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What is Photography?

Understanding LIGHT.

1. Aperture - Set your camera to Aperture Priority (AV/A)
o What is Aperture? Include relevant information.
o How does this affect the area in focus or Depth of Field?
o Photograph the same subject using different Aperture settings (f-stops).
o Contact sheet of experiments.
o Select the 2 best shots showing shallow and deep depth of field (e.g. f1.8 and f16).
o Experiment with different focal lengths (if you have different lenses or a zoom lens) and distance between you and the
o Create a contact sheet with different ISO settings. Combine this with your Aperture experiments.
o Select 2 of the best shots showing limited noise and a large amount of noise.
o Create different blur effects using the 3 Rules of Bokeh.
o Experiment with different Bokeh shapes creating a DIY Bokeh lens hood.
o Photograph artificial lights at night (fairy lights, cars, neon, buildings, street lights) or objects hit by bright sunlight.
2. Shutter Speed - Set your camera to Shutter Priority (TV/S).
o What is Shutter Speed? Include relevant information.
o How do you combine this with Aperture and ISO to produce effective images?
o Include examples of artists/photographers who have used both techniques below.


Understanding Exposure (Exposure Triangle).

Exposure - Freeze Action
Experiment with fast shutter speeds (you can use hand held or tripod set up).
Freeze fast moving objects or actions (see water drop / pop below for an example).
Capture yourself or others levitating in the style of Natsumi Hayashi.

Long Exposure - Capture Motion
o Experiment with slow shutter speeds (using a tripod will remove camera shake, although camera shake may produce
interesting effects).
o Capture blurred motion of objects/people.
o Experiment with the panning technique to keep the subject in focus whilst the background is blurred.
o Capture light trails at night of moving lights.
Stroboscopic Flash (Strobe Light) Technique
o Using 2 or more external flashes experiment with this technique to capture movement.
Light Painting (night time or day time WITH a ND Filter).

Short Exposure
Harold Edgerton
Alain Sailer
Natsumi Hayashi
Long Exposure
Jason Salavon
Matthew Pillsbury
Light Painting
Pablo Picasso
Patrick Rochon
Alan Jaras

Include examples of artists who have used this technique.
Create a series of light paintings experimenting with potential shapes, direction of the light, type and colour of light and
subject matter.
o Test different exposure times and variations of the Exposure Triangle.
o Create a series of experiments freezing action of water dripping or bursting.
o This technique can be developed using other materials such as glitter/flour.

Ink & Water
o Experiment with different types of liquid (water, milk, washing up liquid) in a transparent tray or on a sheet or clear
o Add inks, dyes, food colouring.
o Shoot from multiple directions and experiment with exposure times.
o Use toothpicks and other tools to mix and stir, creating motion.
Flick Book
o Create a flipbook of sequential images to simulate movement.

3. Composition
Provide VISUAL EXAMPLES from specific photographers and your own images to explain the following:
Types of Composition
o Create a page explaining the Golden Spiral, Rule of Thirds, Diagonal Method, Rule of Odds and Symmetry.
Balancing the Elements
o Create at least 2xA3 pages explaining the elements within a composition: Line, Shape, Colour, Texture, Tone, Form, Space
(Positive/Negative) and Depth.
Framing the Subject
o Explain the methods of framing a subject, cropping, viewpoint/angle and HOW your eye moves (leading lines, focal
Composition Development
o Create a series of images focusing on ONE or more of these elements. For example, try to capture horizontal, vertical,
radial and diagonal LINES.
o Annotate your contact sheet.
o Enlarge 2-4 of the images, which are the most successful in terms of composition.
4. Compare & Contrast
o Select 2 different artists’ images. Analyse both images and dissect the compositional similarities and differences
between them.


5. Black & White / Colour
Black & White
o Explain HOW you have to look at the world around you differently to capture it in Black & White.
o Analyse at least ONE chosen photographer’s black and white image. Explain HOW the LIGHT is interacting in the image
(use the definitions of light for support).
o Tone & Contrast / Pattern & Texture – create a series focusing on LIGHT (how this interacts with the composition)
affecting the SHAPE & FORM within.
Achieve this by capturing tonal values, especially areas of strong contrast (between white highlights and black shadows).
o Shadows – create a series where the shadow is the focus of the composition.
o Reference Film Noir and Chiaroscuro examples alongside your own creations.

