Lighting Journal

As a student of photography I shot strictly natural light for years, then I made the switch to film school and it seemed I knew nothing. Lighting I, Lighting II, Advanced Lighting, the classes kept coming but I still didn’t get it. In the natural world or in watching a movie, I couldn't identify each light source or describe it’s qualities, much less the psychological impact. And then came an assignment to do those exact things. Direction. Color. Quality. Intensity. It was our task to gather stills from feature films, and then describe these characteristics for each light source, along with the mood and tone they conveyed. 

In each scene from a movie, consider how much information the lighting actually gives: where to look, who is important, are they good or bad, what time of year is it, time of day, is this a comedy, is this set in the past/future, is this person trustworthy? The list goes on and on. As a photographer, your lighting is communicating something, why not learn it’s language and start identifying it’s characteristics?