Ralph Hattersley suggests learning lighting by painting objects white and shooting
them under different lighting conditions. This eliminates the differences in
colors which we seem to notice more and the different reflectance of each object.
You can start with eggs and some white objects around the house or paint some
white. Do use a tripod on the floor for your camera and put your objects on
the edge of a table. A large sheet of white paper can be curved up to provide
a "sweep" of "white limbo".
You can light the objects with a bare bulb or sunshine for "hard light" or for
"soft light" reflect light off a large piece of paper or sky light through a
You don't have to shoot film to study lighting, but can fine tune your exposure
skills by doing it. A video camera will give you instant results with less contrast
range recording ability than film.
If you are using a video camera with a black and white viewfinder you will get
a B-W image. If you are using a monitor or TV, turn the color down so you will
see brightness differences and not concentrate on the color. If you have a "S"
type camera you can take the luminance signal from 2 of the 4 wires out of the
camera's S plug and get a great B-W image on a monitor.
I highly recommend any of Ralph Hattersley's books that are around in used book
stores. I don't know if he is still alive. He is one of the best photo teachers
ever. Way back he had a monthly photo magazine column. He taught the basics.
© Copyright 1999-2004 Ron Dexter. All Rights Reserved.