Tutor feedback.

The individual image feedback in under the relevant image further down the page.

General feedback:

I think you’re quite right when you say that this assignment is about the beginning rather than the end; and I feel you have found the confidence and the enjoyment to pursue this much further.

Once again you’ve covered good ground in your research both for the assignment and for general interest and context. Maria Kanevskaya’s work is very interesting, magical, painterly. You also covered additional technical ground, very useful. But, as you suggest, exploration and experimentation for this module are in many ways more valuable – as an ex cinematographer, I can vouch for that.

Your self-assessment offers a good insight into your approach and execution of this assignment and what you feel you have learned from this; this is a good articulate and detailed reflection.

Congratulations on getting your work published – very nice to see one’s hard work in print.

 You made a good choice of subject for this assignment, light, portable and open to interpretation with lighting on all four elements. Also, for you, this was an opportunity to explore lighting techniques for portraiture with a benign and patient subject. The future will bring many challenging subjects I’m sure.

So a well considered and executed assignment, perhaps the only element that you might have explored is the use of mixed lighting and the challenges that this presents using different levels and temperatures from controlled and relatively uncontrollable sources (sunlight).

Learning Log

 You covered all the exercises for this part of the course and demonstrate a very good understanding of the various elements of lighting (and exposure) and through this a good level of preparation for the assignment. The exterior shots in Rome are very atmospheric – very nice birthday treat.

I mentioned earlier your proactivity in research and how this has a positive effect on both your learning experience and the development of your photographic voice.

My response:

I am quite content with the tutors observations that mirror my own. I was concerned about the choice of subject but I am pleased that my tutor understood my reasoning. This was never going to be an award winning set of images but, at the same time, it has been a big learning curve in additional photographic lighting  and I have been pleasantly surprised with the results.


Note to tutor: Assignment 4 – Light.

Below is the assignment submission as per the PDF version emailed to you. The links to my learning log are within the body of the Introduction below.

This time I have managed to work out how to present the images so that you can click on them to enlarge.

As with the other submission, please click ‘older posts’ at the bottom of the page in both the assignment and learning log links.

With thanks.


This assignment has been extremely beneficial in building my non existent confidence in the subject of additional photographic lighting.  The earlier exercises were good to work through as a revision of skills that I have already attained. The course notes took us through all the basics that are needed to grasp the concepts of light temperature, exposure, metering, ISO etc.  There was nothing new in the early exercises for me but the project regarding additional photographic lighting is completely out of my comfort zone and I was extremely concerned at what lay ahead for me.

I have learnt about family of angles as well as well as techniques to bring out texture, cope with shadow and reflections. The exercises in lighting positions was superb to build confidence and to watch how the light falls. I also found the exercises with diffusers and reflectors very interesting. My decision in using continuos lighting I believe was the right one for now. Adding speed lights to the mix will come in time.

This assignment is more about the beginning of a journey rather then the end.  I think I have demonstrated each required technique in ambient and photographic lighting to a reasonable standard.I have used my Sony a55 and Tamrom 60mm f/2 lens for the assignment.  The choice of subject is explained in more detail in the self – assessment. The studio light used was a Sachtler continuous lighting head.

The links to my learning log are here:




Considering my lack of additional photographic lighting experience I am not too upset with the end the end results. I had really anticipated all kinds of horrible experiences. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the simplicity of the exercises and feel this has probably been the most beneficial learning curve so far on the course. I don’t really see the assignment submission as something I am going to ‘write home’ about but I am more then happy that I have started along a new path and gained some confidence. I feel that I have met the criteria for the assignment.

 My choice of subject for the assignment was based on the thinking that I don’t like the genre of still life and that preference is unlikely to change for now. I decided that using a foam head would help me with my portraiture and I was more likely to benefit from this subject then anything else. I might have gone for macro photography but, again, I only like dabbling with macro photography in the outdoors.

 I think I have demonstrated the elements learnt throughout the module sufficiently via my learning log.

As for further research, I decided early on that I could very easily get sucked into the endless books and tutorials on this subject and become easily confused and end up spending a lot of money on equipment that in reality I am unlikely to use in the near future. If I was going to stand a chance of building my confidence then sticking to the course notes and two other solid books was going to be the only way forward hence the references are on the thin side compared to assignment 3.  At one point just putting down the books and experimenting was the way forward along side looking at other photographer work.

I found Light, Science and Magic extremely readable and useful.  It would be impossible to memorise everything in the book but I am now familiar with all the issues surrounding lighting for photography and will keep the book as an essential ‘first port of call’ reference.  I wasn’t able to get Michael Freeman’s ‘Light and Lighting’ until further into the module but this is a very useful book in explaining the basics.

