Week 11: Colour & Printing (Pixel Power!)

This was a HUGE one and so many things to touch upon since there was a ton of technical stuff to learn but I will briefly go through what I consider the most important bits…

Let’s start off with colour!

First off, it is really important to have your monitor (or viewing devices) colour calibrated. But what does that mean? In simple terms it means to have your devices display colours in the most accurate way possible. Why? You want to see what view something exactly the way it will be printed right?

From an article from PetaPixel (https://petapixel.com/2014/12/16/photographers-introduction-color-color-space-monitor-calibration/)

“The first thing you need to understand is Color Space. Which basically stands for the range of colors utilized. Every Color Space has a Color Gamut which is basically the amount of colors in a color space. Every color space is different and will give you different results. You may have heard the term Adobe RGB 1998, sRGB, or ProPhoto RGB before. Those are generally the most used color spaces that you’ll see when you’re working with photos.”

“If you accidentally save to the wrong color space, you can really change people’s perception of your photos.”


So this is not all about printing but your output intent. On a site…what devices will most likely view it?

Off to something related but a different topic: Resolution

Let’s me go back to pixels. If a camera is camera is stated to capture 14.6 megapixel images. This means around 14,600,000 pixels per image (14.6 x 1,000,000).

Most printing services, and indeed your own printer, will require a certain density of pixels in the image (ppi) to be able to render an print that looks good, with smooth color transitions so you can’t see each individual pixel. Dots per inch (dpi) is a measure of spatial printing or video dot density, in particular the number of individual dots that can be placed in a line within the span of 1 inch (2.54 cm). As you can see DPI and PPI have to do with resolution but are 2 different things! See the chart below for printing reccommendations. PPI is for Printing and DPI is for digital devices. For printing it is typically reccommended to print at 300…you can go down to 150 (Be warned: at this resolution they will not be crisp!….but ok) but going below that your images will be pixelated or “lossy”. 72 dpi is common for use on the web….but that will change.


Lastly, but not least when it comes to printing, the paper you print it on; glossy, matte etc. All different types of paper accept ink and let it bleed differently. This affects how your image will look too. It is best to go into a print shop to see there different paper stock and an example of the same image on them to see the subtle differences.


Week 10: The Light on Things (cont’d)

This week we learned about various equipment that help in controlling light to what suits us for our photo’s goals. We used reflectors and diffusers in different lighting conditions (natural light indoors and outdoors). But in a previous lesson we also learned about the following equipment: See photo below. These are mostly used indoors, but just mostly.


For the following photos below we used a set of reflectors and a diffuser similar to this:


So, why use all this equipment? Because diffusers help eliminate direct, harsh light while reflectors can be used to bounce light onto a specific place (On some of my images you can tell I did not bounce the reflector light directly onto my subject, I didn’t want to! It was insanely bright outside and I would have blinded them! But I did get it close enough to their faces where they received a slight lighting benefit from it). I definitely noticed the differences with using them! But I didn’t think that, upon first glance, they would have so much effect on a portrait. The reflectors, too, help distribute the light not just on the subject but not extremely harshly either, like, let’s say a lamp.


Indoor window light & reflector (Natural light)


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Daylight & reflector (Natural light)


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Diffuser (using Natural Light from the window)

f/5.3 1/6sec ISO 200


Reflector (Natural light, outdoor in the shade)


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Week 9: Portraits

In class today we learned about portraits and different lighting effects and touched upon various equipment that assist with getting light to hit our subject the way we want it to (examples: lights, softbox/beauty dish/ diffusers/reflectors, flash in combination with the lights…) For these particular class exercise we shots these images in studio with various lights and a softbox.  Different focal lengths and aperture settings also aid in creating the portrait effect we want to achieve. I particularly liked the different types of portraits we learned in class such as; Rembrandt, Butterfly lighting, Split lighting to name some. I am a bit surprised my entry-level DSLR shot these! And truthfully, I would have loved to experiment a bit more with the lighting equipment and take more shots, but with the time limitations and so many of us taking shots, this was not possible. Perhaps over break I can experiment? With the reflector use in the window shots and outdoor (in the shade) shots….I noticed a massive difference when we used the reflector indoors (please see week 10 for those shots).

But as I learned from the first day of this class, you don’t need fancy lenses and a really expensive camera to do most things. The shots below are what most camera’s do at their basic level — with the correct settings. I found this class exercise interesting because I really underestimated how the positioning of lights and the control of lights affect your image. I remember a while ago, hearing a saying that went something like “photography is painting with light”. After I got home and saw the images and became more curious if the settings were a bit more changed — that phrase came to my mind. Professional photography to me is more than just the camera settings but a mastery of light equipment settings! Not to mention the composition of your photograph. Anyway again to being a bit overwhelmed but happy to have been introduced to all the lighting equipment.

