Skip to main content

The Portrait Lighting Challenge: Natural vs Studio

Lesson 18 of 29

Post Processing: Sue's Style

Sue Bryce, Felix Kunze

The Portrait Lighting Challenge: Natural vs Studio

Sue Bryce, Felix Kunze

Starting under


Get access to this class +2000 more taught by the world's top experts

  • 24/7 access via desktop, mobile, or TV
  • New classes added every month
  • Download lessons for offline viewing
  • Exclusive content for subscribers

Lesson Info

18. Post Processing: Sue's Style

Lesson Info

Post Processing: Sue's Style

I really can't wait to see how you were going teo split and do your alien skin because I worked out any and skin on my own but because I'm not sort of the geeky version like he is he knows everything about alien skin which is kind of late but um but what I do want to do is reattach first maybe a couple of the hollywood shots so let's just look through them and see what we're getting I adore this image I think it's absolutely beautiful it's definitely a starlet that's gorgeous now so I'm going to open there I'm just gonna jump my recovery out just to take the boot off the highlights on her face I pretty much do that to every image I shoot anyway because that's about um how my camera shoots and I think that's beautiful maybe that is even better so I'll go with this one and then um I absolutely or this shoot I could have just keep going and going and going so I love this it's remarkable and it's actually quite current I think um I'm going to choose that image where her face was more turne...

