Robin Michals | COMD 1340 Photography 1

Week 14 – Digital Darkroom: Local Corrections

Review Global Corrections

Global corrections adjust the entire file. In the Lightroom, it includes the controls under Light, Color and Effects. In Lightroom classic, this includes everything in the basic panel: White balance, Tone and Presence.

Download and color correct both files. Put the corrected versions in an album on Flickr.

Local corrections

After you make global corrections, sometimes you will want to make corrections to part of your image. Generally, the brightest part of the image commands the most attention. Sometimes that is not where you want your viewer to look first so shifting the exposure of parts of your image can create the image you want.


Lightroom allows you to select part of the scene and mask it so you can work on only that part of the image. It can select

  • the subject
  • the sky
  • the background
  • specific people
  • with the object tool for things with hard edges
  • with the brush
  • with a gradient

Example 1

This is an image I shot at the Dance Bloc Festival of The Dynamite Experience.

Image one is the file as shot.

Image two uses a subject mask.

Image three uses a second mask created with the brush to reduce the brightness of the crouching figure.

Example 2

The important thing in this photo by Bryan Rodriguez is the face of the card player. However the cards are brighter and demanded too much attention. Using the adjustment brush, I darkened the cards. Creating a second adjustment, I lightened the face of the card player a little more. The goal was to bring more attention to the person’s face and less to the overly bright cards.

Use masks to make local corrections on the files below.

Lab exercises

Adjust the 6 photos above.

Working with your partner, you both adjust one of their photos and compare the results. Then you both adjust one of your photos and compare the results.

Put your results, a total of 8 photos, in an album on Flickr for today’s lab credit. Send your corrected photo and your partners corrected to the group.


Final Project – 20 pts

Due May 22:

3 albums each of a minimum of 40 photos

1 album of the 10 best photos adjusted in Lightroom

a 3-5 min presentation of the final project – projected from the album on Flickr.

Presentation Guidelines

  1. Start by introducing yourself and your project. Then outline the big picture with a few sentences sentence such as, ” I photographed variations on the theme of windows. Most of the photos were taken in downtown Brooklyn.
  2. If you are showing 10 images, you have about 30 seconds to describe each photo. Tell us what your intention was, what interested you about the photo we are looking at, and give us information we may need to know to understand the photo. Tell us what makes it visually interesting ie the use of shallow depth of field or some other feature.
  3. How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice.
  4. Do not tell us about what you did to the photo in Lightroom.

Late coursework will NOT be accepted after today, May 15 at midnight. Final projects will not be accepted after May 22.

Week 13 – Outdoor Portraits

Next week

On May 15, class will start with a quiz. Topics include: shutter speed, aperture, depth of field, perspective, portrait lighting styles, light roles: main, fill, separation or background.

Outdoor Portrait Examples


Considerations for any portrait:

  1. Use a vertical orientation.

2. Focus on the model’s eyes.

3. Keep the background clean and without distraction.

4. Use one of the 5 basic portrait lighting styles: Rembrandt, Split, Butterfly, Braod, Short

5. Use a flattering focal length. Approx 65 mm on our class cameras and other cropped sensor cameras. 85 mm on a full frame camera.

Considerations for outdoor portraits

  1. Work with the model in shade or place the model with the sun BEHIND their head. The sun will essentially be the separation or background light.
  2. Do not use direct sunlight on the model’s face.

3. Use a reflector or flash as the main light.

On-camera Flash

You can dial the flash down and use it directly to raise the light on the subject’s face or bounce it off a reflector.

Ambient Light-the existing light that you cannot control

Fill Flash-brightens shadows

Built-in flash-part of the camera and throws light about 6 to 10 feet

External flash-added to the camera on the hot shoe and can throw light 15 to 20 feet 

ETTL (Evaluative-Through The Lens) is a Canon EOS flash exposure system that uses a brief pre-flash before the main flash in order to obtain a more correct exposure.

Use M or manual.

1/1 is full power. If you are pointing the flash right at the model, try 1/64 and adjust from there. If you are bouncing the flash, raise the power to 1/8 or 1/4.

Use Zoom to spread or focus the light. Wide angle numbers (smaller numbers) spread the light. Higher numbers focus the light.

