• Shaikha Al Thani

Using Light, Camera, and Color

This is the flour sack challenge which entails using only light, camera angle, and color to portray mood and emotion in something as insentient and inanimate as a flour sack.



1. The Green Eyed Monster



I used multiple light sources, namely spotlights to create this look. For the flour sack in the foreground I wanted the lighting placement to suggest that this flour sack is on a stage, at the same time I wanted the angle (which is slightly lowered) to convey confidence.

However, it is the flour sack in the background that took the most planning as the foreground flour sack utilises only one light whilst the background flour sack required four (colored) light sources. These four carefully deliberated light sources had to be placed in such a way that the there is a clear distinction between the flour sack and the background so the green is on the flour sack and only the flour sack whilst the red is on the background and only the background.

For this challenge I wanted to create the idea that the flour sack in the foreground is quite literally in the spotlight enjoying this limelight and totally oblivious to the flour sack in the background, cast in the shadows, and is filled with envy and malicious intent. The green rim lighting is meant to insinuate the envy whilst the red is the malicious intent. I also added a warm spotlight acting as the fill light to illuminate the flour sack in the background just a little bit more.

2. Hannibal Lecter


For this set up, it is pretty straight forward and no where as elaborate as the previous set up. I wanted to create a very distinct dangerous and powerful mood in this light and camera layout.

This was very easily achieved with a single spotlight, devoid of color, set directly from on top if the subject, the flour sack. The lack of a fill light and backlight makes the use of this a distinct low-key set up. This exaggerated chiaroscuro effect feeds into the whole evil and dangerous feel of the photo. I also situated the camera from a low angle to make the flour sack look powerful.


3. Puppy Love


To create the intended sweet and albeit mawkish representation of puppy love I used 3 lights placed just as one would place the classic three point light scheme. The key light is the pink one that is cast on the flour sack in the background. I chose such a strong shade of pink to also suggest bashfulness, almost as though the flour sack was blushing. The backlight, which is in red, is used solely to exaggerate this appearance of infatuation. Lastly, the fill light is very discreet and used purely for the purpose of increasing th light as not to have them cast too much in the background.


4. Dr. Jekyll Mr. Hyde


This was the result of experimenting with different light placement and shadows. Once I saw the kinds of shadows that can be achieved - I wanted to create a pretty straightforward light set up that depicts this idea that the subject, which is the flour sack, is not as it appears.

Almost like Dr Jekyll Mr Hyde. I utilized intensely colored backlights, and harsh spotlights for this.






5. The Dark Side


This was a few steps further than the second challenge (Hannibal Lecter). I wanted to see how color can depict villainy and characters who venture towards the dark side. I'm thinking Darth Vader.


6. Stage Fright


To create the notion that the flour sack is on a stage and is feeling scared, anxious, and intimidated I used only two things. A high camera angle and a single front facing spotlight. I think this may perhaps be the most successful of the challenges as it is the most straightforward and simple.


7. Wallflower


For the final rendition of this flour sack series, I attempted to create a divided in both lighting and color to signify detachment, longing, and loneliness in the flour sack in the background. Specifically, I cast the group in warm low-key lighting set up whilst the flour sack is also in a similar low-key and low contrast set up which the salient difference being in the color.


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