EYV Exercise 4.4 Ex nihilo

The brief for this exercise is to use a combination of quality, contrast, direction and colour, to light an object in order to reveal its form.

I am new to studio lighting and to thinking about taking control over the light in an image. However, I had a few attempts at this exercise to try to understand the impact of my decisions about light on my final images. I first selected natural stones as my subject and, using a combination of a hard bright sunlight, a mirror to reflect light back at the subject, and my phone torch, I experimented with exposing shape and texture.

I was surprised at the different effects created by changing the direction and quality of the light. These two images are very different. The stones in the first picture appear crescent shaped. In contrast, in the second image, the shape is more fully exposed and rounder since a fill light from the top has removed the deep shadows.



I attempted this exercise again using a different subject and without the strong natural sunlight of my first attempt. Here are a few images (taken with my phone camera) showing my studio set-up.




I used my A3 white sketch book as a preferred background though I experimented with black as an alternative. I used my remote to prevent camera movement when pressing the shutter since a fairly long exposure was needed. I used the under-cupboard light in my kitchen to provide a downward facing light, an angle-poise light for directional lighting from the right side and a dark towel to prevent unintended light from the left. I experimented with different white balance settings with the idea that a warm light would emphasise the ‘hotness’ of the chillies and adjusted the desk lamp, tilting it forwards to erase shadows. My aim at the time was to try to produce a still life image  with minimal shadow. Here are some of my images:

chilli-5 chilli-4 chilli-1

Here are sketches of my lighting set up:










I made a third attempt. The egg images below show the effect of highlighting the subject from behind as well as above. In the second image, light from more than one source has eliminated most of the shadow. In the first image, I turned off the additional side light creating more obvious shadows and changing the appearance of the shape of the eggs.

_dsc3961_0845 _dsc3962_0846

In this final image, below, I created hard shadows through the use of a small front light. This emphasised the flower, creating an interesting shadow behind, but left the rest of the image dark.


Overall, an interesting exercise. Lessons learned are to address white balance and colour more thoroughly – my egg photos are particularly inconsistent, and, in order to fulfil the brief more accurately, to consider differing viewpoint to create unique shots.


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