amount of space either. It could capture something much smaller to.

What type of feeling could this angle communicate?

So what happens if the situation is flipped to look at objects from directly underneath them?

How does the mood of the photo change?
Activity
Write about a time that your point of view or opinion of something or someone changed, and what prompted this change.

Pick one of the new views you have just learned and experiment with it. If you're looking for inspiration, you can relate it to the piece you wrote. Take 5 to 10 photos and upload them as slideshow.

DIRECTION

Orientation
Placement above, below, or at eye-level communicate differently, as you've seen in the past two XPs.
Your orientation in relation to your subject is also an incredibly powerful tool.

For example, what do you think a shot-from-behind could portray? If the environment changes, how does the mood change?

What happens if you have the camera directly in front of the subject? If the background changes, how does the mood shift?
Gazes
The placement of your camera also allows you to access certain tools. If you're generally oriented in front of your subject, one of the tools you have access to is your subject's eyes.

Think back to the Leading the Eye XP. We discussed the use of "sight-lines" as a way to direct attention. But what if their gaze doesn't lead us anywhere concrete?

This is where the direction your subject is looking begins to influence the mood of the photo. In the examples, how do you notice eye contact or the directional gaze changing the way you interpret the photo?
Activity
For this XP, like many others, you have a few options for your activity.

One option is to focus on your orientation in relationship to your subject. Pick a few "backgrounds" (3 or 4) and take a photo from behind and in front of your subject for each.

Your other option is to focus on experimenting with directional gaze. You should end up with 5 to 10 photos.

When you're done, arrange your photos into a slideshow.

Contrast
There are two different types of contrast: color and tonal. For the purpose of this XP, we will be focusing only on tonal contrast. Tonal contrast is how we describe the difference between the brightest highlight and the darkest low-light.
High Contrast
Think about high contrast lighting as a combination of two extremes. You have the whitest whites, and the darkest blacks all contained in one space.

What do you notice about the transition between shadows and highlights in these photos?
Low Contrast
Imagine moving the two extreme ends of dark and light along a line. In high contrast, both are on opposite ends of the line. In low contrast photos, the dark and light values move closer together, becoming less extreme.

How do you think these shadows and highlights interact differently compared to high contrast lighting?

High Key Lighting
High key lighting is essentially the opposite of low key lighting as it eliminates most of the darkest shadows. Some shadows are maintained so that the subject still has some depth.

By looking at the examples, how you think this affects the subject differently from low key lighting?

What type of lighting (front, side, or back) do you think is used in each of the photos? Could it be more than one type at the same time, or does it seem like there'd be only one light source?

Activity
Similar to the last XP, take a look at the examples and determine the mood of the photos. Write about those moods or feelings, and use that piece of writing as a basis for your own photo project. Take 5 to 10 photos and post them with your writing (this can be in slideshow form or in the body of your post).

Here are some tips for taking high key photos.
If you are looking to become more advanced or have the resources to do even more work with high key lighting, here is a good resource.

Ending Activity
Congratulations! You've made it to the end of the Lighting Playlist! Take a moment to look back at all the great work you've done over the course of this Playlist.

When going through your photos, there are probably some you like more than others. Pick your three favorite photos and the three you like the least.

What do you like about your favorite photos that you don't see in your least favorite photos? If you're able, revisit the three photos that could use some work, and work on them again. This can range anywhere from editing, cutting up and rearranging, to retaking the photos (even professionals do this sometimes!)

When you have your three favorite and three revised photos, arrange them in a slideshow. Think about the arrangement of your photos as a sequence to a story. It may help to think back to the different moods of the different types of lighting. You can either leave the story as a slideshow to speak for itself, or you can add words to go along with your photos. If you write a story, you can also place your photos in the body of your post if you'd like.