High speed sync-allows the camera to be set at shutter speeds higher than the camera sync speed 

Lab 12

Outdoor Portraits


Final Project

Late coursework will be accepted until 11:59pm on May 15.

Week 12 – Painting with Light

Painting with light is drawing with light over the course of a long exposure.

Inspiration: Atton Conrad

Sprint Campaign: 

Tripod use

  • Spread the legs out and make sure the tripod is stable. Use the height from the legs before using the neck of the tripod. Put one leg forward and the two legs on your side.
  • Put the plate on the camera and make sure that the lens arrow is pointing towards the lens. Insert the plate into the locking mechanism and make sure that the camera is secure.
  • Use the camera timer and DO NOT TOUCH the camera or the tripod during the exposure.

Considerations for painting with light: 

1. Use a tripod 

2. Use Manual as the shooting mode.

3. Set the ISO to 100

4. Set the aperture to f/11 as a starting point to get a wide range of depth of field. 

5. Set the shutter speed to 2″ as a starting point.

6. Use manual focus. Make sure the subject is in focus. To do this shine a light on the subject and use auto focus. Then flip the lens back to MF. Remember that if the distance of the subject to the camera changes, you need to refocus!

Mixing Strobe Lights or Flash with Painting with Light 

The aperture controls the exposure of whatever is lit by the strobe lights. 

The shutter speed controls the illumination of the background. 

Lab 11

Painting with Light


Final Project

Class Schedule

May 8: Outdoor Portraits

May 15: Quiz 2, Lightroom and Final Project support

May 22: Final Presentations

Week 11 – Depth of field, Aperture, and Perspective

Next week is Spring Break. Our next class is May 1.

Don’t forget to submit to the CUNY Photo Challenge. Due April 27th!

Depth of Field

Depth of Field-The distance between the nearest and farthest points that appear in acceptably sharp focus in a photograph. Depth of field can be shallow or extensive. While the term includes the word depth, depth of field refers to focus.

Left photo: shallow depth of field, Right photo: extensive depth of field

Shallow Depth of Field

Shallow depth of field is commonly used in portrait photography to separate the subject from the background and in food photography.

Extensive Depth of Field

Extensive depth of field is often used in landscape photography and photojournalism.

The depiction of space

Perspective-the representation of a 3-dimensional space on a 2-dimensional surface by converging lines, diminishing scale and/or atmospheric perspective.

Photographer: Berenice Abbott, Manhattan Bridge, 1936.
Canyon, Broadway and Exchange Place. 1936.
Photographer: Berenice Abbott

Sometimes photos combine perspective and shallow depth of field.

Photographer: Michael Kenna

How to control depth of field (with a camera)

These four factors control depth of field:

  • lens aperture 
  • focal length
  • camera-to-subject distance
  • sensor size.


Aperture is the size of the opening that allows light to hit the camera’s sensor when the photograph is taken. 

  1. Aperture values are expressed in numbers called f-stops. A smaller f-stop number means more light is coming into the camera and will create shallow depth of field. A larger f-stop number will let less light into the camera and create extensive depth of field.
  2. The full stops for aperture are: F2, f28, f4, f5.6, f8, f11, f16, f22, f3

Focal Length  is the distance from where the light converges in the lens to the sensor. If it is a short distance then the lens is a wide angle lens and shows a lot of the scene. If it is a long distance, the lens is a telephoto lens and it magnifies the scene. Wide angle lenses create extensive depth of field while telephoto lenses create shallow depth of field.

Camera-to-subject distance is how far the subject is from the camera. If everything is far from the camera, it is easier to achieve extensive depth of field. If the main subject is very close to the camera and the background elements are far from the camera, it is easier to achieve shallow depth of field.

It is the small size of the sensor that makes cameraphones so good at achieving extensive depth of field. It is also the main reason it is so hard to get your cameraphone to achieve shallow depth of field.

Sensor size-the smaller the sensor the easier it is to achieve extensive depth of field. Bigger sensors allow for shallow depth of field.

 Bokeh-Bokeh comes from the Japanese word boke (ボケ), which means “blur” or “haze”, or boke-aji, the “blur quality.” Bokeh is pronounced BOH-Kə or BOH-kay. 

