Exposure, The Zone System

  The  Zone  System is the simplest and best method yet devised for planning an exposure. Created by Ansel Adams and expounded by Minor White and others, it is more than just a shirt-sleeve approach to sensitometry; it is an elegant method of integrating all the decisions and techniques of exposure control. … PDF: Exposure, The Zone System   What is the Zone System? The zone system was invented by Ansel Adams, one of the most famous photographers ever. He was a master of technique, and had an eye for light that few are blessed with. His photographs were the result of a happy combination of comprehensive technique Read more


  Filter is optical device to remove or absorb selected wavelengths or proportion of all wavelengths. Types and description of special effects filters, close-up filters, trick filters, filters for b&w and colour. … PDF: Filters Description PDF: Filters Types   Other filters commonly used with colour film. … PDF: Colour Filters     PDF: Filters

Lens Performance, Getting the Most from a Lens

  Camera motion causes blur. Though some photographers claim to be able to hand hold a camera steady at slow shutter speeds-V” sec. or even slower-it takes only a slight amount of camera motion during exposure to cause a noticeable blur in an image. If a sharp picture is your aim, using a fast shutter speed or supporting the camera on a tripod is a much surer way to produce an image that will be sharp when enlarged. … PDF: Lens Performance Getting the Most from a Lens

Perspective How a Photograph Shows Depth

  Perspective: the impression of depth. Few lenses (except for the fisheye) noticeably dis­tort the scene they show. The perspective in a photograph-the apparent size and shape of objects and the impression of depth-is what you would see if you were standing at camera position. … PDF: Perspective How a Photograph Shows Depth

Lens Focal Length: Normal, Short, Long, Special Lenses

  Lens focal length is the most important characteristic of a lens. One of the prime advantages of a single·lens reflex camera or a view camera is the interchangeability of its lenses; the reason photographers own more than one lens is so that they can change lens focal length. … PDF: Lens Focal Length, The Basic Difference Between Lenses   Normal Focal Length The Most Like Human Vision A lens of normal focal length, as you might expect from the name,  produces an image on film that seems normal when compared with human vision. The image includes about the same angle of view as the human eye Read more

Choosing a Lens for Analogue 35 mm Camera

  With wide angle lenses covering be­tween 63° and 115°, there is some distortion on the wider angles. For a 35mm SLR, a 35mm focal length covering 63° may not be wide enough if your standard lens is 50mm; 28mm covering 75° would be a better choice. A 24mm covering 84° is going to extremes and, unless you particularly need this coverage with its risk of image distortion, the 28mm is the most sensible all-round choice. … PDF: Choosing a Lens for Analogue 35 mm Camera   Why Change Lenses? Altering distance and focal length. Each picture was taken with a lens of different focal length 135 mm format, but  the camera distance was Read more

Magazine Transfers and Lifts

  Almost any image from a printed source can be transferred to paper. The best source of material for transfers is a full-color Sunday newspaper supplement. The inks are highly saturated and freshly printed. The paper stock is a light­weight newsprint, and if you wish to transfer duplicate images, you can purchase cheaply several news­papers. … PDF: Magazine Transfers and Lifts

Toning Fibre and Resin Based Papers

  Black and white photographic papers can be toned with chemical toners. In the college you have the  following available. Sepia. Copper. Blue. The main formula for each type is as follows: … PDF: Toning Fibre and Resin Based Papers   Speedisepia Good tones are obtained with  normally exposed and developed conventional paper prints. Some modern papers even those described as ‘fibre’ are liable to give variable results and ‘blotches’. It is recomended that prints are given full exposure, and development, an acid  stop, fixed in a simple non hardening fixer, and copiously washed. Work only under subdued lighting. … PDF: Speedisepia


  Strictly speaking solarisation is reversal, or partial reversal, of the image due to gross overexposure. The effect discussed here, although described by photographers as solarisation, is the Sabattier* effect or ‘pseudo-solarisation’. Whatever the name, the effect is easily distinguished – the reversal of weakest densities, and the formation of a thin contour line around strong tone boundaries. It therefore contains some of the characteristics of the tone line effect, but is achieved quite differently. … PDF: Solarisation   Making a solarised print i)  Selecting an image – This should be a bold image with a strong pattern. The image could contain blocks of differing tone or strong graphic Read more

