Week 3: Light

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The Greek roots of the word photography are "photos" (meaning light) and "graphé" (meaning drawing). Taken together photography means "drawing with light." In this week, we will investigate light.


Observe difference between various light sources (LED, tungsten, fluorescent, available light) as well as the effect of bounced light, shadows, and reflective / transmitted light.

What You’ll Need

  • SLR camera with interchangeable lens capacity
  • 105 macro lens
  • Tripod
  • Your camera's software and cable to view images on your computer
  • An additional lighting source

Course Videos

Video 11: An Introduction

Video 12: Fluorescence

Video 13: Use Your Imagination


  • Find an image of a small object (in a magazine or online), scan or clip the image, use drawing tools to indicate on the image where you think the light sources are positioned.
  • Take an image of your object in daylight and label it image 1. Then add a secondary light source and label it image 2.
  • Comment on them. Your comments should:
    • Describe the differences
    • Indicate where the shadow(s) lie
    • Make a determination which image is more effective and explain why

Optional Assignments

Take an image of your object with a direct light source and then use a white card to bounce the light (remember to keep exposure accurate) and take another image.

Think creatively about an unusual lighting method to photograph your object and take a picture. How did the unusual light source impact the photo? Did you learn anything about lighting?

Visual Index

This resource may not render correctly in a screen reader.Week 3 Visual Index (PDF)

Summing Up

Week 3 Summary (PDF)

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