Light Control Basics, the class I teach at the Photographic Center NW, has a series of assignments beginning with available light, and progressing to a full studio strobe setup. Click on an image to enlarge it.
Here are some examples of the first assignment, “Window Light 360”. The model is about 8 – 10 ft from the window, and the photographer takes pictures of the model from all angles, with the model turning to face the photographer.
Assignment 2 is working with one or two “Wescott Spiderlites”: plug-in lights which use bulbs similar to compact fluorescents. Usually students use them with softboxes attached.
Assignment 3 is a test of ISO speed vs print quality. Since this is done with real prints, I am not including examples here.
Assignment 4 explores the difference between “hard” and “soft” light, also called specular and diffuse light. It also introduces the hot lights, with Lowell quartz halogen lights.
Assignment 5 tests lighting ratios. We are using continuous lights (Spiderlites or Lowell lights), but this can also be done with strobes. We are describing the ratios in terms of the relative brightness of the the two lights measured from the subject’s position.
Assignment 6 introduces studio-style strobes, which have both a powerful flash for the photography and a modeling light so you can anticipate what the flash is going to look like. In this case, we are using Wescott Strobelights, which are monolights (also called monoblocks); each unit is plugged individually into the wall. These photos were taken in the Daylight Studio, upstairs at the Photo Center.
Assignment 7: Strobe Systems. Our Light Control class continues with the Speedotron systems in Studio 1 and Studio 2. These set-ups use multiple strobe heads plugged into a single power pack. These are our most versatile lights.
Final Assignment: Student Choice. The final project can be done with any lighting equipment we have used in class. Students are asked to light a project in their own style.
Class Projects: The ninth class of the course is usually devoted to a group project photographing PCNW. All these photos use a mixture of studio lights and existing light, except for the library shot which was done all with studio strobes.