by Matthew Laurence

This article was written by high school visual arts teacher Matthew Laurence. Follow his blog here.

Throughout the school year, Singapore American School had the pleasure of hosting a number of visiting artists within the high school visual art suite. Over 100 students from digital photography, advanced digital photography, photography service club, and the Islander had the special opportunity to learn from these professionals to gain authentic photography experiences.

Passionate Images
Passionate Images instructors Lawrence Ang and Larry Haydn provided the high school service photo club, Islander yearbook students, the digital and advanced digital photography classes workshops in sports photography, macro photography, and special lighting effects throughout the first and second semester of the school year. 

Lawrence Ang supporting a student during one of the macro workshops.
Image courtesy of Zul Monsor
Larry Haydn providing lighting support to a student
Image courtesy of Zul Monsor


Macro Photo Workshop
Here are a few excerpts from student blog posts from the conclusion of the workshops:

Alexus Buechel

This image was of a red scrubby brush. I love how cool the bristles look up close.

This image was of a sponge up really close. I thought that the color and sponge texture was really fun.

What aspect of taking Macro shots did you find to be the most challenging or difficult?
For me, the most challenging aspect of taking macro shots was getting the photo to focus. I had a really hard time getting the objects into the place where they were clear in the image. It took a lot of time and so many shots to get pictures that weren't completely blurred out. This problem started to go away as I became more acquainted with using the new lens. The more photos I took the better the clarity got. Yay!

What aspect of taking Macro shots did you find to be the most enjoyable or fulfilling?
The most enjoyable aspect was seeing the different textures and small bits of color in the things I took pictures of that you can't really see with the naked eye. The sponge, for example, had awesome bits of color on the surface, and the surface of the sponge looked totally different and cool up close.

Archit Srivastava

What aspect of taking Macro shots did you find to be the most enjoyable or fulfilling?
On the second day of this workshop, we got to use large macro lenses. In using these lenses we were getting a picture that shows more texture in the image; it also helps focus on the subject by blurring the background - kind of like having a larger aperture (like f4) but instead, you put the aperture on a setting like f12 and let the lens do the work. I also worked on lighting and trying out different angles of light.

Peer feedback from Keya Agrawal:
I think you did a really good job capturing photos bigger than life size for macro photography. I love the third photo of day two because of how it fills the frame completely. I also really liked how sharp and clear your images were, and that you had no camera shake. I also think you did a good job eliminating possible faults when it comes to taking macro photos. One suggestion I have is to try the stacking technique for photos like the last two ones for day two. With this, you can ensure that everything is in focus and that you have greater detail. Overall, I think you did a really good job capturing macro photography as a whole and I love your photos!

Special lighting effects workshop
Here are a few excerpts from student blog posts from the conclusion of the workshops:


"In this picture, I used the glass ball to distort the building in the background, and I think it added a really interesting and unique element to the otherwise simple image. The fisheye effect makes the image seem almost 'trippy' and abstract for the viewer, as when they look at the orb, the building seems to be bulging out towards them, yet when they look at the background, it's simply a normal building. I like how although the ball distorts the subject, it still maintains the symmetry of the building within its distorted image. If there's one thing I would change, however, it would be the presence of my hand as I think it takes up a little too much of the image."
Ashwin Gopalan







"The image is from the first day of the workshop and implements shadows from a point light. The lighting remains constant using the hard lighting to produce such shadows, however, it is the approach to the image that adds complexity. I felt that the image was actually complex, to begin with; the framing of the photo incorporated the rule of thirds which brought the shape of the figure and hard shadows to life. Despite this, I still believed that color was crucial and another level of variation would help better the photo as the color was uniform throughout. So I decided to add an RGB split (or rather red and cyan split) on a black and white layer in Photoshop. This not only introduced new colors but also added a sense of abstraction, which brought out the shadows of the image."
Jay Sain




"This photo is by far one of my favorites, I managed to get a great quality photo by slowing down the shutter while using the flash to get a clear image with motion blur. It is very interesting with the lights creating a unique squiggle and the blur coming from the movement of him. All these blurs and he is still crisp and clear."
—Benjamin Carrillo



Hands-on practice in a studio portrait shoot
Here are a few excerpts from student blog posts from the conclusion of the workshops:


"I really liked how this picture turned out because I was experimenting with the lights not knowing it would produce good quality photos. I specifically liked this picture because of the light highlights one side and my friend Grey said: "It looks like I'm in a Nike ad". And adding the black and white filter made the picture have a deeper meaning. I didn't do much editing because I like the picture of how it was. However, I did increase the brightness so the left side would be more clear but that's it."
—Shreyas Shukla


"While there were a lot of challenges in this project, I also believe that there were a lot of successes. Moving onto the studio portraits, I would have to say that my biggest success was my friends allowing me to put glitter all over their faces (seriously). I think that I achieved the exact effect I wanted to the tee. The glitter added a whole new element to the portrait which I was extremely happy about. I also loved the way that I placed the light, that allowed me to capture the right side of their faces being dark and the more glittery side being illuminated. I am extremely proud of these photos. Within the editing process for these photos, the most major edit I really had to do was darken the background. The fabric created creases, which I was able to take out and that really helped with the overall effect of the photo."
—Nyah Tewani

Scott Woodward

Image courtesy of Zul Monsor

During the first and second semester of the school year, renown photographer, Scott Woodward, visited the school. Woodward shared his inspiring story in taking the leap and following his dream to become a full-time photographer. 

Woodward shared with the students what is packed for a photo shoot, how to protect and store images, proper handling, and care for equipment, and tips in capturing the best picture from various shooting situations.

Scott Woodward sharing with students how he packs for a location shoot.
Image courtesy of Zul Monsor 

During his visit with the advanced digital photography class, Woodward shared additional stories and strategies from his experiences in the field as a photographer. Each student had the opportunity to seek personalized assistance to further their editing skills and concept development to their personal work from Woodward.

Scott Woodward sharing with students concept development and editing considerations.
Image courtesy of Zul Monsor

High school visual arts department would like to thank SAS PTA and the SAS Foundation for supporting our academic Visitors-in-Residence program. This opportunity allows these wonderful photographers to share their knowledge and experience with our students.

  • art
  • high school
  • photography
  • visiting artist
  • visitors in residence
  • visual arts



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