Photography- understanding balance and lighting




Conánn took us through the basics of photography today, allowing us to understand the balance between IOS, Aperture and Shutter Speed. It was really useful for me as I struggle with the technical understanding behind photography- and how visualizing the balance between all three elements.

We then watched a video by Peter Hurley, discussing how to ‘Illuminate the Face.” Between the many “guys” and “dudes” he demonstrated the position of light sources, the strength of them and then extra elements that can be used. Things like the ‘inexpensive’ umbrellas that could be used. He also stressed the importance in the difference of lighting for men and women. Men can take a lot harsher shadows due to stronger jaw lines and facial structures, whereas women need softer elements

Images courtesy of Peter Hurley.



Vincent Bousserez- Composition Photography

When considering composition for our photography task I was really influenced by the work of Vincent Bousserez. Bousserez conveys a tiny world within ours, mini figurines living lives on items that we deem ordinary.

In my own photos, I kept some of these mini people in my pocket for when inspiration might strike. I found I liked incorporating them into natural scenes, like shrubbery and flowers.


Above are some of my favourite photos by Bousserez.

After this research, I went to take my own photos. I started by placing the little mini people in natural environment. I then moved into posing them more- experimenting with placing them in groups, oblivious to the large world around them.



Light photography- inspiration

After taking quite a few images of sunsets and light through trees- I wanted to try something new.
Caitlin Collins had uploaded some of her photos on Facebook for a one direction concert- but they were of the lights. She said she spun the camera, allowing for the blur, and then used a slow shutter speed to achieve this.

I had a look at Rick Doble’s tutorials on how to achieve this like work –  
The above three are Caitlin’s images – take at a One Direction concert.

 My attempts at replicating this method.

I went for more of a horizontal movement- to give the look of progression as if walking on.

Photography explored..

After Conánn’s talk, I wanted to explore what each of the six categories actually meant for photography, to make it easier when setting up shots.

Depth of field is distance that causes intense sharpness in an image, this varies depending on the aperture, camera type and focus. This occurs in the eyes too, as objects either in the foreground of background become focused and unfocused. This process occurs in a gradient however, and not as one harsh motion. The billiard balls below show this gradient from focus to unfocused.

Photo courtesy of

Composition is another pinical area, theories such as ‘the rule of thirds’ which was explained to us and leading lines all come from this idea. Composition is the layout of the photograph, how and where items are positioned, changing the feel of a piece, just like the Penguins Conann drew. This article was really good in providing tips for composition, such as keeping it simple and filling the frame.

Photo courtesy Charlotte Groom. 

The light house above sits on the right third,with frames from the window and building touching the upper and lower horizontal thirds.

Tonality, which I had no idea about, refers to the contrast of images, This gives an image the feeling of weight and lightness/darkness of a piece.This can be applied to both black and white and colour photography. Colour photography opens the ball park further as the variety of colours can change how an object interacts with its shadows and the light around it. The image of the dog below almost looks angelic, the bright colours on the head a stand out against the cool background, instantly drawing our eye to the canine.

Photo courtesy of

Colour- This article gave me amazing advice for colour photography, and have used these tips previously. Colour is always present, but manipulating it correctly can give some of the most beautiful images. It can be used with the other aspects of the image like shape, form, texture, lines and light to give stark looks. In the case of the image below, the vibrant childish colours stand out amazingly against the dull tarmac. They work together without being overbearing, giving a youthful innocence to the image.

Photo courtesy of 

Texture in photography can demonstrate the beauty in smaller insignificant things. The wool on a jumper, cross hatch of a sieve, bark on a tree. It allows us to give another added dimension to a photo, and is one of my favourite things to play with. Field of depth, colour and textures work together in the images of the bricks below.

Photo courtesy of

Finally, light. Light can completely change the look and feel of a photograph, depending on its position, strength. It casts shadows, erases them, changes the tone with soft subtle tones to dark, woody tones. Light is another element I love in photography as its use is so vast and the outcomes completely different each time.

Photo courtesy of

Photography Masterclass

 Today Conánn gave us a brief master class on cinematography, introducing into concepts such as the ‘Rule of Thirds’ and ‘Leading Lines.’ The idea of this comes from the use of film in animation. Animation is all ‘shot on camera’ so to speak, each element is considered for a reason. For example, the beach scene in ‘Saving Private Ryan’ is filmed by a camera on a basketball, giving the motion of a hand held camera to allow a more personal view point. The film is underexposed, giving a more grainy, stylized look typical of the time.

With the help of a penguin and photoshop, Conánn showed us the purpose of set up in each frame. Placing a character to the left hand side of the screen gives a foreboding look, as if lost in a daydream thinking of his penguin family in the hard winter snow. A camera angle that looks at the penguin from below looks more intimidating, giving a larger bulkier look to the creature.

He also showed us this article on tips for setting up each shot, considering elements such as light and set-up itself. . He then asked us to think of the main points of focus for some of the photographs on his website. (

Art & Design Foundation art piece.

Light is a key element in this photo, the exposure creating a variety of shadows on this in face white sculpture. Photo courtesy of Conánn.

My kids under Foyle Bridge on a typically foggy day

“The advantages of twins,”- Conann. Symmetry gives a beautiful ascetic to both the bridge and pram. Photo courtesy of Conánn.

The purpose of this exercise is to assist us with a photography challenge due on the 3rd November. A total of 600 photos, one hundred from each of the categories below, as a beginning basis. These will then be wittled down to the top 25 for each category and then the final top 1 selected.

The categories; depth of field, composition, tonality, colour, texture and light.