Large Format Photo

WARNING Strobe lights may cause epileptic seizures. If you are epileptic, please drop the course.


Light sample chapter

Studio Photography essential skills
John Child


Light: Science and Magic, Any Edition
An Introduction to Photographic Lighting 3 ed
By Steven Biver, Paul Fuqua and Fil Hunter

Recommended Readings: ASMP Professional Business Practices in Photography (Sixth Ed.), PDN, Photoserve,
Photographic Lighting: Essential Skills Third Edition ISBN: 0-240-51964-7
Studio Photography: Essential Skills Third Edition
ISBN: 0-240-51979-5
Focal Press
Course Objectives:   To introduce students to professional photographic lighting and the range of cameras utilized in studio photography. The student should become proficient in lighting, camera handling, and creative thinking. The entire course will be created from your imagination and not found. You will begin with an empty studio and construct your projects from scratch.

Read the studio conduct handout

Be prompt for class.  Anyone arriving more than ten minutes past the start of class will be counted as absent.  Three lates equal one absence.  Three absences constitute a failure for the entire course.
Homework assignments must be ready for grading on time.  Every class an assignment is late will count as a full grade markdown. If you are absent, I must see your assignment the following class. All of the work you submit for grading must be your own. You may not download images, annimations, or any other material/graphics/text off of the web. As well, you may not scan material from books or magazines to use in your assignments. Any assignment containing any such material will automatically receive a failing grade. I may request evidence of your creative process - therefore, save and have available any source material that you produced - photographs, sketches, items that you scanned, etc, as well as any intermediate digital files. By doing so, you protect yourself from undue scrutiny.
Papers: do not plagarize your work. The bulk of your papers must be your own words/thoughts. You may quote source material, but this may not comprise more than 20% of your paper. You must provide footnotes and a bibliography if you reference any outside sources. If I catch you plagarizing, you will automatically fail the entire course.
***Please send me an email at with your name and the course for which you are registered in the subject line so that I have a way of contacting you if necessary.  


10% Oral presentation
25 % Weekly assignments & Weekly assignments for second Timers & 3rd Timers DESIRE assignment
10% Lighting Log / visual diary
15% Scheimpflug Large format assignment
40% Final Portfolio of semester long self directed project as discussed in class

see supplies list
 Links of interest:

100 photo tuts
Videos of Studio techniques -

strobist lighting 101

Premade Photoshop icons

weekly reading/assignment
Week 1

 Intro supplies studio etiquette & safety

Examples slide show

Imaging Chain review

Coiling cables

Bring in at least 10 examples of studio photography that you are interested in.

Bring in examples of your previous work that you are proud of.

Choose your favorite beverage or create your own. Make an image of it looking appealing (sugested approaches: splash, underlight, lifestyle with sexy people consuming it, Beauty shot of packaging)

Week 2

The art and Physics of light lighting demo
Hard soft direction quality color temperature
Characteristics of Light:

Self directed proposals due Next Class

Photograph the thing and its opposite

Light modifier assignment due in 2 weeks

Week 3

 The Portrait Portrait lighting demo

3 point lighting

studio cameras

Yousuf Karsh's official website
Karsh on wikipedia

Week 4


The still life

Light modifier crit


Photograph an egg on the product table.
There must be details in the entire egg. It must "feel" round and eggshell textured.
Week 5  Crit
Portrait, Beverage, thing and its oppostie, and at least 5 of the weekly assignments

Bring a portrait, A still life, your egg images, Beverage shoot and your light modoifier assignment.

photograph a standar incandescent 60 watt light bulb twice
- 1 image with the bulb off showing all details and the bulb must remain white 1 image with the bulb on showing the filament and the text on the top
The bulb must remain white at all times!

Week 6

Photograph a splash

Week 7  Digital Daze - Basic Photo editing and RAW format  
Week 8  Crit all of oyur weekluy assignments are due. Bring the light bulb imagery as well.
Week 9 Reflective objects and flatware Photograph Red
Week 10 Digital Daze - Printing  
Week 11 Oral Presentations  
Week 12 Proessional development and jobs  
Week 13 Open session probably the Law and Photography  
Week 14 Final Crit Portfolio of at least 15 images printed and presented professionally. NO LATE WORK ACCEPTED  Each image should have a lighting diagram
Week 15 Portfolio return  
Key Concepts:
Inverse Square rule of light
Lighting ratios
Scheimpflug principle
Does light act like a particle or a wave?
Continuous vs Strobe light
Color temperature of light and White Balance
Hard vs Soft light
Filter Factors
undue bellows extension
shooting flat art
egg on white & Coal on black
Example Photographers
joyce tenneson
catherine Chalmers
becher robbins
Clark et Pouugnard
James Casebere
light drawing
Highly colorful image to see how light refelcts onto its neighbors eg Lipsticks or Paints
Shiny stuff eg flatware or jewelry not macro yet Tenting
portrait formal and location (in the art department)
Still life
elaborate set
Multiple image eg two shots combined into one.
Exposure and Light Meters
Intensity and duration
Hand-held light meters
Taking a hand-held meter reading
TTL light meters
Interpreting the meter reading
Contrast and Compensation
Exposure compensation
Sensitivity and Image Capture
Choosing a capture medium
Push and pulling film
Cross processing effect
Filter categories
Filter factors
Choice of flash
Guide numbers
Flash as the primary light source
Diffusion and bounce
Flash as a key light
Slow-sync flash
The Zone System
Zone placement
Contrast control
The zones
Operating the system
Calibration tests
Perfecting the system
Health and safety
Light sources
Mixed light sources
Working with studio lights
Lighting ratios
Lighting Techniques
Still Life
Mixed Lighting
Creative Techniques
Illusion of movement

Current commercial practice; Advertising illustration; Still life; Portraiture; Commercial portraiture; Fashion; Context; Format; Content;
Balance; Composition; Point of view; Line; Depth; Perspective; Art Direction; Layouts; Framing the image; Lenses; Light sources; Equipment detail; Organisation Light; ; Artificial light; Characteristics of light; Aperture and time; Light meter; Using the light meter; Lighting ratios; Interpreting the meter reading; Exposure compensation; Creative exposure compensation; Gallery; Image Capture; Introduction; Choosing a capture medium; Limitations; Latitude; Push and pull; Cross processing; Creative Controls; Focus; Depth of field; Selective focus; Preview; Duration of exposure; Perspective; Flash; Tungsten; Diffusion; Reflection; Filtration; Mixed light sources for Photo Assistants: Working as a First Assistant
Throughout my years photo assisting, some of the most valuable lessons I've learned have been while working as a first assistant.
Tilt shift architecture
Mole release info