Needed for this class

  • camera or camera phone
  • a small stuffed animal or doll
  • a light source

Light Quality

Direct light or hard light – the rays of light are nearly parallel and strike the subject from one direction creating hard edged dark shadows with little detail.
Examples: a spotlight, sun on a clear day, or a bare flash

Alex Webb

Diffused light or soft light– the rays of light are scattered and coming from many directions. It appears even and produces indistinct shadows. Examples: overcast daylight, a light covered with tracing paper or other translucent material.

Jim Richardson. Scotland.

Directional/Diffused Light.   This light is a combination of directional and diffused light. The light is partially diffused yet it appears to come from a definite direction and creates shadows. The shadows are less harsh and contain more detail than in direct light. More subtle transition between light and dark areas. Examples: window light, sunlight on a hazy day, sunlight on a partly cloudy day or sunlight bouncing off a reflective surface.

Light Direction

Front light comes from in front of subject from the camera position and the shadows fall behind the subject not concealing any details.

Michael Christopher Brown. 2013.

Side Light comes from 90 degrees to the camera. it adds dimension and texture to the subject.

Andres Feininger, 10/29/1948

Backlight comes from behind the subject towards the camera.

Michael Kenna.



Fill the Frame

Lighting Direction


HW 7: Lighting Direction

Needed for next class

  • a camera or cameraphone
  • a window or clamp light
  • a piece of white cardboard or poster board
  • tracing paper
  • some simple food items that are not shiny – good choices are onions, garlic
  • a background such as a cutting board or the back of a baking sheet