d away because I feel like it's a little bit more in keeping with the hollywood theme and hollywood glamour and I adore this um I think that is beautiful as well so I'm gonna open a few images and I'm going to re attach them and then felix is going to make six them up make them look I'm absolutely amazing make them look hollywood so you said you had a great story about any skin so while I'm here do you want to tell that so when I was talking to the guys the aliens khun guys they one of the things I'll show you is the grain options and alien skin on the sharpening and I said you have this like this polaroid grain option you have the way the grain comes out if you tried and photoshopped it doesn't necessarily always look good and everything on alien skin was just perfect I said why is your grain better than photo shop on dh told me little story that the soft alien skin software is has been continually in development since the beginning days of photo shop how long are the whole time yeah so a long long time and they were doing stuff when there wasn't even digital so this software they've they've gone deep they're not just laying something on top there really they have advanced grain options that come from ah long long long line of research a lot of experience it's not just your someone threw together a quick piece of software to satisfy you know amateurs it's really I have never used anything other than photo shopped for pro level work and alien skin is the first piece of software that I'm using in that fashion so I use exposure for and then it went to five and now it's going to six with boca so that's a bonus do use anything other than exposure no so really we use alien skin exposure five it's clear to make that distinction because when you look you might want to buy other bundles but this is what we're hyping on about your making selections I am and I love them I love them all what do you reattach them all do you choose based on how you can retouch images when you do you read it in terms of what you choose what do you mean like I sometimes get a bit lazy and I go right this image is more beautiful but I'm going to go with this one because it's going to be easier to retouch no I go for what is the most beautiful thing I just let myself away giving myself away there dirty secrets okay the first thing I noticed with all of the images that we'd shot in the hollywood shoot before is those nose and chin shadows that we're getting from their ari lights there is a dark shadow here under her nose which is the shadow I want but there's another little ghosting mr shadow that doesn't belong there so I reached retouched that out when we look at this one that no shit around there is beautiful and strong and it's fitting to the lighting in the era but the second ghosting shadow is not and that's coming from the bottom light that was putting light into her dress esso I would re touch that out so I went with all the hollywood images I did what I always do first before I start doing anything I make their faces look beautiful um I go and in with my clone stamp and I pretty much made all of my beautiful hollywood shots flawless through their face and skin and it didn't take much cause like felix said the ari lights just hide a multitude of sins and it was that quick so I retouched the faces in under a minute maybe thirty seconds I went and had a look around and I also spent a little bit of time retouching backgrounds when I retouched backgrounds I clone at sixty to eighty percent because I have a little bit more freedom and then I went around and just cleaned up anything on the dress and if the sequence had too many bright sparkles I just brought them down just gently and it required a very little amount of retouching because he's got this bright hot like to her face and it's absolutely beautiful and I love it so this is the image that I'm going to save and I'm going to give this to felix and he's going to make it more hollywood I'm actually may just put a little dodge in the eyes always using my dodge toll ten percent around the iris just to lift the whites but not too white and just live it little golden brown in her eyes all right so I'm going to save this you're going to give it to me ana yes yes peace took I'm gonna call it felix right so anybody want to ask me any questions about how I climbed it so quickly while I'm transferring this o r anything about how you so amazing my biggest question come on kid I will head it that was the answer I was looking for there we go it's hard work how long have you been doing for the shop on I tested the beta vision of very shop and it wasn't called for the shop what was it called uh what was it called now it was called color something photo something and then it became finish up and I said to everybody don't worry it's not going to take on really bad e I bought martin evening is an author that does theis photoshopped tomes giant books about first shop on dh I actually thought that and I sat and I was like I'm going to do on our first education a day and I sat and learned all about layers one our time now you guys have this creative life courses that you can buy instead of buying the book for thirty bucks by the course and they'll introduce you two everything you need to know about photo shop so that's a resource I didn't even have and I think once you get the basic just of all the layers and everything which is what people get confused about it kind of runs away from you once you get the basics everything else becomes kind of much simpler it's a funny thing there's a million different ways to photo shop so you know tips and tricks really just come down to personal choice and what you like most of it is trial and error and I feel like most photographers nowadays is spending a lot of time on photo shop more time on the shop and facebook then I'm actually shaking all the big thing is also don't zoom in it you know three hundred percent and try to retouch the skin that's uh it's not going to get you very far okay so while felix is loading there I'm going to keep retouching so I'm actually going to do this little highlight I'll take my highlight from a left side of her face and just being there and nice and slowly I'm just gonna pop that up I really go along that line of the shadow on the face it is a hard line and I want to smooth it out and I just want to flick along here and just clean up a little bit of skin I tap around I'm using sort of the pressure on my welcome tablet is something you cannot show people because you cannot feel how hard I'm pressing and remember I always always always clone at one hundred percent hope a city with the flow at thirty percent not the other way around you're photo shop will open with the other way it'll open it thirty percent flow and I'm sorry thirty percent capacity and a hundred percent flow and I swap them around and you'll get a nice even soft brush nice quick skin retouch and remember this image mehdi was lane but remember the image that we saw was significantly altered around this area there was no way even for a lean body and this she was another foot taller could I have made her look more slim from the side in this position so I lesser copy and paste command tea right click warp and I can just take this area back just be aware you are stretching pixels and you are stretching sequins so just look for any movement there and is always once I find the exact shape that I want so I'm just tucking in that waste I'm going to go to my erasing tool on that layer at nineteen percent and just scoot back said that I've got riel pixels coming through there and then my only stretch is really keeping their outer line and with the veronica lake image of tamara I actually highlighted her breast line because I noticed the hollywood images were all about the boobs and so I kind of went up like this and made the boob line more prominent because it seemed to be more in the era they were very pointed brows yeah rocket boobs and and just sort of launched it off a little bit so that's where I am there but this image really needs nothing else other than I'm going to go to my healing tool and I may be just going teo touch down a couple of the really bright sequence because they make you look and you don't want any distractions from that beautiful face so can I ask you a question sure so we talked in the pre show today about zooming in and the fact that you were telling the students in the bonus videos about not zooming in more than a fist for the face can we talk about why you don't zoom in closer yeah because it's really really great I see a lot of people working up in here like this and what you're now retouching is this you're going like this uh this dot in this dot in this dot in this dot in this dart and you know you're working these tiny little dots but all I'm looking at is if I take it down so her face is about the size of my fist and then my clone stamp is the size ofthe my fingernail like that then I'm cloning light now it doesn't wait for commercial retouching because you literally have to create each poor but for what we do it's so fast because all I'm doing is not I don't want to change the light on her face so I go up and down the highlights and up and down the shadows without altering um without altering the shape of her face or flattening her out too much so I just I'm hitting around all the ages I'm retouching from the highlights out I'm re touching the shadows down from the lightest part out and I don't end up giving here that flat face looked that so many people do when they are going from the shadows into the highlights inflicting all the highlights down soon as you take a highlights off her fat face will look weird and you see that a lot and badly retouched images or what I call bruising when you are putting too much cloning into an area and you're not really working on the shape of her cheek and then they you know know what it looks like right now I call it bruising it's obvious to me when I say very thing and I'm like ugh bruising and I know that they're usually working on a small clone stamp on a big face and you just don't need to you need thio work with more speed and a little bit more excitement so that you're free to go and enjoy your families and the beach and stuff like that and not just sitting at photoshopped hearing you hear out after twelve hours of retouching pores how about you felix when you're doing your retouching do you do that same strategy to something different yeah I used to sit for hours and just be this ridiculous perfectionist that doesn't work I mean on commercial jobs higher re toucher and you should have the budget if you're doing high end but you know for likes who said don't zoom in too far and just be careful less is more at the beginning I used to do my adjustments and then turned everything down by fifty percent because I just was that you just go trigger happy lovett um felix does shoot out a little more editorial and commercial than I do you do get the option to have professional rita cher's portrait photographers don't say much but you re not your input every twelve yeah because you're goingto kill some of them so much of that budget by just hiring a retouching but I had a book cover job on dh so meaning you get to keep that money if you're recapturing wick say exactly retouching I think go to the re toucher when you've got too much work that you can't do it yourself and that's when it makes sense you know when you or if I'm not as advanced to sue would be so if I have advanced a request some clients I send it off to the retouch and I charged client for it but that's really in commercial work where you're you know doing advance work on poor church I don't think it's necessary and this was our cheap flights which I love it's given them or darker shadow which I'm going to have to remove but remember we were at the testing cheap light macgyver phase so so you you picked the image that look best based on her expression and everything I just enter pose I thought was really beautiful it's differently got this moustache which I'm gonna have to eliminate so but that's may I've done my top four images which I love but your your initial emotional connection to the image when you're choosing it is more important than the lighting anything yeah you know I'm I'm really naughty I know photo shopped so well that I will fix him adjust and finish up and I know that the purest movement is about you should be getting it right on camera but then I also not only shoot live so I've got to talk shoot and I don't have time to make mistakes on live tv and fix them that I also I find that I don't always get perfect clients having my clients don't all look like med elaine so sometimes I got to do a lot more work just to get their body good to post them better you know you guys know how long it takes to really shoot um it's an interesting thing to stand up in front of a room full of cameras and do a live shoot that's for sure alex is gonna shoot something next he's going to show us some cold some cool lighting tricks and he's gonna shoot you in the next segment I think we're gonna put everything we want so far into like a really quick paced set up you know they were trying to convince me I mean I'm I think I'm convinced but uh when I have my next course then I think this one is the perfect steppingstone for kind of more advanced lighting so if if you get this one I'm just watching one hundred times and figure it out this khun b your bridge into doing that kind of getting into more advanced light and if you go to my website you'll have which we crashed yesterday you'll see twice some you'll see some of that work that has but more advanced light I didn't want to overwhelm people but I think what I'm going to teach is a gradual step into that can I well you're doing the next heavy got the image that you like yeah it's called felix yeah I have that is what I'm going to do a couple things because we're going to swap overto his computer now yeah so while you're doing that that's a beautiful image um can and that was when the strobe you know I haven't chosen these based on if they're strobe or natural and I really can't tell anymore okay so I just look through this and I went for that emotional connection what dough I like that's all I care about if I sat here and said oh this is no in the end of the day we produce a nice image that's all there is to it I wanted to show how I used alien skin I'm an aperture right now I chose thes three images and I wanted to show you katie here on the white balance on this is actually kind of weird to me and I if you were to take the the drop the tool to select the white balance and I would take it from something black like this that's what it's supposed to be however I'm going to go back to that I'm actually inspired by the kind of light of the the yellow tone on this it's very warm I think that evokes an era that I quite like so sometimes those in camera mistakes khun b inspiring to me so I'm going to take this image into exposure five went for that open plug in this loading very exciting and it already pre loads the last set up the last preview I used

