Light Theory Lecture

Our day first started out with Matt Johnston, showing a online program we are able to use, to create lighting diagrams to help us remember our lighting set ups. This allows us to document them for future reference so it becomes easier to re create that certain lighting setup. –

Here is how the program look when first opened:
Untitled 2
Down the left hand side, there are multiple accessories to add to your layouts, so you are able to quickly create the diagram that your photo shoot consisted of. It is a simple click and drag operation in which you can rotate your objects to create an exact replica of your original layout. After everything has been placed, you can export the image to PNG, JPEG or URL. Something that would be useful is to then import that image into photo shop, to add crucial details such as camera settings, light settings and distance. When making a diagram it is good to pair them up with a photograph of the outcome of that lighting so you can see what it looked like and how it was created.

After this when then had a lecture from Paul Smith in which we would discuss different uses of lighting. Not just in photography but in moving image and paintings. The first thing we were shown was this video below:

We were then asked to re-watch the video and pick a certain form of lighting that we found the most interesting. This was rather difficult as there were many lightings throughout the piece that I felt worked very well. However I chose to go with the image below:

I felt this was a very interesting use of light, as many try to illuminate a subject making them the most visible. However I like how the use of parcial see through clothing allows a small amount of soft light to highlight her face leaving patterns across her, from the holes throughout the garment. When looking at a film or video, start looking at other elements not just the story. But the lighting, the scenes and the colours.

Dean Collins:

SC corp ladderCropped

  • Aggressive, powerful and high tech
  • He had to stop the shine from the glossed elevators
  • Strobe light from behind separates the bodies form the background
  • Used a reflector meter to find out the brightness of the strobe to find out how much light was on the front of the people, not behind.
  • 3 lights – one from behind, one on the front and one on the front right.
  • Make sure you record everything you do, it allows you to practice and see the outcome of your images.
  • Make lighting diagrams to remember the set up and the outcome.

The Last Judgement – Jean Cousin the Younger


  • Pure white at the top centre of the image shifts to a blue hue – it is what we think of as the colour of the day and heaven.
  • Bottom of the painting is filled with darks and reds – it is what we imagine night and hell to be like.
  • We use colours all the time to change the feel of an image, to make us emote in a different way.

Philip-Lorca Dicorcia


  • On the outside looking in.
  • Use of red light- represents the red light district as he is a male prostitute .
  • The photographer paid him the price he would normally charge, so he could photograph him. He then called this image – sunset boulevard-$20 to link the image to his daily life.

Colour Temperature Chart.


How would you change the light from one colour to another?

  • You could use colour gels
  • use a reflector – gold will give a warm effect – silver giving a cold effect

Chrystel Lebas

Azure 11

  • This photographs were taken when the day becomes night.
  • We shift from the good of the day from the dark of the night. (When the mythical creatures roam the Earth.
  • ‘From Dog to Wolf’
  • Used a panoramic camera, which takes roughly two hours to expose as it slowly rotates.

Paul Smith


  • Used Bulb/tungsten
  • The green/yellow use of light makes you feel sick as it relates to the image.

Andres Serrano
Imersion – Piss Christ, 1987


  • Tiny Christ on a crucifix placed into his own urine.
  • When he exhibited his work, some people were rather offended.
  • His aim was not to cause any controversy over religion.
  • The colouring makes the image have a stronger meaning for what he was trying to portray.

Tim Noble and Sue Webster


  • You have to consider the dark within an image.
  • They sculptured rubbish, so when light shines towards the sculpture, a shadow image would appear on the background. But the shadow would be far from the truth.


  • There was a cave, the only thing they could see in that cave was the shadows, there was no light.
  • The prisoner who was freed from the cave, was able to see the light, and was able to recognise the limitations.
  • The information that is given from the shadows is far from the truth.

Henry Peach Robinson – 1858


  • Oscur ‘fading away’ -he realised the limitations of the light in the same scene, he used 5 separate frames then merged them in the dark room, so he was able to change the lighting in the whole image that he wouldn’t be able to create in a single frame.
  • Woman is contemplating the death of a good lady so she is in a dark place with her emotions, the white light represents her passing and going to heaven.

Tom Hunter


  • Natural light form the window – woman is reading – intimate moment. He is inspired by paintings but he would change the meaning of the picture. The woman with the baby is reading a repossession order.
  • Painting of the woman is reading a letter fromm a loved one who is at war.PaulSmithLighting

Erwin Olaf – Grief


  • Not in complete darkness.
  • He photographed moments of grief.
  • Light and dark makes you think of negative and evil.

Rineke Dijkstra


  • Photographs of adolescents at the seas in different places around the world.
  • Creates atmosphere due to different colours as exposure are created at different times of the day and different weathers.
  • The more light you add to the foreground the more detail the background will hold.

Video – in relation to flash exposures

  • When creating flash fashion photographs consider taking the exposure of the background down one stop from the foreground.
  • Used a soft key light from umbrella, then used a side light to highlight her hair and the side of her face to create the luminance that is key in fashion photography.

Gregory Crewdson

Gregory Crewdson  ps_trailer_park_5

  • If you over light something, You lose those darks and shadows.
  • Likes tension
  • Contrast of the familiar and strange.

Hiroshi Sugimoto


  • Had the large format camera fixed at a wide-open aperture, and as soon as the film started he clicked the shutter he then left it open until the movie finished.
  • He then developed the film that night, and was visually fascinated  so he chose to continue with his theater photographs.



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