The Challenge of Egg Photography

Mark Webber
Vidal M. Treviño School of Communications and Fine Arts
Laredo, Texas

Title: The Challenge of Egg Photography

Texas State Standards: Texas Essential Elements

  • The student demonstrates understanding of the principles of publishing through design using available technologies.
  • The student is expected to use illustrations or photographs that have been cropped, to communicate and emphasize a topic.
    1. The student interprets/critiques visual representations.
    2. Recognize composition principles and their impact on photography.
    3. The student produces visual representations that communicate with others.
    4. The student is expected to produce a properly exposed print where the subject is sharply focused and demonstrate the use of the elements or principles of design; use lighting and be aware of its qualities such as direction, intensity, color, and the use of artificial light;
    5. Use appropriate equipment to process film and make prints and make contact sheets.

Generative Topics

  • How does one take advantage of artificial or natural lighting to create a photo or an image in which a white object (egg) stands out against a white background?
  • How does one most effectively present the egg image?
    • (Digital photography) cropping, adjusting contrast, highlights and midtones; adjusting color or grayscale, and burning and dodging, as appropriate, in a photo-editing program to create a publishable image.
    • (Film) cropping, burning, dodging and other techniques to create a publishable photo, in an adequately equipped darkroom.

Generative Objects

  • White chicken eggs.
  • Large white, smooth towels or cloth (Packages of cloth from dollar stores are excellent).
  • Studio or other lighting, as available. If outside, available light.
  • Table(s), desk(s), or other platforms on which to photograph eggs.

Generative Objective

  • Students use lighting and composition to make a white chicken egg stand out from a white background, by creating a shadow.
  • Use composition (angles) to create and communicate an effective image.
  • Using photo-editing software to create a contact sheet of images taken and an 8-inch-by-10-inch publishable image. If using film, use darkroom techniques and equipment to create a contact sheet and a larger image on available photographic paper.

Critical Engagement Questions

  • How do different angles affect the composition of a photo?
  • How can a photographer manipulate light to create an effective image?
  • How can a photographer take advantage of available light to create an effective image?
  • (Digital) How can appropriate software help create images that effectively communicate with viewers?
  • (Film) How can darkroom techniques help create photographs that effectively communicate with viewers?

Performance of Understanding, Rationale and Timeline

Students should already have had instruction in the basics of photography, instruction in the use of film or digital cameras, and instruction in darkroom use or photo-editing software. The assignment requires students to create a composition in which a white chicken egg is distinguishable from a white background by creating and using shadows. Students then must create an image that effectively communicates the scene. Depending on class size and equipment available, two to three days should be sufficient time. It works great as an individual or small group activity as well as an exam.


Activity 1

  • Discussion of topic.
  • Students then photograph their eggs. Instructor should require a minimum number of photos to be taken.Activity 2
  • (Digital) Students create a contact sheet in available photo-editing software. Students then create an effective 8-inch-by-10-inch image.
  • (Film) Students develop film, create a contact sheet from their negatives, and then create an effective photograph using available paper.

Activity 3

  • Students can publish their work, displaying either print, contact sheet, or both on a bulletin or display board, via computer software (PowerPoint or Soundslides, for example) in an unstructured public setting or to small or large groups.
  • Students can present their work as described to small or large groups, discussing their work and the results.Activity 4Students can present one or more images cropped in different ways, horizontally and vertically.

Activity 5

  • Students can judge work of their own class or of another class to determine the most effective images, and justify their decisions using appropriate terminology.


Teacher-made matrix, results of student self-evaluation, results of students judging the work of others, as appropriate.


  • Instructional material on photography
  • Eggs
  • White cloths or towels