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How To Create Beautiful Portraits By Simplifying Light

Lesson 1 of 10

Class Introduction

Audrey Woulard

How To Create Beautiful Portraits By Simplifying Light

Audrey Woulard

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Lesson Info

1. Class Introduction
Audrey will go over everything that she will discuss during this course.

Lesson Info

Class Introduction

Welcome to how to create beautiful portraits by simplifying your light. My name is Audrey Willard and today we're going to cover a multitude of things as I bring you into my world here in Chicago. Well, first talk about who you are as a photographer because I believe that has a huge impact on the results that you want. After that we are going to go over the philosophy of the equipment that you use. I actually believe that the equipment that you use, such as the camera lenses and your light choice really determines who you are. Now. Have you ever heard what is your style as photographers? We hear a lot about finding your style. I'm gonna take you through an exercise that I used in the beginning of my career. And it will not only help you hone into your style, but it will help you stick to it. We want you to be confident in every single thing that you do. And I believe going through that exercise will definitely help you with that. Now, after we go through all of that, I'm going to take ...

you into the city and we are going to talk about molding shaping and more importantly, recognizing that light. We're gonna go through available light, but we're also gonna go over created light. But here's the thing with the creative light, we are going to use one light. We are going to keep it super simple from the beginning until end. Now, I know so many of you do not live in a big city. Trust me, I understand that. So guess what? Not only am I going to do the city and urban look, but we're going to go into a forest and I'm gonna rinse and repeat everything that I did in the city and we're gonna bring it directly into the forest. So if you do not have that big Chicago city, we're gonna go through trees and all of those different things. So any environment that you're in, you're gonna be able to use those same techniques and after we go through all of that will bring everything back in and we'll go over some super simple editing techniques. We'll start with the raw file and then we'll end it end it with the finished result. The final thing that you'll have is how to create dramatic looking images with the most simple techniques, not only with your thought process, but also with the lighting that you use. I hope you guys are excited as I am to begin this entire journey. I really want to bring all of you into my world because this is the first time that I've done it and I'm so happy so join me as we go through this entire process and I will talk with you guys soon. Thank you so much.

Class Description


  • Recognize and shape good quality ambient light for dramatic highlights and shadows.
  • Use your existing surroundings as light shaping tools to enhance available light.
  • Utilize minimal camera equipment (one strobe) to create dramatic looks that mimic multiple equipment set ups.
  • Post process with tips to enhance the dramatic light captured in camera.


During this course Audrey Woulard will do a deep dive into how she uses light in the most simplistic way possible to create dramatic looking images. We will heavily dive into capturing ambient light, and utilize just one strobe and one modifier. No other photography equipment will be used. In this class you will learn to recognize many different types of light that photographers may overlook. You will be shown how to recognize light at different times of day and what it can do. We will go over how to utilize our natural surroundings to bend and shape light to create different looks that are often created with multiple light set ups. In addition to finding the light, we will go over different interpersonal skills that will help guide your subjects to setting up the shoots for the desired outcome.

We will explore different locations and will showcase how light changes depending on the different surfaces it is shining on and how to use that to your advantage when photographing people. How light reflects color and how to use that to your advantage for a dramatic look in the most simplistic way. How to use just one strobe light to aid in your light exploration to work with ambient light to achieve different looks. In order to have control over shaping light, you need to be able to control the photo session. Where applicable, we will go over different ways to help steer the photo session timing in your favor to have maximum photographic control.

Once the images are created, we will utilize Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Camera RAW to showcase tips and tricks to accentuate the light that was captured in camera. When we are using Photoshop it will be by hand, and there will be no actions used.


  • Intermediate Photographers who are wanting to learn how to use light creatively with a minimalistic approach.
  • Beginner photographers who are interested in how to combine ambient and created light.
  • Beginner/Intermediate photographers who desire to level up their creativity


Adobe Photoshop 2020
Adobe Camera RAW


Audrey Woulard is a portrait photographer, and she is a Nikon Ambassador. She has been a full-time professional photographer for the last 17 years photographing teens and their families. In addition to her portrait work, she also photographs select commercial assignments for brands such as Iams Pet Food and Pottery Barn. Audrey has been a regular instructor for Imaging, and WPPI for over a decade. Her work has been featured on the cover twice for Professional Photography Magazine. She has been featured in Rangefinder Magazine, InStyle Magazine, People Magazine, and US Weekly magazine. Audrey was awarded the Professional Photographers of America Vanguard Award for her sharing of talents and service that has enriched the profession of photography. She is the creator of AW Teaches which is a website dedicated to providing education to photographers. Audrey resides in Chicago with her amazing husband, and they are the parents of four young men that they are immensely proud of.


Michael A. Gruich Jr.

My goodness! This class is like a breathe of fresh air in the morning. Vey easy to follow along for some very amazing results. Really enjoy the friendly presentation, filled with tips and clear explinations for working with light using a minimal setup. Thank you Audrey

a Creativelive Student

Audrey brings together and simplifies divergent ideas in photography. Finding beautiful available light (based on direction and quality) on location is her first priority. She then perfects the light using a single strobe on her subject. Her style emphasizes shallow depth of field using fast primes and high-speed sync, and her post-production is minimal. She offers a pragmatic workflow and a creative philosophy that values getting out in the field and making photos. The reliability, ease of use, and affordability of the newest off-camera flash solutions make this kind of dramatic portraiture accessible to more artists.

Yo Pal

Wow! I love her non-complicated process and the stunning results! I can't wait to use all I learned from her shooting on location as well as her editing tips. Audrey has a great personality and is a teacher I would watch over again. Will search for more of her classes. Did not want the class to end! Yolanda