Below is the feedback from my Tutor for my forth OCA TOAP assignment focusing on applying lighting techniques. The original submission can be seen here.
Elements to consider with your assignments:
This assignment asks you to draw together the different lighting techniques that you have been studying and apply them to one object. The idea is to use your new knowledge of lighting to bring our particular physical properties of the same object. It is also a test of your observation.
Your assignment in connection with the above points
You have used a guitar as subject matter for this assignment. This has worked well for you on a technical level, allowing you to move around with ease and to experiment with different lighting effects. Research on photographing musical instruments was a big help here, allowing you to think about creative ways of working with light to achieve your result.
As you recognize in these pictures, it is the outline of your subject that becomes relevant where shape is concerned. The first example is a little obscure, even given the knowledge that it is a guitar in the shot. Low key is a good idea here and helps to create interest, but maybe a little more light would create an image with a few more visual clues. The bright green backlighting works perfectly here, giving both a strong shape, and a pop culture impression to the result.
You seem to be a little pre-occupied with shadows in your pictures for form. Remember that the shadows themselves are flat. I would like to see you concentrating a lot more on creating volume and depth – and using light to accentuate the 3-D effect.
This is where shadows really can be helpful. Acute angles, both for the light source and for shooting can give a really strong impression of texture (surface) detail. The guitar strings, for instance, could benefit from an acute angle of shooting where we would be given a lovely impression of the surface of the guitar.
You have included a lovely example of texture here! The colour gels work well with this subject matter, helping to build on a sense of narrative in the pictures. The experimentation has worked well here. You could continue to explore the use of lighting gels, perhaps reflecting coloured light into smaller areas of the surface of the guitar.
Summary/ Pointers for future work
You have researched lighting of your subject appropriately and started to experiment to achieve creative results. You could continue to build on this work, to fine tune what you have started. For instance, the low key picture, Image 1, is still ‘work in progress’ which would be fun to conclude in a more positive way.
You are continuing to build on the research side of your work, and this is definitely the way to move forward. Think about including photography theory in your research as well as looking at techniques. Keep going with this work, exploring all possibilities and building up knowledge on the subject you are studying. Do look at some of the blogs of fellow students for help and ideas. You may find ‘Behind The Image’ (Anna Fox, Natasha Caruana) helpful in this respect. I would suggest that you read this and reflect on it in your learning logs.