Robin Michals | COMD 1340 Photography 1 DO97

Author: rmichals (Page 2 of 9)

Final Project

The goal of the Final Project is to create a series of 10 related images on a theme.

You may choose to do either:

A series of portraits OR

A portrait of a neighborhood

OR working outside during the day a series on Mirrors (reflections) and Windows.

First decide which assignment(s) you most enjoyed. Then consider: do you have people to work with? What is your schedule like and what is practical?

Deliverables and dates:

Due Week 13, November 30: Shoot 1 – minimum of 30 images in an album on Flickr

Due Week 14, December 7: Shoot 2 – minimum of 30 images in an album on Flickr

Due Week 15, December 14: Shoot 3 -minimum of 30 images in an album on Flickr PLUS

  • final 10 images selected, adjusted in Lightroom, and posted to an album on Flickr
  • a presentation to the class of the final images.


Ilda Medel- A Neighborhood Portrait

IMG_0127 (1)

Jing Wang – A Neighborhood portrait

Example Projects:

Jennifer Humala – Portraits

Inspiration for Mirrors and Windows:

Week 12 – Portraits

Focal Length

The focal length of a lens is defined as the distance in mm from the optical center of the lens to the the sensor when the lens is focused on infinity. This varies on the camera and the lens.

Focal length controls: Magnification and angle of view

Focal length is described as short, normal ie close to human vision, or long.

Wide Angle Distortion-created when using a wide-angle lens AND the camera is very close to the subject. The object close to the lens appears abnormally large relative to more distant objects, and distant objects appear abnormally small and hence more distant – distances are extended. 

Focal length and proximity to the camera affect how a person’s face looks in a photograph. A wide focal length and proximity between the subject and the camera create wide angle distortion and will distort a person’s features.

Think about selfie sticks. What are they for but to get the camera away from your face? This makes the photograph look more complimentary to the subject. This is really important with a cameraphone because it has a wide angle lens. The center of the lens and the sensor cannot be very far apart given the thin design of cellphones.

When working with a crop-frame sensor such as a Canon 60d, approximately 65 mm will be the most flattering to your subject.


  There are three basic types of lights (these are the physical lights not portrait lighting styles):

  1. The Main or Key Light-This light provides the brightest illumination and casts the shadows

2. The Fill Light-this light brightens the shadows. It can be a reflector or an actual light.

This video shows how to use a reflector as the fill light.

3. The Separation Light or Background Light-creates separation between the subject and the background. This light can be aimed at the background or it can be aimed at the subject. If the later, it would be called a hair light. If accenting the edge of the face or shoulders, this light would be called a rim light or a kicker.

3-point Lighting

– standard lighting for portraits, video and film, uses all three: a main light, a fill light and a background light.

Lab Exercise

Two and Three Light Portraits


Final Project

HW 9: Window Light Portraits

Due Nov 23. 4 pts.

Create a series of 30 portraits of at least 3 different subjects using window light or outdoor diffused light.

For each subject, shoot some in front view, some in three quarter view and some in profile.

Try the 5 lighting styles: front light, Rembrandt light, split light for front view poses, and broad light and short light for three-quarter poses. When you are working with a window, you can’t move the light source so you and the subject must move.

You should be near or next to a window during the day. 

The window can be in the photo or you can just use the light from the window.

Pay attention what is in the frame and make sure the background adds to the photo and is not distracting.

Your photos should use light and expression to be expressive. No props. If you have curtains or venetian blinds, you may use them as elements in the photos.

Experiment with different expressions and gestures and different framing (how much of your subject is in the frame.)

Upload the 30 photos to OpenLab and put them in an album. Send your best 3 – the best of each subject- to the class group.

Examples from last semester

Lab: Week 11 – One-Light Portraits Styles

Set up:

  • The subject should be at least 4 or 5 feet in front of the backdrop to avoid casting a shadow.
  • Use 65mm focal length when you are using a camera with a cropped frame sensor
  • Focus on the subject’s eyes.

The key or main light is the light that casts the shadows.

Working with just the key light:

Front view:

Photograph your subject with:

  • Rembrandt light – the light is at a 45 degree angle to the subject. Look for the key triangle -a triangle of light on the darker side of the face to position the light.

    Do not place the light too high because this will cause shadows around the subject’s eye sockets.
  • Split light – the light is at a 90 degree angle to the subject. One side of the face is dark but light does fall on the other side.
  • Front light (butterfly) – Light falls on the subject from the camera position.


Three-quarter view:

  • The model’s face is turned to a 45 degree angle from the camera.

Photograph your subject with:

  • broad lighting by placing the light on the side of the visible ear. There will be a broad highlight on the subject’s hair. This works for subjects wearing glasses.
  • short lighting by placing the light on the side of the invisible ear. 


The model turns their face at a 90 degree angle to the camera. Place light like a side light. The subject faces the light BEING VERY CAREFUL NOT TO LOOK DIRECTLY INTO THE LIGHT. 

Put your 20 best photos into an album on Flickr. Make sure to represent each one of these lighting styles. Send your 2 best to the class group.

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