Workshop: Lighting and Composition


Taught by Dr Les walking
29-30 November 2014
Centre for Contemporary Photography, Fitzroy

This introductory weekend course presents a systematic approach to understanding, managing and creatively working with light, both natural and artificial, 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

  • 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
  • Aerial perspective versus linear perspective

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 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.

More info at the Centre for Contemporary Photography