Teaching Materials - Exercise

Film stills mimic

Name of Artist Educator: Leung Yiu Hong
Excercise Category: Photographer's eye, Technical exercise

Light is one of the most important elements for photo shooting.

Concept / Inspiration:

Light is one of the most important elements for photo shooting. Making use of relationship between the light and the subject to construct the setting for the light and shadow, this could bring out different styles and atmosphere for narration.


  1. To train students to pay attention to the light source such as the backlight and the side light, etc. They will also have to practice the use of different angles when taking pictures as well as composition.
  2. To practice how to use natural light source together with aperture and shutter in order to create photos of different styles.

Materials / Equipment:

  • Camera
  • Film stills (better to choose those that emphasize natural light effects)


Classroom and different areas within school

Workshop Description:

Part One: Silhouette (30 minutes)

  1. Close most of the curtains indoor in order to control the source of the sunlight to make a single light source.
  2. Invite a student to be the model and stand in front of the window. This is to demonstrate how to focus on the direction of the light source and the location of subject, i.e. side light, backlight and front light, etc. Different direction of light would have different characteristics. Front light would not generate too much shadow. This could outline the contour of the characters and events clearly. Thus, this is often used for passport photos. The characteristic of side lights is to create shadows that highlight the contour and facial features. Backlight can used for shooting in Japanese style or for sketch only. During demonstration by the instructor, other students also have to observe the difference by taking pictures from different angles and with different directions of light source in order to practise the skills of adjusting ISO.

Stage 1: To control the exposure. The photographer takes a picture of the model with her back facing the light, i.e. to take photographs of the lateral contour of the model. 【Image 1】
Stage 2: The photographer has to adjust the exposure levels while taking photographs at the same angle in order to take a photograph that could show the details of the model’s face.
Stage 3: The photographer changes the angle and use side light for shooting in order to make the model’s face more lifelike. 【Image 2】


Part Two│Film stills mimicking (30 minutes)

Group activity: students are divided into groups of three or four. Each group will be given one to two stills. The students will have to act out the still. They will have to find somewhere that is similar to the scene from the campus. The model will have to imitate the gesture, action and also facial expression of the subjects in the photo. The student who is responsible for shooting photos will have to pay attention to the directions and the strength of the lights, compositions, etc.


During class:

【Image 1】
cheung choi sang samson_20151117_027

【Image 2】

Expected Outcome:

Students can practice the skills of using the natural light source. Without the use of studio lightings, they are able to make something that is similar to the effects from the stills.

Actual Outcome:

Be aware of the duration of sunshine. The strengths of the sunlight will directly affect the level of the exercise. It the sky becomes darker, the students would find it harder to take the photographs. This could help the students to enhance the skills of finding light source from the environment, i.e. street lights.


Original image:                                                                                                                          Student’s work:
Chung On Kei Chun Sum Ka Kei_P1020294 copy  Chung On Kei Chun Sum Ka Kei_P1020295

Original image:                                                                                                                                         Student’s work:
Chung On Kei Chun Sum Ka Kei_P1010190 Chung On Kei Chun Sum Ka Kei_P1010191