Jonathan Fleming's Blog

A Photography Blog

ASL Handshapes

with 12 comments

I have some friends who are teaching an American Sign Language class and needed a photographer this past weekend. In ASL, signs are constructed using a limited set of specific hand shapes. They needed each hand shape to be photographed for use in the class’s course materials, including the class website and various keynote presentations.

Photos needed to be done on-site, so I had lug my equipment over. My goal for the lighting was to make the hands look as dimensional as possible. I didn’t want the the lighting to be too flat, and I wanted it to be easy to determine what shape the hand is making in every shot. I have one SB-800 hitting the background, one SB-900 unit firing from above, and a light-stand below holding a silver reflector. The image above is just a screen capture from the Library module in Lightroom 3 Beta.

Nikon D300s + Tokina 50-135 f/2.8

Written by Jonathan

March 22, 2010 at 3:06 pm

12 Responses

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  1. Now Cory’s even more famous! Great shots.


    March 22, 2010 at 3:41 pm

  2. Very cool – I am gonna pass this idea on to my ASL teacher! I have been taking ASL for 4 years and I love it – but I never got to do anything like this !!! Thanks for sharing !


    March 22, 2010 at 6:39 pm

  3. Those could go in a book man. ACTUALLY I’ve seen alot of ASL books, and I’m pretty sure these are better than the photos I’ve seen in -any- of those books.


    March 25, 2010 at 12:08 pm

  4. Produce this into a poster for teacher’s stores to sell. I would definitely buy this for my classroom.

    An ASL instructor

    staci miller

    September 16, 2010 at 6:08 am

    • Thank you for your input! Since you mentioned it, I’ll look into producing a large print for teaching purposes.


      September 16, 2010 at 1:34 pm

  5. Hi there,
    And please consider selling large posters and 8×11 posters for ASL students as well!
    Let me know when you got these published.




    January 26, 2011 at 10:20 am

    • I’ve begun work on it. Should be done in a couple weeks. Check back soon!


      January 26, 2011 at 1:06 pm

  6. Ok! Prints are now available at!


    January 27, 2011 at 1:12 am

  7. This is great, Jonathan. Wish we’d had this for our class. 🙂
    I’m passing the link on to my daughter, who teaches ASL locally to a few ‘friends.’ Thank you so much for making it available!


    February 23, 2011 at 1:03 pm

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