Artificial Lighting- Seminar

Artificial Lighting Seminar

(Brian Larkman)

Brian opened the seminar with a PowerPoint presentation showing us examples of artificial lighting used within photography- particularly the subject of portraits. We looked at iconic portraits of famous people such as Marilyn Monroe which displayed her in an ‘unhappy light’.

He then explained how we could do our own tutorial of this practice using home made methods using the equipment we already have at our disposal such as: the camera, its flash, paper, other paper (silver) acts as a mirror- reflects onto subject to enhance certain areas.

Brian went on to ask if he could see some of the groups work from the previous week and also any of the work for the ‘Markets’ project using aperture. He looked at my work and told me I had some good, strong photographs but due to my absence hadn’t understood that the project had focussed on using aperture and depth of field to focus on one main thing using the technical aspects of a camera.

We then focussed on the presentation he had put together to inform and instruct us on the technical outlets of the camera-


Additional Lighting

Required if:

  • Light is too dull
  • Colour tone is wrong
  • Too much contrast
  • Direction is wrong

Can add extra light by using:

  • Reflectors
  • Flash
  • Studio lighting

Examples of lighting and filling light:

  • Professional ambient light
  • Reflectors

Quality affects to nature of the light

Size- the amount of light required


  • Can be used to create a fill light in a scene.
  • ambient light | fill in flash guide



guide to using flash:

  • Understand the rang limits
  • Don’t shoot too close
  • Avoid reflective surfaces


Brian followed from this to give us informative tips and methods to enable us to technically understand how a camera works with regards to artificial lighting and how to set up our camera correctly.



  • Continuous
  • Flash
  • Tungsten- got ‘sexist’ names- red head, blonde. Cheap and easy to work with. Not as bright, get hot, not adjustable and give colour cast.
  • Fluorescent- daytime colour, expensive
  • Consistent colour, cool and bright, large, expensive, heavy.


  • Main light
  • Fill light
  • Rembrant lighting- uses main light source from one side- basic form of lighting
  • 90 degree lighting – more ‘masculine’ favoured lighting for photographing portraits of men generally ‘rugged’ lighting.
  • Back lighting- Light source from the back and also the front creates a shadow/silhouette effect for a portrait.



Take a series of photographs which make use of natural/artificial light. These should be based on the theme “Halloween” should be 10-15 images supported by reflective journal.

From this, as a group we went onto a ‘light’ exercise. This consisted of:

on campus, find a scene that requires additional light, take photos of it. Decide how best to add extra light (Flash, reflector, light source) and set it up. Try several variations and take shots.

I firstly created my own light diffuser to cover my flash out of white paper, I tested this out which proved to take some of the power out of the light, making the photographs less bright and more exposed in general.

I begun this task by focussing on quick portraits done in the seminar room using both lighting from the window and also artificial light with a homemade diffuser with the camera. This task proved to be quite interesting, as I mainly work with my camera without using flash, but now from using a diffuser I would consider it now.

Here are some of the shots from the task:

Me with the silver paper (reflectors)















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