A mind map helped me to absorb the basics from Light, Science and Magic as you can see in the research link

The first few exercises weren’t quite to the standard I wanted to produce but I had been plagued with flu and bronchitis for a month and wanted to push on regardless.


 Unknown. (2014). Houston FotoFest. British Journal of Photography. n/a (n/a), 12 & 24.

Hunter,F, et al. (2012). Light: The Raw Material of Photography. In: Unknown, Light, Sience and Magic. 4th ed. Kidlington: Focal Press

Freeman, M. (2012). Photo School, Light and Lighting. Lewes: Ilex. 1 – 138.

http://www.port-magazine.com/feature/top-five-david-baileys-stardust/#&panel1-2 .

Last accessed: 07/03/201


 Last accessed: 07/03/2014


Last accessed: 07/03/2014.


Last accessed: 07/03/2014.


Last accessed 07/03/2014


Last accessed: 07/03/2014.


Last accessed 29/01/2014

http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/camera-metering.html Last accessed 22/01/2014.

Myers, J. (2013). Middle England. Available: http://vimeo.com/32964444. Last accessed 13/03/2014.

Raffa,E. (2014). Portfoilio. Available: http://www.eliseraffa.com. Last accessed 13/03/2014
Ellis,M. (2014). Portfoilio. Available: http://www.excelphotography.com.au. Last accessed 13/03/2014.
Kanevenska, M. (2012). Gallery 1. Available: http://www.mariakanevskaya.com/gallery1#0. Last accessed 13/03/2014.

Image CB/44 – Photographic Lighting (ambient) – Shape.


ISO 200, 60mm, f/7.1, 1/80.  White balance: Shade.  Metering: Matrix.  Mode: Aperture Priority.

Set against a sunset the matrix setting was needed to expose the sky properly. Apart from choosing the basic aperture and ISO the only other alteration needed was the white balance to be set to ‘shade’ to enhance the sunset. The ‘spill’ light on the neck helps to separate it from the lower clouded sky. The relevant course notes for this image are on page124 (measuring brightness) and 132 (The colour of light).

Tutor feedback:

The shot against the sky works vey well, creating a silhouette of the head against the sky. As you point out, the touch of reflected spill at the bottom of the frame defines the shape against the clouds, but I quite like the way that shapes can take on unusual contours with the background without it.



Image CB/45 – Photographic Lighting – Shape.


ISO 100, 60mm, f/7.1, 1/160.  White balance: Shade.  Metering: Matrix. Mode: Aperture Priority

By the time I reached the assignment I was quite well practised with silhouette lighting.  It is a tracing paper diffuser (as explored in exercise 10) with a Sachtler continuous lamp set back a safe distance of approx. 3 feet (Very hot lamp). On reflection now, a shallower depth of field may have helped to have blurred the severe surface line across the frame. I chose ‘shade’ setting to give the light some warmth. In the end I made it a little cooler again in edit.

Tutor comment:

The second image with studio lighting works equally well with different challenges, creating a smooth gradation, getting the right distance and depth of field and controlling the temperature of the image without black and white conversion.

Image CB/46 – Photographic Lighting (ambient) – Colour.


IS0 200, 60mm, f/7.1, 1/13.  White balance: Shade.  Metering: Matrix .  Mode: Aperture Priority

My favourite of the set.  Again set on matrix but with the head positioned at a different angle and the image also taken from a lower PoV rendered the exposure to be just right to subtly illuminate the head and create rim light as we explored in Exercise 6.

The sky was overexposed but this was easily taken back down a little in edit and the colours became apparent on foam head.  The colour combinations are double complementary in the sky the colour reflects in the head too. To use any fill light would kill the image in my opinion.

Tutor comment:

There’s a lovely balance of light and colour in this first shot. You use just the right angle to bring out the form of the subject and capture some intriguing colour and texture that creates an illusion of granite like mass. No fill needed, as there is enough blue ambient reflection to lift the shadow areas and retain the ambience.

Image CB/ 47 – Photographic Lighting – Colour


ISO 100, 60mm, f/6.3, 1/30.  White balance: Shade.  Metering: Matrix.  Exposure Compensation: 1.7.

By concentrating the light (as explored in exercise 12), I created a ‘out of the shadows’ alien feel. I chose the shade setting to give a sepia hue (page 132).  I had meant to set the metering mode to ‘spot’ but the only difference is made was that I had to bring the shadow down a little more in edit.  The lamp was positioned on camera right and level with the subject. We explored the effects of camera positioning in exercise 11.  A reflector was used to just lift the shadow under the jaw line on camera left as explored in exercise 12.

Tutor comment:

There is a touch of pale sepia here; certainly it is a shade down from the porcelain white of the polystyrene original. The lighting angle to create as you call it an ‘out of the shadows’ effect works very well, a sense of mystery for this emergent figure, and certainly an alien feel with its extended neck.