Manipulating the image

  The photojournalist generally responds to a situation, whereas the studio photographer creates a situation to fit a pre-conceived image. The ultimate control that the photographer has is the manipulation of the image itself. At its most sophisticated, the photographer can take on the role of an director. By combining studio techniques with photo-composites and re-touching, for example, you can achieve the graphic freedom of an illustration yet retain the basic realism of photographic images. Sophisticated image manipulation such as this is found mainly in advertising, where the commercial results justify the often high cost and lengthy  technical work. Combining images: by Sandwiching, Projection, and Multiple exposure PDF: Manipulating the image

Lith Printing

  The development time determines the amount of  shadow detail. As the development  progresses,  dark grains begin to appear in the shadow areas, clumping together to form the darkest regions of the print. It is  important to decide when to snatch the print from the developer by Judging the shadow density – rather than the highlight detail. … In order to make successful lith prints you must use a chloro-bromide based black and white paper. … PDF: Lith Printing

Liquid Emulsion Technique

  Many  photographers feel somewhat restricted by conventional, commercial papers.  Surface textures are limited and do not always suit the artistic vision of the individual. One way around this  limitation is by using liquid emulsions, which can be coated onto many surfaces: paper, fabric, stones, tiles, wood, metal, and more. … PDF: Liquid Emulsion Technique


  Infrared, photographing the unseen (or simply create very interesting) images. Discover where a circuit board may be overheating  - where hot water pipes are buried in masonry – and where heat loss is occurring through a building’s’ roof.  This would be an ideal use for infrared film. However: let me quash this myth right  now! You cannot, under any circumstances, photograph heat loss with an infrared film. Infrared film can see the visible spectrum and also the near infrared up to just under 1000 nanometres. PDF: Infrared, photographing the unseen images   Infrared Alert Creative photographer are always challenging conventions and looking for new ways of coming up with eye-catching images. To kick off the Read more

Calotype process

  Negative 1  Under red lighting best quality writing paper is dipped in weak silver nitrate solution, followed by potassium iodide solution, and wiped dry. 2  One side is coated with an ‘exciting’ solution of gallic acid and silver nitrate, applied with a brush. The sensitised paper is then dried  in  front of  the fire, and  placed  in a light-proof  holder to take to the camera. 3  Exposure  in the  camera  for  about  1-3  min. 4  Development,  in the same exciting solution as 2 but diluted  to  half strength. 5  Fixing in hyposulphite of soda, washing and drying.   Positive print 6  Another sheet Read more

Cyanotype Process

  Cyanotype Process The cyanotype process or blue printing was discovered by Sir John Herschel in 1842. Ifs first extensive use was in a book of botanical photograms of British algae by Anna Atkins. Around the turn of the century prepared blueprint paper was available to photographers for making proofs. The process was also used to produce postcards and stereographs of the period. The process never gained any real popularity and so was primarily used as a copying process (as engineers and architects do now). … PDF: Cyanotype Process   Cyanotype Printing Process The cyanotype printing process , commonly known as ‘Blue Print’, was invented in 1842 by the English astronomer Sir Read more

The Bromoil Process

  There are a number of photographic processes which enjoyed great popularity in the early year of the century. In some the actual photographic print formed only an intermediate stage in the production of the final image. Typical examples are carbon processes, the carbo process, and the bromoil processes. Of these three, the bromoil process is probably easiest to master, in terms of technique and availability of suitable materials. … PDF: The Bromoil Process

Photographic Processes and Terms

  Albumen print The first glossy coated photographic print. In general use c. 1855-1890.  Thin paper was  first coated with a mixture of whisked egg white and salt, then sensitized with silver nitrate.  It was usually printed-out in sunlight under the negative in a printing frame. C-type print Photographic colour print made from a colour negative: the most widely-used form of colour photograph today. … PDF: Photographic Processes and Terms

The Search for Colour

  Although far more people could now take photographs, for most of  the first half of the twentieth century photography really meant pictures in black and white. Everyone now expects to have colour prints from their holiday a few hours after returning home, but 60 years ago a skilled photographer would take several days, at great expense, to get one colour image on to paper.  Reaching today’s position called for tremendous re­search – firstly to establish the best principle on which to base a system of colour photography, and secondly (even more difficult) how to put it into practice so that it was simple,  inexpensive and gave Read more

