Lighting Workshop with Tom Miles from Nikon

It was really interesting to be part of the workshop which Tom Miles ran for us at Ravensbourne. Some of the information that he told us was invaluable and really very much brought to like everything that I am working with and for in this course. Hearing from a current industry expert about what his shoots are like and the reality of some of the most high-end photograph work gave me the realisation how actually how working with very famous individuals there are very tight timing and how essential it is in his type of work to plan and organise every single step of the process. Especially in his area of work which is very fast pace it is essential to know what you want from the start.

Notes made during the workshop:

It was good to hear that he encourages what I already seem to do which is to always have at the back of your mind your photography work; whether is on television and film or if it is just in public. In particular he mentioned to look at many different lighting situations in everyday life. Even to just it on the Underground and look at the way in which lighting on there effects individuals where the are sat, where the light is portioned and how the light moves.

It was valuable to hear the people and blogs that he recommends to listen to online for tips and hits in photography work, such as “The Strobist” which is the blog of photographer David Hobby who gives many useful tips on lighting in photography. As well as his own blog, “”.

Interestingly he also taught us how key it is to reverse engineer photographs which we like and really find out about them what is is that makes them work so that we can use similar concepts within our own work. He showed us the reality behind his own work and the short cuts that he uses to generate well crafted photographs without having all of the high-end kit, but just simple things which are essential to have on a shoot. Tom Miles also went through more technical work as well and illustrated how it then worked in practice which made the workshop yet more engaging with theories such as the Inverse Square Law.

Overall he stressed though how important it is to consider the four key principles of lighting whenever on a shoot, planning a shoot or reverse engineering an image:

  • Direction of the light – also take into account proximity
  • Quality/Size of the light – Hard or Soft light
  • Quantity of Light(s)
  • Colour of the light – on the Kelvin scale.

When reverse engineering a photograph it is key to consider:

  • Shadows – direction, depth, quality, quantity
  • Highlights – size, shape, brightness
  • Reflections/catchlights – location and shape
  • Colour – look for the differences
  • Quantity – amount of it – sharpness helps
  • Contrast – Depth of field, lenses – distort the image
  • Sharpness/blur

Finally one last tip that Tom Miles gave that he said he didn’t realise how essential it was until we was fully working in the industry was how important it is to “Run your eye around the edge of the view finder.” There can always be that small mark or object that catches the edge of your image that you do not realise is there whilst shooting because you may be too focused on the focal point of the image.





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