Centre for Contemporary Photography

Lighting and Composition 17-18 September 2016

This intermediate weekend course is all about ‘seeing’, creating and understanding how images ‘think’, misbehave and ‘emote’. It combines the sophisticated craft of photography, cinema, and theatre lighting with studies in the history and theory of composition and pictorial design through featured studio and natural lighting techniques, tools and artistic strategies. It presents a systematic approach to understanding, managing and creatively working with light and the elements and principles of pictorial design.  Light is measured, interpreted, and mixed while objects are arranged, shaped and composed.  The aim is to establish the essential skills and critical distinctions needed to effectively and creatively light, compose and represent different content and contexts.  Topics covered include: 


Modes of Representation

•  Aerial perspective versus linear perspective

•  Notan, Chiaroscuro and lines of separation

•  High Key and Low Key lighting

•  Broad lights, spot lights and focused lights

•  Soft lights and hard lights, warm lights and cool lights


Lighting Composition

•  Basic Light and Contour Light 

•  Semi-Silhouette Light

•  Dynamic Light and Plastic Light

•  Key lights, fill lights, shaping light, and lighting ratios 

•  Breaking rules and redefining expectations


The Structure of Images

•  Decisive moments and effective compositions

•  Drawing Composition - The relationships within the image

•  Tonal Composition - The drama of the image

•  Colour Composition - The mood of the image

•  Spatial Composition - Our relationship to the image


The Elements and Principles of Pictorial Design

•  Line, direction, size, shape, texture, tone and colour

•  The nature of light, shade, and shadow

•  Proportion, opposition, dominance and contrast

•  Unity, repetition, variety and selection

•  Rhythm, harmony and balance


The course is based around a series of practical demonstrations, historical investigations, critical analysis and real world imaging solutions.  Photographic, cinematic and theatrical lighting equipment, technologies and styles along with visual compositions from the history of cinema, theatre and visual art are examined, analysed, explained, replicated and applied to create a robust, innovative and responsive compositional and lighting practice.  Detailed course notes are provided.

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