Teaching Materials - Exercise

DIY Student Photo

Name of Artist Educator: Cheung Wai Lok
Excercise Category: Self-awareness

We live different identities, and these identities are hidden with specific sets of images and requirements which are imperceptibly affecting our behaviours......

Concept / Inspiration:

We live different identities, and these identities are hidden with specific sets of images and requirements which are imperceptibly affecting our behaviours, and the way we think of ourselves. If we could think more about our identities and make decisions consciously, would it make any difference to “us”?

Most of the teenagers spend their growing stage at school, and their student identities follow them for a long time. This exercise aims to help students build consciousness towards the matter of identity, and think further about what is the nature of a student? What kind of student am I? How do I live this identity? At last, do I know more clearly about what kind of person I am?


  1. Begin from the identity of student, reflect on ourselves.
  2. Train students’ ability to transform ideas into visual elements, like using visible objects to represent invisible characteristic features.
  3. Learn to use simple lighting techniques (one of the visual elements) during photo shooting.

Materials / Equipment:

  1. Camera
  2. Different colours of cellophane
  3. Coloured papers (Size no smaller than A3, colours commonly used for student photos like blue and white)
  4. LED Lights
  5. Students self-prepared props (need to be prepared beforehand)



Workshop Description:

Duration: 1.5 hours

1. First, go through regular student portraits with students. Analyze the portraits’ format, for examples, size, background colour, lighting effects, etc., so that they could be more conscious on the effects of these elements brought to them in the portraits. Is this portrait able to represent myself? If yes, what does it tell? If no, what is lost? By this, students should think of how are they carrying the identity of being students? If they have to take a new set of student portraits, what would they add into the portraits to represent themselves?

2. In groups of two, students take turns to be the photographer and the model. Photographers should try to practise using different colours of lighting, background and shooting angles. They should observe what visual effects are brought to the whole picture and the model by using different colours and angles.

3. Each student uses prepared props to dress up themselves. These props should carry symbolic meanings, like showing their characteristics or hobbies. When everyone is ready, in groups of two, group mates take turns to shoot student portraits with lighting effects. Since this exercise aims to let students reflect on themselves through selfies, this session of shooting is different from the STEP 2. Photography techniques and the way to deliver is led by the model, the photographer is only responsible for executing the model’s instructions.

The purpose of shooting student portraits is to provoke them to think about what kind of students they are, and how they look at themselves. Besides, it is expected to train students’ ability of imagination and visual language, and to encourage them to look for some objects or visual elements to represent themselves. Therefore, students should not be limited to shoot student portraits, it is also acceptable

Tutorial Hints
1.Teachers could first try to negotiate with the school. So that students are allowed to really use their portrait productions in school, or even print them into real student ID cards, or use them for producing classes’ seating plans. This way, students would be more engaged in classes.

2.Wailok is concerned about how students understand themselves. There is another exercise, “Instagram in Real”, which is held from the perspective of the cyber world. In alliance with this exercise, it might help students to develop awareness on the influences of various self-expression mediums to self. Educator suggests to begin with the medium which students feel most familiar with, so they could first start with “Instagram in Real”, and then followed by “DIY Student Portrait” for discussing about student portraits which they pay less attention to.

Actual Outcome:

It was easy for students to discuss what kind of students they are, but it was rather difficult to transform their thoughts into symbolized objects and deliver the ideas with visual elements. In this case, during group activities, educators are suggested to join the groups and provide guidance.


Rosaryhill School (Secondary Section)

Lo Hoi Ki

Mok Ning Fei

Palmes Ivy Jane Fabro

Sahi Princess Stepahnie

Liann Sin Yee

Chan Po San, Jenny

Liang Laiane

Wong Ka Yuk

Safran Lance Angelo B.