High and Low Key

  The term high and low key refer to the dominant prevailing tones – light or dark – used in a picture. A high key photograph consist mostly of white and light tones and some middle tones, whereas a low key photograph is composed predominately of black and dark tones. … PDF: High and Low Key

Pinhole Camera Workshop

  Pinhole photography is photography at it’s most basic. In terms of equipment, materials and the physics of light it couldn’t  be simpler.  It is the grounding for all photography. Materials Required: Cardboard box or any blacked out container that you can fix a pinhole to and hold light sensitive material i.e. film or paper. Thin sheet of shim or soft drinks can to make pinhole aperture out of. Pin and light emery paper. Black and white photographic paper and or sheet film. Other materials required may be black paper or black paint, gafa tape and masking tape, knife, scissors … PDF: Pinhole Camera Read more


  A photogram is a picture made without using a camera; it records not the image of an object produced by a lens but the shadow cast by the object itself i. e. using the photographic printing process but without using a negative. They tend to be strong-silhouetted images. With experimenting you can create a fairly intricate image using marks, shapes and textures. … PDF: Photograms   The only real limit to this technique is your imagination. With photograms you have total control over all the elements and you aren’t dependent on the weather. … PDF: Technique File   It’s pants! Using the age-old technique of photograms, Kirsty Mackay creates Read more

Dry Mounting a Print Step by Step

  Dry mounting provides a good-looking, stable  support for a print. Shown here is a mount with a wide border around the print. The mounting materials, the print, and the inner surfaces of the press should be clean; even a small particle of dirt can create a bump or dent when the print is put under pressure in the press. … PDF: Dry Mounting a Print Step by Step

Bleed Mounting/Overmatting

  A bleed-mounted print is even with the edges of the mount. … An overmatted  print has a raised border around the print. It consists of an overmat (a piece of mount board with a hole cut in it) placed over a print that is attached to another piece of mount board (the backing board). The overmat helps  protect the print and can be easily replaced if it becomes soiled or damaged. After overmatting, the print can be framed or displayed as is. … PDF: Bleed Mounting/Overmatting

Experimental Lighting

  A continuous  light such as a torch or candle can be mixed with flash light to create a composite negative with two exposures. How to get this effect: 1.  Set the camera to multiple exposure. 2.  Use the camera on a tripod with a cable release. 3.  Meter for the flash light (or overhead/daylight in the case of the Picasso or Dance Hall images) and make the 1st exposure. 4.  Then in a darkened space where the torch is the only light source use a long exposure to record the movement of the torch (this could be about 20 seconds for example). 5.  The torch Read more

Documentation of Art Work

  Documentation is not the work. You need to plan your photo shot in away that it records a sense of your artwork. This may mean you need to do a number of different things. A general installation shot to give an idea of scale and contextualising the work within the space. A cropped shot of a piece to display it clearly. A close shot to show materials and texture. A clear and straightforward recording of  the work is what you should be after. Decide which material you wish to record your work in,  i.e. colour  slide  film (transparencies), colour prints, black & white or digital. … Read more

Exposing Scenes that are Lighter or Darker than Average

  Scenes that are light overall, such as a snow scene, can look too dark  in the final photograph if you make just an overall read­ing or let an automatic camera make one for you. The reason is that the meter will make its usual assumption that it is pointed at a scene consisting of light, medium, and dark tones, and it will expose the film accordingly. But this will underexpose a scene that consists mostly of light tones,  resulting in a too-dark  final photograph. Try giving one or two stops extra exposure to such scenes. PDF: Exposing Scenes that are Lighter or Darker than Average

How Colour Films Produce Colours

  Colour Film consists of three light sensitive layers.  Each of which responds to about one-third of the colours in the light spectrum. Each layer is matched to a primary colour dye that is built into the emulsion or added during processing, and every colour in the spectrum can be produced by mixing varying proportions of the colour primaries. … PDF: How Colour Films Produce Colours  