 — From

Lab Exercises

Lab 10: Brooklyn Botanic Garden


HW 9: Space and Focus

Class Schedule

May 1 – Painting with Light

May 8 – Outdoor Portraits

May 15 – Lightroom-Local corrections

The last day late coursework will be accepted is
May 15th.

May 22- Final Project Presentations

Week 10 – Portraits with two and three lights

For the next class

On April 17th, we will go to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. You will need train fare but admission is free for us as a school group. Be prepared to be outside and waking for 1.5 hours.

Review Portrait Lighting Styles


Mamadi Doumbouya

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, 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

Lab 9: Two and Three Light Portraits


HW 8: Final Project Statement and Mood Board

Class Schedule:

April 17-Brooklyn Botanic Garden

April 24-Spring Break

May 1-Painting with Light

Week 9 – Portrait Lighting Styles


Test Yourself: Which Faces Were Made by A.I.?

Portrait Poses

There are three basic positions for someone’s head and face in a portrait.

  1. Front view or face forward
  2. 3/4 view
  3. Profile

Portrait Lighting Styles

There are a 5 basic lighting styles for portrait photography. Each style is defined by how light falls on the face.

When the subject’s whole face is towards the camera, there are three basic lighting styles.

  1. Rembrandt Light – the model is face forward, main light is at 45 degrees and casts a light on the opposite side of the face to form a triangle on the cheek.

Rembrandt Lighting
Michael B. Jordan. Photographer: Peggy Sirota

2. Butterfly Light, Clamshell or beauty or glamour light-model is face forward, front light.

Tyra Banks. Photographer: Matthew Jordan Smith

3. Split Light-model is face forward, the main light is at 90 degrees to the camera and falls on one side of the face. 

Lewis Wickes Hine (U.S.A., 1874–1940), One of the spinners in Whitnel Cotton Mfg. Co. N.C. December 1908.

When the subject is in 3/4 view, there are two basic lighting styles.

4. Broad Light-light falls on the side of the face with the visible ear. Good for controlling the reflections on glasses.

Danny Devito. Photographer: Gregory Heisler.

5. Short Light-the light falls on the side of the face with the features. (Not on the side with the visible ear.)

Aretha Franklin. Photographer: Matthew Jordan Smith

Both of these are examples of short light. Here the light is slightly behind the subject.

Chadwick Boseman. Photographer: Caitlin Cronenburg

Left: Photographer-Yousef Karsh, Winston Churchill, 1941

Right: Photographer-Nadav Kandar, Donald Trump, 2016

Yousef Karsh

Nadav Kandar

Lab 8

Portrait Lighting Styles

Homework Assignment

HW 7: Window Light Portraits

Week 8 – Shutter Speed: Freezing and Blurring Motion

CUNY Photo Challenge

Enter your best image! Get extra credit. Entries due March 28th.


Shutter Speed

Shutter Speed is the length of time that the sensor is exposed to light to create the photograph. It is measured in seconds or fractions of a second.

The full stops for shutter speed are: 30”, 15”, 8”, 4”, 2”, 1”, . sec, ., 1/8, 1/15, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250, 1/500, 1/1000, 1/2000, 1/4000, 1/8000

Doubling the time, doubles the amount of light that reaches the sensor.

When shooting with a cameraphone and the Lightroom Photoshop app, you can set the shutter speed of your cameraphone between 1/10,000 and 1/4 sec.

A good rule of thumb when shooting with a camera is: Any shutter speeds slower then 1/60 require the use of a tripod. When shooting with a cameraphone, you will need a tripod to shoot at 1/15 or slower.


Capturing Motion

Your choice of shutter speed will change the way motion is captured in the photograph.

Frozen Motion-Motion is stopped and captured in the frame with a fast shutter speed.


World Sports Photography Awards Aquatic winners

World Sports Photography Awards Basketball

Maria Baranova: Performance


The exact moment that you take the picture is as important as how long the shutter speed is. This is often called:

The Decisive Moment: A term coined by Cartier Bresson- “the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as the precise organization of forms which gives that event its proper expression.”

Behind the Gare Saint-Lazare, Paris. 1932
Photographer: Henri Cartier-Bresson

How to freeze motion:

  • Use a shutter speed of 1/ 500, 1/1000 or faster.
  • Use the AF mode – AI Servo.