Class Description

As a photographer, nothing defines your talent more than your ability to capture, create, and place the right lighting. Award-winning portrait photographer Sue Bryce joins studio lighting wunderkind Felix Kunze for a lighting for portrait photography masterclass covering the universally most-used portrait scenarios. You will learn how to work with both natural and studio light — so that you are prepared to walk into any environment and take a gorgeous photograph.

Sue, internationally-renowned for her ability to paint portrait subjects with the glow of natural light, will teach you how she sets up different lighting scenarios. Felix, who's worked with the top photographers on earth, will then take the reins replicating Sue's shot — all using artificial lighting techniques he has honed from experience. The two seasoned photographers will take turns shooting, each learning and asking questions of the other in real time.

By the end of this course, you will know how to shoot a variety of portrait styles, including the classic beauty shot, the silhouette, high-contrast glamour, the soft flat light portrait (master that back light!), and old-school Hollywood glamour — all with both natural light and artificial light.


Aliah Husain

I loved this course! I purchased it as a beginner photographer, unsure of whether to shoot natural or studio light and how to get the best results. After watching the course, I am fully confident in my ability to use both natural and studio lighting in my photography. And most importantly, I feel I have the knowledge base to be able to experiment with lighting in any situation. I am both grateful and inspired by these two amazing teachers sharing their technical knowledge and a personal piece of themselves. It is clear that they genuinely care about making their students better photographers. Thank you, Sue and Felix!!!


This is the best lighting class I've done, including several in-person ones. Covers so much, and the contrast between and dialogue about the two styles (natural vs studio) was so helpful. I didn't think there was anything at all negative about how Sue spoke with Felix, which a few reviewers said. Clearly she has great respect for him, which she sincerely says at one point, and explains why. Wonderful to see specifically how they both shape light. So many topics are covered. Loved Felix's clear and specific explanations about studio lighting. This class is worth every penny.

Wasabi Ben Kenobi

This was a fantastic introduction to studio lighting, and one of the best courses I've watched on Creative Live. I've only ever done natural light photos, but I want to learn more about studio lights because I'm creating a basement studio. I'm already a big fan of Sue's approach to portraiture. Now I'm a fan of Felix's soft lighting approach, too. In this course, he demonstrates how to replicate natural light portraits with a simple lighting setup. With a big scrim, a strobe or constant lamp, and v-flats, you can do so much! I'll be watching this course again.