All the way below are the shots we took in class, in studio, for week 9. After that, are the window light shots and natural light shots (in the shade) both sets with reflectors.




Studio – softbox (Rembrandt style)



Studio – 3 lights shots








Week 8: A picture is worth a thousand words


This week we studied narrative photography and we watched a video of a photographer called Jodi Cobb. I wanted to note her name here because I really found her work amazing. Her photos on child slavery stuck with me a few hours after I left class. Which brings me to this narrative essay I came across a few years ago. It is called, “A Mother’s Journey” and it was the 2007 Pulitzer Prize winner. It can be found here: http://imgur.com/gallery/pCaQZ.

When asked to find an example of a Linear and Non-linear photo essays I knew that this was going to be one of them. I remember my reaction to first seeing them and when I saw them. It was late at nite and I was just randomly hitting links on reddit and I think I was in a good mood too — but how in just a few minutes upon seeing the images how my mood took a dramatic turn. I was crying at my laptop. And really, this thing…those images…my sadness for the boy…my sadness for this poor mother….my anger and questioning of a God in the few days after — this was real and what happened to me after seeing these photos. I have seen many beautiful images, and sad and thought provoking but these….just hit me much harder. And I think it was because they were part of an essay. This also made me realize that is really is possible to say so much visually without actually saying a word. Photography can be extremely powerful.

For the non-linear essay I chose this:

The photos of just how much damage ISIS did and capturing their “culture” by the little details such as a children’s bag carrying explosive elements and the blurring of Western cartoons on walls — all the little details that help capture more than just physical damage…this photo essay captured strong emotions of people that are non-existent in the photos. Not an easy thing to do. Details matter in photographs.

As I look at these two I think to myself how I will try to incorporate that in my colour linear photo essay.


Below are some shots I took in class:



Exercise Photo Essay: “Sneaking up upon intelligence”



…and <drumroll> my WIP:



Week 7: Colour

For this class exercise, we experimented with the White Balance setting on our DSLR’s (and important to note on Nikon cameras there is no tungsten setting so you must select “incandescent”). And just how important is White Balance? By being more accurate with the white balance setting you choose for your shot, the more accurate the colours will be — less editing for you. It affects the colour temperature of your photograph. Below are the various lighting conditions we shot in. I liked doing these exercises because when I put the images together on this blog, side-by-side (especially in the bottom 4 categories…), I definitely saw a temperature difference. Also, it is important to note that you shouldn’t do a setting according to what temperature you want the photograph to be but rather what the lighting conditions are.

Title for my Assessment 2 final: “A possible end.”


Full Sun (Click on images to get A,S,ISO info)











Week 5: The Light on Things

ISO measures the sensitivity of the image sensor on the camera. Increasing it, you are able to take pictures in low light conditions BUT you run the risk of them becoming grainy (hello….dark iPhone shots of mine…). These exercises are experimentations with various ISO settings in different scenarios. I noticed that the camera lagged when it took a shot with a very low ISO setting (let’s say 100) in a dark area. The image shot super fast with a higher setting and came out more “clear”.

Following all these are 4 shots of our “take-a-picture-of-something-boring-and-make-it-exciting”. I am posting these because I have to but I was really unhappy with them. I would have just loved to experiment with them more and move the pen and then take the photos. But anyway, here they are.




Artificial Light


Low Light


Full Sun


The Red Pen


Week 4: The Depth of Field

For this week’s exercises we experimented with controlling our Depth of Field (ie. the amount of focus via Aperture!). But what is Aperture exactly? Aperture is the eye-like opening of the camera, the blades that fold into a circle. It shuts to your chosen setting before the shutter fires. For me I needed to also know the sequence of how things work in the camera to have it start to sink in just how they all work.

Here is the confusing part. The smaller the number, the wider the opening. The wider the opening the subject is more in focus (see diagram) because the Depth of Field is smaller. You can see this in my exercise images. Notice how more of the bricks become in focus with the higher aperture settings. See the change in the flower and the signage with switched background and foreground settings and different “f” stops. It is still not natural to me to select a correct aperture setting without having to remind myself of how this works exactly but I do understand the concept now at least. Note: the lowest aperture settings on my camera was f/5.6



Two objects/subjects (foreground and background)

Flower in foreground; Signage in background

1/125 sec f/5.6 ISO 100
1/80 sec f/11 ISO 360
1/80 sec f/22 ISO 1250

Signage in foreground; Flower in background

1/100 sec f/5.6 ISO 100
1/80 sec f/11 ISO 560
1/80 sec f/22 ISO 2200


Long, straight, uninterrupted subject

1/60 sec f/5.6 ISO 200
1/60 sec f/11 ISO 800
1/60 sec f/22 ISO 2500