Auto Focus

AF Area Selection Mode: facial recognition, single point Spot AF, Single Point AF, AF Point Expansion, Zone AF, Large Zone AF.

One Shot is for still subjects. AI Servo is for moving subjects.

Drive Mode

For really fast motion, try a burst mode either high or low continuous.

Blurred Motion

Moving elements blur with a longer shutter speed.


Lee-Ann Olwage, The Big Forget

Matthew Pillsbury, Sanctuary

How to blur motion:

  • Use a slower shutter speed – 1/4 sec to 30″ or even longer
  • Direction-if the subject moves parallel to the picture plane there is more visible movement than if the subject moves toward or away from the camera.
  • Focal length-a subject will appear blurrier when photographed with a telephoto lens than when photographed with a wide-angle lens.

Lab Exercise

Lab 7: Freezing and blurring motion

Homework Assignment

HW 6: Freezing Motion

Class Schedule

April 3: Aperture and Depth of Field: Brooklyn Botanic Garden

April 10: Portraits

April 17: Portrait w 2 and 3 lights

Week 7 – Midterm – Critique Guidelines

Critique Etiquette

  1. Respect the presenter. Give them your full attention.
  2. Ask questions about your colleague’s photography. This is not the time to ask questions about your personal concerns.
  3. Start with the positive when you comment on your colleague’s works. Use the terms below that we have learned this semester.
  4. Be generous. Offer your thoughts. Your opinion and judgements are important. Do not leave the work of giving feedback to the others in the class.


Framing: How the frame brings together the elements inside the rectangle juxtaposing them, creating relationships between them

Types of shots: how much information is in the frame

  • a long shot
  • a medium shot
  • a close up
  • an extreme close up.

Frame within a frame – use elements in the frame to enclose the main subject and draw attention to it. A frame within a frame can be a window or door or it can be items in the foreground such as branches.

Angle of View:  describes the camera position in relationship to the subject. The angle of view may be: 

  • a worm’s-eye view
  • a low-angle
  • eye-level
  • a high-angle
  • a bird’s-eye or aerial or overhead view
  • an oblique angle.

Rule of Thirds – Instead of placing the main subject in the center of the frame, divide the frame into thirds horizontally and vertically and place the main subject at one of these intersections.

Symmetry-fold the image in half and the two sides are equivalent

Fill the Frame –  (get closer) – do not leave empty areas that do not add to the composition and plan to crop in later.

Diagonals – Sloping lines

Leading Lines – lines in the photograph that lead the eye to the main subject

Perspective-the creation of the feeling of a 3D space on a 2D surface usually with converging lines or diminishing scale

Patterns – repeated elements. Break the pattern for visual interest

Figure to Ground -the relationship between the subject and the background sometimes described as negative and positive space.

Diffused light – light that comes from many directions and creates soft shadows

Direct light– light that come from one direction and creates hard shadows

Contrast: The measure of difference between bright areas (highlights) and dark areas (shadows) in a photo

High contrast : Large difference between highlights and shadows. Mostly lights and darks without many mid tones        

Low contrast :  Little difference between lights and darks. Mostly mid tones.

High Key– most tones are light

Low Key – most tones are dark


HW 5: Reflections

Class Schedule

March 27: Shutter Speed and Motion, McLaughlin Park (across the street)

April 3: Aperture and Depth of Field: Brooklyn Botanic Garden

April 10: Portraits

Week 6 – Digital Darkroom – Global Corrections


Aspect Ratio-the proportion of the width of the image to the height of a 2D image

Clipping-the intensity of the light falls outside of what can be recorded by the camera and there is a loss of detail.

Color Profile-the data for a digital device, such as a printer or monitor, which describes its gamut, or range of colors. Used to match the gamut from one device to another.

Exif Data-information stored by the camera in the file.

Gamut-range of colors

Histogram- a graphic representation of the tones in an image. A spike of data on the left side indicates underexposure, on the right overexposure.

Neutral Value-RGB values are equal or gray

Non-destructive Editing-adjust the image without overwriting the original image data. Instructions are written to a sidecar file that tells the software how to interpret the image.

White Balance-the setting that adjusts for the color temperature of the light and that will make a white object appear white or a gray object a neutral value

Global Corrections

Global corrections adjust the entire file. In the Lightroom CC, it includes the controls under Light, Color and Effects. In Lightroom classic, this includes everything in the basic panel: White balance, Tone and Presence.

