Category Archives: Exercise 4.3

Exercise 4.3

Capture ‘the beauty of artificial light’ in a short sequence of shots (‘beauty’ is, of course, a subjective term). The correct white balance setting will be important; this can get tricky –but interesting – if there are mixed light sources of different colour temperatures in the same shot. You can shoot indoors or outside but the light should be ambient rather than camera flash. Add the sequence to your learning log. In your notes try to describe the difference in the quality of light from the daylight shots in Exercise 4.2.

One of my hobbies is photographing live music. Occasionally I shoot at Bodega Social, Nottingham and I often have difficulties dealing with the light there – particularly for some of the bands who only have back lights and smoke effects. Dystopian Future Movies are one such band. An additional problem is that the main light source tends to be front centre stage, so a band where the guitarist and bassist both perform towards the sides of the stage means even less light on the performers.

All images were shot with my Canon 5D Mkiii and a Tamron 28-75mm lens on settings 1/80, f3.2 ISO 6400


In this first image of the whole band, the rear moving lights are converging on the drummer making him invisible. Meanwhile the bassist on the left would almost be a silhouette if she didn’t have a white shirt and white bass. The lead singer/guitarist has her face and hair highlighted with her long black skirt blending int the background on the right. dystopianfuturemovies_stephaniewebb_329a0469

In this image the moving lights are all crossing to the left of the image leading to the right side of the drummer’s arms, hair and hat being lit. The light also accentuates the metal of the cymbals and drums.


Again, the lead singer/guitarist has her face and hair highlighted with her long black skirt blending into the background at the bottom and right of the image. The lighting at the back produces an almost halo effect to her hair.


The lack of available light meant shooting at a high ISO and as a result the images are quite grainy. The main light source being behind the performers leads to interesting highlights in the photographs – such as for the guest guitarist’s hair in this final image, whilst the rest of him is virtually a silhouette.

The natural light observed in Exercise 4.2 was very different. For a start, although it was a dull light due to the weather conditions, it illuminated a much larger area – the lights in this exercise are directed at specific area, and their colour adds interest to the shots. The direction of the artificial lights highlights particular area of the shot – eg the drummer’s arms in the second shot, and the guitarist’s upper body and guitar in the third shot.

To summarise, directional lighting can add interest – whether that be natural light or artificial. Whilst lighting at small gigs can be difficult to work with as it has the challenge of not being consistent, the effects can be worth it.