OK, so Try This On

Lighting 001: a “class”.

Some feedback I’m getting on a recent project has moved me to make one of the key results available to others, so that you can take your photography to a next level. Your price?: Whatever you put into the followup “assignment”. I’ll also ask only that, should you have feedback or meaningful results, I’d really like to hear about it, either in comments on this post, or via email or links to images you’ve made out of implementing this little Audio/Visual combo.

Part, the First:

Guided Imagery has become a powerful and effective tool in all sorts of endeavors where enhanced results are desired. Athletes and executives are using them to become more effective;  in healthcare fields healing is given a boost. I began using the idea in teaching lighting, years ago. While I cannot measure the results, those who have taken advantage of the recording I’m posting here are saying that they are experiencing light in new ways and it’s showing up in their new images.

This application of guided imagery (also called guided meditation) is, maybe, a little different. Instead of imagining making the perfect golf stroke or creating fat round red blood cells, this will be a journey to the part of yourself that knows more about light and lighting than you may already consciously command. We are:

A) certainly seeing and manipulating light in our homes, and other places,

B) while sometimes thinking that we need to know dedicated photographic lighting techniques before we can begin to master light in our pictures.

My “come from”, in making this guided imagery, is that we access the intuitive and/or semi-conscious awareness we already have of light, and with the second of this pair of tools, have that awareness show up in our photos. Only with a conscious awareness of light.. really seeing it, if you will.. are we empowered to use the gear effectively. Formulae and “how to” videos are great tools, no question about that; this is an attempt to engage one’s imagination, and eyes (both inner and outer) before one’s technique. With awareness, practice, and good old fashioned paying attention, we will see lighting well using continuous lighting sources, yes, but also previsualize the lighting we want. That way, when using strobist-style lighting, we already have a clue where to start. Another benefit may be that you can begin to create lighting that isn’t naturally there without so much experimentation, first.

Here’s an audio file of the Guided Imagery

Part Too:

Here’s the Assignment (learned, originally, from a pivotal photography teacher for me, Sean Kernan)

Make photographs, where light is the subject of the photograph.

Shoot at least a card full of pictures in a session, so that you are not giving yourself time to overthink it. Avoid previsualizing ideas, or judging the opportunities as they come to you while you’re out shooting with the assignment in mind.  Find and react to light, and take its picture. One of the first thoughts that come to the minds of many is “isn’t Any photograph about light?”. Well, technically, maybe 98% (excluding x-rays, sonograms, etc) are about light, yeah. In this case, however, let your inner papparazzi treat light, itself, as the Star, instead of as Best Supporting Role.


Published by

Wayne Upchurch

For years, as a “professional ogler” (a newspaper staff photographer), I simultaneously explored photography as craft/process/medium in its own right. The photojournalism work –credentials and mindset– got me into (and out of) places I would certainly never have had access to on my own. I was also practicing the discipline of getting a picture where there didn’t appear to be one and getting it Finished in a timely manner, to professional standards. I also learned to create imminently readable images despite poor reproduction in a small size. Though it took me several years to get this, the value of making photos that illustrated something already laid out in the story was suddenly Not Enough, and I began to make assignment pictures that added dimensions not already in the writing, or better Yet, raised questions so that the reader would go to the story for more answers. Having gained more than dreamt of, when starting out, I left to pursue my own personal photography, mounting exhibits along the way. I also worked with commercial photographer friends doing studio product photography, and making headshots for actors. Later, I also helmed a Public Radio “spacemusic” program, and acted in a Wilmington, NC drama company. I put the cameras away for a few years, to finish shedding the habit of self-limiting my identity as just “Photographer”, and can now pursue personal pleasure and expression through the freedom that digital imaging offers. Sharing photos on Flickr and participating locally in meetups and outings has renewed a passion for making new images and for sharing the process with others. For some time, I’ve found myself writing detailed comments on other people’s photos, as well as thoughts and pet ideas about photography, in general.

4 thoughts on “OK, so Try This On”

  1. You’re good at this. Your voice works.

    I’m so ADD that I may not make it all the way through, but I love the idea of putting this on my iPhone and having it with me. I’ll definitely be sharing this one.

  2. Well imaged! “….let your inner paparazzi treat light, itself, as the Star, instead of as Best Supporting Role.”

    Would enjoy seeing more samples on the left part of the web page.

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