Exposure Choices

Both exposures are “right.” It depends on the feeling and mood you want to create.

When to Use Auto

Auto is a great feature of Lightroom. If the tones in an image will more or less average out to a medium gray, Auto will give you a good result. If the tones in the image do not average out to a medium gray, Auto is useless.

Using the Histogram

Example file:

The histogram is a graphic representation of the tones in the photograph. It is a guide to exposure decisions. Most images look best when there is a full range of tones from black to white in the image. But there are no iron clad rules.

To access the histogram in Lightroom, from the keyboard select: Command 0

Or get it from the three dots on the right menu bar.

From the top of the histogram, there is a triangular button. Toggle it to turn on/off show clipping.

To maximize the the tonal range, adjust a photo to have some tones that are totally black and totally white but only a few so that you don’t lose detail in either the shadows or the highlights.

Looking at the histogram, we can see that there is not a true black or white. To raise the contrast of the image and use the full tonal range, use the following adjustments:

  • Select show clipping on the top left of the histogram. Adjust the blacks slider to the left until you see bright blue flecks on your image.
  • Select show clipping on the top right of the histogram. Adjust the whites slider to the right until you see bright red flecks on your image.

Most images improve with:

  • shadows slider to +50 add detail to the dark areas
  • the highlights slider brought to the left to bring detail into the highlights.

In this photo of the pier in Coney Island, the histogram shows that is underexposed. But we also know that it is an evening scene and that there is nothing in the photo that should be bright white.

Lightroom Workflow:

  1. Optics: enable lens correction. If there is architecture or a strong horizon line, geometry>upright>auto
  2. Crop.
  3. Color. Adjust the white balance if necessary.
  4. Light
    a. Exposure slider-use to adjust the overall tonality
    b. Set black point using show clipping
    c. Set white point using show clipping
    d. Use shadows slider to brighten mid tones.
  5. Effects – Adjust clarity (mid tone contrast)
  6. App: color – Adjust vibrance and or saturation
  7. Detail panel – Sharpen-amount at least 50

Lightroom CC Resource

Lightroom Classic Resource

A few tips for Lightroom Mobile:

  1. To access the histogram, tap on the image with two fingers. If you can’t really see the histogram background, brighten the display.
  2. To see the image before your corrections, press on the image.

Lab Exercise

Lab 6: Global Corrections


Midterm Project

Week 5 – Exposure

Quiz 1

Next week, March 13th, the class will start with a quiz. The quiz will have three questions on the following topics all from the OpenLab topics pages: Exposure, Light-quality and direction, contrast, studio basics: continuous lights vs strobes, Flood lights vs spot lights, composition including angles of view, framing, rule of thirds, leading lines, a frame within a frame, symmetry, figure to ground and a compare and contrast of two photos that will be graded on your use of the vocabulary from the class.


Light Quality

Light is either direct or diffused.

Direct light: the light strikes the subject from one angle and creates sharp shadows. Sunlight is an example of direct light.

Graduation, New York. 1949
Photographer: Roy DeCarava

Diffused Light: the light hits the subject from many angles and creates soft shadows. The light is diffused on an overcast day or in the shade.

Mother and daughter pausing in the ruins, which was still their home. Claremont Parkway. 1976-82.
Photographer: Mel Rosenthal

Measuring the Light

Exposure is the amount of light that comes into the camera to create the photograph.

Exposure is made up of three components:

  1. ISO-Sensitivity to light.
  2. Shutter Speed-the length of time that the camera’s shutter is open during the exposure.
  3. Aperture-how wide the cameras lens opens to allow the light to come in.

All three are measured in stops. The different between one full stop and the next is it either doubles or reduces by 1/2 the amount of light. This is true of ISO, shutter speed and aperture.

Exposure Basics

When hand holding the camera – as opposed to using a tripod – set the shutter speed fast enough to account for your motion as a living breathing moving person.

Generally, 1/125 is fast enough for this. It will not stop the motion of a moving subject but it will keep your motion from adding a bit of softening motion blur to your entire photo.

ISO 100 is best quality. Higher ISOs introduce noise but up to ISO 1600 you are unlikely to see much noise. Raise the ISO instead of making the shutter speed longer than 1/125.

