When I completed Strobist as a project in 2021, I promised to check back in when I had something worth sharing. Today, I’m announcing my new book, The Traveling Photographer’s Manifesto, which seeks to do for traveling photographers what Strobist always tried to do for lighting photographers.

Thanks for giving it a look—and for your comments and feedback.

Lighting 102: Assignment - Cooking Light

The first full assignment for Lighting 102 is deceptively simple. You'll be using what we have discussed in both the position and light source sections.

The assignment is to photograph one or more kitchen utensils - knives, forks, spoons, whisks - whatever you like. The look you are going or is that of ordinary object elevated to high art. Or at least commercial art, as this is the kind of thing that might appear as a catalog cover or in a calendar or on the wall of one of those ubiquitous "fast casual" restaurants.


• K.I.S.S. - Keep it simple, stupid. Less is more. Go for quality over clutter.

• Go beyond the literal subject matter. Use light, form and focal plane to create an evocative photo that is more than the sum of its parts. If Edward Weston can make a pepper look sensual, why not a spoon?

• You may wish to convert your photo to black and white to emphasize form and light, That's fine. It is your choice.

• Your style of lighting will depend on the surface quality of your subject. A wooden spoon will call for very different light than a stainless steel cleaver, for instance.

• Pay attention to your background. If it does not help your photo, it should not be there. Again, K.I.S.S.

The deadline is August 4th. You may tag as many as you wish, but only submit one final image.

For example, you might submit four photos. They would be tagged with:


But your final, single image will have all of those tags, and and additional one:


So your final edit would have as tags:


You can see all turned in pix here, and just the final edits here.

From the comments: If you want to add a "setup" tag to your setup shot, that will allow people to search those images, too. Your choice.

Have fun with it, and do not be scared to experiment and make mistakes. That's the whole point.

The discussion thread for this assignment is here.


(The cool knives shot is from the Strobist Faves Gallery, by Martin Danielsson.)

NEXT: Discussion: Cooking Light Assignment


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