ASL Handshapes

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

12 thoughts on “ASL Handshapes

  1. 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 !

  2. 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.

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

    An ASL instructor

  4. 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.



  5. 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!

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