How your Camera Meter Works

Acronym: TTL – Through the Lens

The meter in your camera is a reflected-light meter.

A reflected light meter averages the tones in the scene and selects the aperture and shutter speed values that will make the whole scene medium gray.

Watch from :45 to 1:34 for an explanation of how your camera meter works.

What your camera meter "sees"
What your camera meter “sees” From Photography, 10th Edition, Stone, London, Upton, P. 70


There are certain predictable situations that will fool your meter.

  1. Backlight – a common example is a person against a window or against the sky. Add exposure to get the right exposure for the main subject and allow the background to be overexposed.

2. Landscapes with sky. The sky is brighter than the ground and to get a good exposure of the land portion of your photo, often you need to over expose the sky.

Using Exposure for Creative Effect

Sometimes, you don’t want the tones in your image to average out to a medium gray. You want to tones to be low key-mostly dark or high key-mostly light.

Both exposures are “right.” It depends on the feeling and mood you want to create.

A quick way to control exposure

With a camera: Use Exposure Compensation set to plus to increase the light and set to minus to decrease the light.

Exposure compensation scale
Exposure compensation scale set here to minus 1.3

Exposure Compensation-a way to force the camera to make an exposure either lighter or darker than the meter reading. Good for backlight or extremes of light and dark.

With a cameraphone: Touch the area where the main subject is and then drag the little sun icon up or down to increase or decrease the overall exposure.

Lab Exercises

Lab 5: The Oculus and Brookfield Place

Homework Due Next Class

Midterm Project

Upcoming Schedule

March 13 – Quiz 1, Midterm Project Support, Lightroom and Global Corrections

March 20- Midterm Presentations

March 27 – Shutter Speed

Week 4: Lighting for Mood

CUNY Photo Challenge

Submit today! This month’s submission is due Feb 28th.

Email me the screen shot of your submission for 1 point of extra credit.


Lighting Quality

Diffused– light hits the subject from all directions and the shadows are soft

Direct– light hits the subject from one angle and the shadows are crisp with sharp edges

Lighting Direction

Front light – light comes from near the camera position.

Side light – light come from 90 degrees to the camera position.

Back light – light comes from behind the subject and aims towards the camera.


Contrast: The measure of difference between bright areas (highlights) and dark areas (shadows) in a photo

High contrast : Large difference between highlights and shadows. Mostly lights and darks without many mid tones  

Low contrast :  Little difference between lights and darks. Mostly mid tones.




Other terms to know

Ambient Light-The light that is already there sometimes called available light

Continuous Lights-Always on, may be incandescent, halogen, fluorescent, LED

Strobe Lights – lights that fire when the exposure is made

Strobes have two bulbs:

  • the modeling light which helps you see where the light will fall
  • the flash bulb that fires when you press the shutter release

A trigger on the camera uses radio waves to tell the receiver to fire the light. The power pack stores the power used to make the exposure.


In studio photography, we put modifiers on the flash heads to change the quality of the lights. Two basic categories of modifiers are:

  1. Softboxes- these spread and diffuse the light. The light hits the subject from many directions making the shadows softer.
  2. Grids – these concentrate and focus the light. The light hits the subject from one direction making the light harsher and the shadows sharper.


Lab 4: Stuffed Animals


HW 4: Something Near and Something Far

Week 3 – Light Quality and Direction

Next week

Bring a small stuffed animal approximately 6 to 9 in high to photograph.

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

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.

Direct Light and Direction

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

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

Back light – light comes from behind the subject and aims towards the camera.


Lab 3: Lighting Direction


Hw 3: The Power of Ten

Class Schedule

Feb 21: Please bring a small stuffed animal

Feb 28 – No class. CUNY Monday.

March 6: Field Trip to the Oculus and Lower Manhattan

Week 2 – Composition: The Frame

The Frame

Cropping: how much information is in the frame

  • a long shot

Toktogul Reservoir, Kyrgyzstan. 2021. Photographer: Anush Babajanyan

  • a medium shot

Photographer: Ralph Pace

  • a close up

Fashion Week, New York. 2023. Photographer: Dina Livitsky

  • an extreme close up

Photographer: Aaron Siskind

Angle of View:  describes the camera position in relationship to the subject. The angle of view may be:

  • a worm’s-eye view
  • a low-angle
  • Eye-level

Photo by Mel D. Cole

  • a high-angle
  • a bird’s-eye or aerial or overhead view
  • oblique angle
Tram on Sukharevsky Boulevard, 1928. Alexander Rodchenko.

