After 4 years of college, 9 semesters, 111 credit hours and just about my entire BFA in photography completed, I finally received a weekly photography assignment worth the effort. Okay, maybe I am exaggerating a little bit. However, I really feel like this most recent lighting assignment was very beneficial and thought out for what the class was.

All the studio lighting classes I have taken at Columbia have been the most effective at helping me grow and evolve my skills as a photographer. I personally feel as if lighting is one of the most important parts of a photograph. The way an image is light can effectively tell your story, portray a feeling and mood or just simply draw attention to something you want your viewers to notice.

In all of my studio lighting classes I have been given an assignment to take photographs outdoors using natural light and then to take photographs in the studio with hot lights or strobes. Each set of images whether in the studio or outdoors should portray one different kind of light; direct, diffused and bounced. Now I am enrolled in an advanced studio lighting course. New semester, New projects. Our first assignment was to take three photographs with natural light; direct sun light, diffused light on a cloudy day, and then daylight through a window, (all photographs I have taken a hundred time before.) However, the second part of the assignment was to then recreate this natural light in a controlled studio environment with strobes. It is a pretty simple concept right? Why have I not done this before?!

I love lighting; I have studied, practiced and experimented with different types of lighting and combinations of light. But I feel like I never really looked at lighting in this sort of light. No pun intended. (Okay, maybe a little one.) This assignment has really helped me notice little things even more like catch lights in the eyes, how sharp the shadow edge is when it meets a highlight, and DOF. I feel even more in control of my images while photographing with controlled lighting. I love being able to make the controllable look uncontrollable.

Besides my photography is all about tricking the eye. 😉

Here’s is one type of light I was practicing with;

Above image is daylight through a window, while the bottom photograph is recreating that natural lighting with strobes.

This is a great experiment for all photographers to try out. Have fun with it.

xo, JA