EBick Sample Syllabus



Course Description:

This is a lecture/workshop course designed to equip students with a working knowledge of the techniques used to control light. Skills acquired in this course are applicable to working with both image making in studio and on location. Class instruction will include slide and video presentations, lectures, discussions, demonstrations and critiques of works in progress. Students will work, hands-on, in and outside of class to complete assignments in teams and individually. 

This course is an introduction to the principles and vocabulary of lighting. We will explore still life, portrait, and movement photography techniques.  Students will work in groups both in and out of class time. 

Topics covered include principles of lighting, light metering, continuous lighting, mixed lighting, strobe lighting, portable lighting on-location, use of modifiers, producing a shoot, posing models, working with clients, creating vision-boards and lighting diagrams, ultimately creating a signature light for ones own work that creates emphasis to the meaning behind it.  


Student Learning Outcomes:

Students will be able to:

- Shoot tethered with a digital SLR 

- Use studio flash and continuous lighting equipment

- Use Adobe Lightroom to shoot, organize and process images

- Compile an appropriate equipment list suitable for a particular photographic task

- Analyze the lighting in an existing photograph and plan a set up that replicates it

- Plan and execute photographic tasks such as they may encounter in a broad spectrum of creative careers



-Introductions / Syllabus overview

-Selection of teams

-Set-up of online visual diary accounts and look at previous student work

-Introduction lecture to studio light / reading and controlling light

-Intro to workflow for the semester: creating visual mood boards, lighting diagrams, preparation leading up to a shoot, choosing appropriate lighting and metering, verbal communication and working in teams during shoot, final selection of images, refining in post-production

-Demo: Tethering as a tool for the semester, processing and archiving images


Assignment: Read text passed out in class.  Send me links to your mood board accounts so I can follow them throughout the semester for grading.  


Photograph one object with hard light and with soft light without moving the object.  Use a flashlight, natural light, white reflective materials, or any available incandescent light.  Submit digital images and a lighting diagram before the beginning of next class.  Be prepared to explain your process to the class. 


Bring in 3 objects for still life work.  They should be different shapes and sizes but look complementary together.  They should not be reflective or transparent.  Each student brings in 3 objects.  



-We will review your hard and soft light studies and diagrams  

-Describing light: Brightness, color, contrast

-Objects and surfaces: Transmission, absorption, and reflection

-Color temperature / white balance

Demo: Basic Principles and introduction to Tungsten light.  Available tungsten equipment, table-top set up, making a still life with hard dramatic light, and soft delicate light using hot lights, using a light meter.

In-class workshop: work in your team to make pictures of your objects that use light to convey two opposite moods (bright/dark, hard/soft, moody/stark)


-Select, edit, and submit your pictures from our class workshop as a group (3-5).  

-Make a simple still life on your own using hot lights.  Submit digital images and a lighting diagram before the beginning of next class.  

Bring 3-5 objects to class that best represent you, as well as a selected “backdrop”.  Can be a cloth, wrapping paper, newsprint, so long as it will be big enough to serve as a backdrop for a tabletop still life. 

-Make a visual mood board of 5 inspiration images.  Be prepared to share your materials and your mood board to your team.



We will review your plan for your shoot, and discuss how to refine research and preparation for a shoot, communication to your team, setting yourself up for success.


-Introduction to strobe lights, and modifiers for lighting: V flats, flags, reflectors, scrims, fill, umbrellas, etc

-Light metering for strobe

Workshop: Still life as self-portrait

3 groups of 4 students each will be split into the roles of Photographer, Assistant (general and digital, also prepares presentations), Tethering tech, and Art Director (client and props). You will rotate jobs with each successive exercise.


-Select, edit, and submit your pictures from our class workshop as a group (3-5).  Complete the group in-class assignment if necessary.  Bring in one black object, one white object, and one transparent object to class.  Make a visual mood board of 6-10 inspiration images of a black on black, white on white, or transparent objects photographed as a still life.  



We will look at the team still life work created and finalized from the last class.

