Liz Orton / Project Diary / Queens Park Community School

Queen’s Park Community School Session 10

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We are lucky that Queen’s Park is well-resourced when it comes to photographic equipment, so we have been able to set up an impromptu portrait studio in the computer room. We blacked out the side and top windows to make it as authentic as possible. We had full use of a DSLR camera with tripod, a remote shutter release, light meter, backdrop and 2 lighting kits. In session 10,  I introduced pupils to continuous and flash lighting, the use of backdrops, a reflector and a light meter. Working with studio lighting is completely different from daylight – its all about control, and forces photographers to think much more carefully. After all, photography derives from “drawing” with “light”.

This was a lot for pupils to take on but they already had a good vocabulary for the equipment so it was largely a question of introducing the way different things work together; the way the remote release triggers the camera shutter, and the camera shutter triggers the flashlights.

Everyone had to the chance to try and different equipment and experiment with three different lighting set ups: a single soft-box flashlight, a  dramatic single side-light, two soft-box flash lights.  I explained the concept of exposure as simply as possible, in terms of the quantity and intensity of light (compared to turning on a tap, the amount of water that flows out with depend on how far you open the tap and how long you leave it on for).

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