Mixed Lighting Indoors

  How do you utilise mixed lighting indoors? What problem arise and how can you solve them? This article by David Askham will give some of the answers, based on the author’s experience in a wide range of commercial assigments in work places, stately homes and domestic interiors. … PDF: Mixed Lighting Indoors  

How Camera Materials Work

  This chapter discusses how our light-sensitive camera materials work, especially colour films. It traces the way that ingenious principles have been put into practice and compares how films record relative to the way our eyes see subjects directly. So the chapter begins by describing how eyes and brain receive and interpret the sensation of colours and comparing this with the far more fixed chemical response of colour films. Differences between seeing and photographing are important to grasp in order to control results. … PDF: How Camera Materials Work  

The Kelvin Temperature Scale

  The following table shows the correlated colour temperature of common light sources: Color Temperature Light Source 1000-2000 K Candlelight 2500-3500 K Tungsten Bulb (household variety) 3000-4000 K Sunrise/Sunset (clear sky) 4000-5000 K Fluorescent Lamps 5000-5500 K Electronic Flash 5000-6500 K Daylight with Clear Sky (sun overhead) 6500-8000 K Moderately Overcast Sky 9000-10000 K    Shade or Heavily Overcast Sky    Here is a visual representation of the Kelvin temperature scale. Notice how lower temperatures are very warm, and following the color spectrum, increase in numeric value as they become cooler. PDF: The Kelvin Temperature Scale  

White Light

  White light, such as that from the sun, contains all the colours of the spectrum. Pass light throught the prism and it will brake into the rainbows of colours. … PDF: White Light  


  Visible light is a stream of energy radiating from a light source (the sun or a lamp). There are four main characteristics of light: … PDF: Light  

Fill Light to Lighten Shadows

  Fill light makes shadows less dark by adding light to them. Photographic materials can record detail and texture in either brightly lit areas or deeply shadowed ones but generally not in both at the same time. PDF: Fill Light to Lighten Shadows  

Using Artificial Light, Photolamp or Flash

  Artificial light sources let you bring your own light with you when the sun goes down, when you photograph in a relatively dark room, or when you need just a little more light than is available  naturally. Different sources produce light of different colour balances, an important factor if you are using colour films. PDF: Using Artificial Light Photolamp or Flash  

Simple Portrait Lighting

  Many fine portraits have been made using simple lighting setups. You don’t need a complicated arrangement of lights to make a good portrait. In fact, the simpler the setup, the more comfortable and relaxed your subject is likely to be. PDF: Simple Portrait Lighting  

The Main Light, The Strongest Source of Light

  The most realistic and usually most pleasing lighting resembles daylight, the light we see most often: one main source of light from above creating a single set of shadows. Lighting seems unrealistic (though there may be times when you will want that) if it comes from below or if it comes from two or more equally strong sources that produce shadows going in different directions. PDF: The Main Light, The Strongest Source of Light  

Understanding the Lighting Diagrams

  Naturally the diagrams should only be taken as a guide, as it is impossible to accurately represent the enormous variety of heads, dishes, softboxes, reflectors and so on that are available, while using an accessible range of diagrams, nor is it possible to  fully indicate lighting ratios and other such specifics. In practice, however, differences in equipment, and sometimes scale, should be small, and will anyhow at allow you to add your own personal stamp to the arrangement you’ re  seeking to replicate. In addition you’ll find technical details about the use of camera, film, exposure, lens etc. along with any useful hints and Read more

Lighting Diagrams, General Lighting Arrangement

  1. The Key light or Principal light is the one light which dominates all the others, creating the most noticeable highlights and casting the most important shadows. 2. The Fill-in light is used to illuminate the shadows cast by the Key light, bringing the overall contrast of the subject within the range of the sensitive material. …see full text PDF: Lighting Diagrams  

Slow Sync Flash

  Flash used normally will freeze moving object and if the exposure is correct, will evenly  illuminate everything within its range. But, as in every aspect of photography, creating rule braking can produce stunning results; and this is particularly the unorthodox technique of slow sync flash. PDF: Slow Sync Flash  

Combining Flash and Continuous Light

  Fill-in flash uses a combination of flash and daylight to make an exposure.  It is useful in strong daylight to fill in shadows formed by existing light. The effect is natural rather than harsh. PDF: Combining Flash and Continuous Light