Definitions of Light

Image Toning
o Using image editing software experiment with transforming your colour images into Sepia and other MONOCHROME styles.
You can also create SPLIT TONING effects.
o Select 2-5 images by photographers who have worked in colour. Analyse the images focusing on the use of colour and its
o Create a series of images where colour is the focal point (Red, Green, Orange, Blue, Yellow, White).
White Balance
o Experiment with different white balance settings on your camera and how this changes the colours captured in your images.
Colour Splash
o Combine both Colour and Black & White into a single image using selective colour also known as the colour splash technique.
o Using a projector experiment with layering onto a surface (e.g. a wall/body).
o What will you project? Text, objects, imagery, moving images (film).
o Photograph the results, experimenting in colour and black & white.
Shoot THROUGH a Surface
o Place a surface or transparent object in front of your camera (in between the subject matter).
o Experiment with the techniques you have learnt so far to produce exciting results (e.g. Depth of Field).

6. Traditional Image Manipulation
o Create an Artist Research Page exploring and analysing 3-5 artists who transform images and their surface using
traditional techniques.
o Experiment with your 3-5 chosen artists’ techniques on your own images.
o Create an A4/3 sized response using one or more of the techniques learnt (could you combine the techniques?).

Brno del Zou
Michael Mapes


Create a page altering the SAME image using the following titles: Combine, Deconstruct/Reconstruct, Fold, Tear, Incorporate,
Disguise and Scrunch.

o Explore the use of photomontage before digital technology existed.
o Research the DADA movement.
o Select 2 or more artists from the list (or your own) to research and respond to.
o Create a photomontage experimenting with cutting/layering and methods of combining/juxtaposing images.


7. Camera Less Photography
o Create a series of images without the use of a camera.
o Use the Photogram/Solar/Lumen Print techniques.
o Experiment with different objects placed on the surface (flat objects = hard edges, rounded objects = soft edges creating
o Explore the artists who have worked with camera less techniques (Shadow Catchers, Man Ray and Anna Atkins).


8. Types / Genres of Photography
o Create 2xA3 pages exploring the most common types/genres of photography (Photojournalist, Narrative, Street, Fashion, Fine
Art, Portrait, Still Life/Products/Commercial, Landscape).
o How do they differ in style/technique/subject matter?
o Where can they be found? What is their purpose/function?

Lucas Samaras
David Hockney
Bettina Birmarcker
Shirin Neshat
Jose Romussi
Maria Puentes
Amy Friend
Alison Diaz
Alma Haser

Chosen Type/Genre
o Choose the genre/style that most interests you.
o Create a series based on the theme Surfaces that conforms to this chosen type/genre in one or more ways.


9. Studio Lighting
o Explore traditional Portraiture photography lighting set ups using one key light source (Short, Broad, Rembrandt, Butterfly,
Split/Hatchet, Horror).
o Experiment with different studio lighting set ups and multiple light sources.
o How can you FILL, BOUNCE, DIFFUSE, REFLECT light?
Fashion Photography
o Research different styles of fashion photography.
o Explore HOW the model is positioned, camera set up, lighting set up, prop/background set up, studio or on location.
10. Development of Ideas

Life Magazine


Now that you have explored the core skills or photography start to develop your ideas surrounding the theme Surfaces.
o Look for artists/photographers as inspiration for the direction you wish to take.
o Create a contact sheet exploring a range of ideas/compositions/lighting techniques.
o Select the best 3-5 to enlarge and develop using digital editing software.
Creating a Narrative
o Explore the genre of Photojournalism and Series photography (Artist Books).
o Capture a series of images creating a story you wish to tell the viewer, linked to the theme Surfaces.
o Explore the layout and grouping of these images. How will viewing them in a particular order affect the story being told?
Consider their interrelationship and narrative structure.

Picture Post
Michelle Sank
Oliver Chanarin &
Adam Broomberg
Ed Rusca