Demonstration:  Strobe equipment

-Introduction to soft box modifiers, when to chose one and for what purpose to get desired effect

-Introduction to use of plexiglass, and other strobe lighting techniques for still life  

Workshop:  White on White / Black on Black / Transparent on plexi



-Select, edit, and submit your pictures from our class workshop as a group (3-5).  

-Make one of the three image themes from class on your own without a team (can work in pairs for efficiency, so long as the image is your authorship) 

-Make a visual mood board of portraits of women and of men, that are 3/4 pictures.  

-Make a selection of 10 images on your online platform.  Be ready to discuss your choices.  Prepare to bring in any props, clothing, models (you can discuss with me) or backdrops that will fulfill your vision for the shoot.  Discuss your ideas with your team and rotate roles. 



We will review assignment images, visual mood boards, and diagrams.

We will review plans and mood boards for our portrait focus. 


-Discuss 3 point lighting: Key, Fill, Hair, and correct portrait lenses

-Discuss beauty dish, reflectors for portrait 

-Discuss engaging with your subject, how to chose poses, how to direct your subject well


We will practice photographing each other in teams of 4, divided as model, photographer, lighting person, and art director.  We will practice 5 versions of 3 point lighting. 


-Select, edit, and submit your pictures from our class workshop as a group (3-5).  

-Make a visual mood board of 10 images of women and men that are full body portraits.  Study the poses and how you would like to direct your model with these poses.  

-Bring in 2-3 lighting diagrams that convey the lighting you would like. 


-Prepare to bring any props, and clothing to fulfill the vision of your shoot. Discuss your ideas with your team.  

-Make one 3/4 portrait with your choice of a 3-point lighting set up shown in class.  Make a lighting diagram of your set-up.



We will review 3/4 portraits made and lighting diagrams.

We will review plans and mood boards for our full body portrait focus. 


-High Key v. Low Key light 

-Posing for full body, directing your model, working with both a plan and spontaneity, directing your team


We will divide into teams and make full body portraits, concentrating on lighting, posing, styling, and communicating.  


-Select, edit, and submit your pictures from our class workshop as a group (3-5).  

-Make a portrait that represents your developing style and vision.  You can use continuous or strobe lighting, but must be done in studio.  Make a lighting diagram.  

-Gather together 10 movement images made in studio as references.  Be prepared to share in class. 



We will review plans and mood boards for our movement workshop.  

Demo:  Movement workshop with lighting, how to still movement, or blur it depending on vision

Speedlight usage: Stroboscopic technique, Rear Curtain sync


We will divide into teams and make pictures of stilling movement, stroboscopic movement, and rear curtain sync movement. 


-Select, edit, and submit your pictures from our class workshop as a group (3-5).  

-Make a visual mood board of on location pictures *that are possible to recreate near school, whether it is outside, in the hallways, etc*.  

-Put together 10 pictures as visual references.  Make 5 pictures of location scouting of vignettes you would like to use (can be iphone pictures). 



We will review plans and mood boards for our on-location workshop

Demo: Speedlight flash and portable lighting solutions-how to feel in control of any lighting situation and make quick decisions for problem solving.  

Workshop:  We will divide into groups and make pictures with artificial/natural light on location.  Can be portraits, still life, or architectural.  You will review your mood boards, and make a plan (location to be approved by me).  You must try at least two different lighting variations.


-Select, edit, and submit your pictures from our class workshop as a group (3-5).  

-Make 3-5 on location pictures, using one of the portable lighting solutions practiced in class.  



Open workshop day – I will meet with you individually to discuss your progress and what is needed for your final, and assist with any lighting/printing/editing needs.  You can organize your own shoot for this day as well on campus.



Final review.  We will look at all the work made and celebrate.  


Bring in 10 final prints, minimum size 8x10 inches of a collection of pictures that is a cohesive body of work from the semester.  You will be assessed for your technical precision, continuity, presentation, clarity of verbal communication, and enthusiasm!  Works shown can be made in or out of assignments this semester, but they must be: your pictures (not made in a team), made with some form of controlled lighting (not just a reflector), and be made THIS semester for THIS class only.