Angle of View Examples By Alexander Rodchenko

Lab: Week 2 – Composition

HW 2: Hula Hoops

Week 1 – Photographic Composition

Next Week

Bring in a single shoe to photograph. it can be anything from a worn flip flip to the latest Jordans. You will photograph it in class.

Compositional Principals

  1. Rule of Thirds – Instead of placing the main subject in the center of the frame, divide the frame into thirds horizontally and vertically and place the main subject at one of these intersections.

Graduation, 1949. Harlem, NY. Photographer: Roy De Carava

Dehli, India. Photographer: Rohit Vohra

2. Leading Lines – lines in the photograph that lead the eye to the main subject

Whitnel Cotton Mfg. Co. N.C. December 1908. Photographer: Lewis Hine

3. Diagonals – Sloping lines

THAILAND. Bangkok. 2005. Photographer: Steve McCurry

4. Frame within a frame

Photographer: Eugene Smith

5. Figure to Ground -the relationship between the subject and the background sometimes described as negative and positive space.

Delhi, India. Photographer: Rohit Vohra

6. Fill the Frame – get closer. Never plan to crop later.

Mother. 1924. Photographer: Alexander Rodchenko

7. Patterns – repeated elements. Break the pattern for visual interest

Bed-Stuy. Photographer: George Steinmetz

8. Symmetry – If you fold the image in half the two haves are very similar and have equal visual weight.

From “A House is not a Home”, Photographer: Laila Annmarie Stevens


Advice from Rohit Vohra

In-class Lab Exercise

Lab 1 – Composition


HW1 – Composition

Food Photography

It could feature different types of food illuminated by natural sunlight in various settings, capturing the warmth and richness of both the food and the sunlight. Each photograph could tell a story of freshness, vibrancy, and the connection between nature’s light and the beauty of food.

Final Project Statement

The theme of my project is people and their instruments; music. My life has been and continues to be surrounded by music and every time I play with my band it is such an amazing feeling. The sounds, the looks, the vibes, the moment altogether it is a source of happiness. That is what I want to capture and show, I want the viewer to see the emotions and the moments between a person and their instrument. This theme is perfect as I have people I can work with and am comfortable with to photograph. I have a sister who is talented in many instruments and has these instruments so I hope to photograph her and I can gather my bandmates for a session to be able to capture them with their instruments and be able to experiment all types of shots, angles, etc. Through the city there are always performers/musicians out and about whether it is in the streets, subways, tunnels, parks. You can find them just by listening, which is the best part. I will also be walking around either before or after my classes taking advantage that I take the train and use my free day to capture different moments throughout the day. Music is man’s greatest creation in my opinion, and such people are gifted with it, it is amazing how easily it can bring people together which I hope to capture as well dancers, smiles, spectators/onlookers, it should be more centered around people and their gifts, with music being the center of it all. For techniques I hope to use close ups, filling the frame, medium shots, freezing and blurring motions and different angles like worm view, with the instrument being the subject and the person being blurred in the background or being far away.

Lab 12 – Outdoor portraits

Take portraits in three ways:

  1. Start with a reflector. Have your model stand with the sun to their back. The sun is the separation light and will create a lovely rim light around the subject. Use the reflector to reflect light back into their face. Hold the reflector higher for a more pleasing result.

2. Then with the subject still with their back to the sun, use flash to brighten the model’s face. Use the flash on camera at a relatively low setting such as 1/64. You don’t want to cast any shadows on the face just brighten it.

3. Bounce the flash off the reflector onto the subject’s face. You will need to raise the power of the flash.

Use the shooting mode manual and the widest aperture (smallest number) for shallow depth of field. You may need to use a fast shutter speed to compensate. When using flash, make sure to set it to High Speed Sync (HSS) in order to be able to use a shutter speed faster than the sync speed.

Make sure to photograph everyone in your group, not just one person. Put your 20 best outdoor portraits in an album on Flickr and send the best two to the class .

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