Skip to main content

The Portrait Lighting Challenge: Natural vs Studio

Lesson 9 of 29

Shoot: Natural Light Nude Continued Maisie & LaQuan

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

9. Shoot: Natural Light Nude Continued Maisie & LaQuan

Lesson Info

Shoot: Natural Light Nude Continued Maisie & LaQuan

so I really love shooting the black silhouette like this there are so many beautiful poses you can do for nudes um lying down okay you can get the out to the back off you can get them lying on their bag get the head side on you can get the here up you can shoot down which is really awesome but really all I wanted to do is create a lying silhouette a laying down silhouette and how I do that is I want you to scooch back my safe is I want to you from here to roll up onto this hip very gently and bring your knee forward stop I want you to turn your hands like this that's it and I want you to bring you a chin this way now if I now bring in a reflector I could get a really good shot in low light because she just looks amazing so I'll take it which window wherever my client is I am so if she's lying down I'm lying down if I'm not lying down on like this okay we're doing the reflector um just on her face straight out okay so when I've got her face looking at the camera I have liked to her face...

can you play swap your legs so that that knee goes back that one stop and slide back a little bit more notes are at uni not just your front knee that's it that's it yes and the reason I put her hands here in here albert ford is to create triangles when I create triangles whose shoulder pops up the reason I swapped the knees have a look at the difference lift your chin up to me a little bit maybe that said all right and that's little kept post that I always use this pose also looks beautiful on on a forty five degree um scope for may so I'll leave her in this in this pose and I'll move around here as opposed to having him over and then what I do is I stretch this out so albert goes out and I want you to sleep that's a girl so I arranged the here so it looks like sleep so pull back you're here on the side that's it and always looks beautiful when you're doing form or node to have that movement in the here so in other words to have this beautiful sleepy bed here you know and then it cascades down and now she's got this beautiful silhouette we've got just a soft light she's two meters away from the window and it's really really lovely now if you're going to shoot down you've got two options you can go on to life you um in focus this way or you can just take the shot have a look take the show I have like a million works just the same way so now felix doesn't need to be in there because it doesn't matter can you just close your lips relax them and keep them closed so I'll do a shot like this and then I'm going to cut down the light a little bit more because when I do this in film noir what you going to say is the shape of her body is will be highlighted and finish up so she's going to look painted see at the moment that light's hitting her tummy which looks odd so I'm going to make my life whole smaller felix can you come across yeah that's it it's nice and flat now I'm going to shoot it with less light they're okay it's probably not gonna make a lot of sense to you on there because until they open it and photo shop and adjust it you're not going to see what I'm going to see so I'm just going to take it and you'll see me photo shop it so it's really the most bizarre thing sometimes I see fashion shoot and I think that must have been a mistake you know when you see light and you think there must have been a mistake but they made it fashionable and then first it was a light flare and then it became fashionable to actually have the circle flip and your photograph and then all of a sudden photoshopped you could edit which was hilarious well I feel like when I shot all these underexposed nudes I did it on film maybe twelve years ago I accidentally under exposed a whole lotta nodes shooting in the black background and they came out really dark and grungy and I started to work scan them and work them in photo shop and they looked so amazing it's now my thing so it looked ugly when you're shooting it but it just draws so beautifully so that's just something I do I do my form there okay stay there no stay there stay there ok this hand goes across the body yeah and your shoulder comes forward now just remembering one thing when you talk to your client so when you stop cheating from innit your clients always get into a post it's entirely them and it looks really natural and really wonderful and you just did that so bring you attend to may I'm just going to take a shot from your chin around a little bit further sorry I did that underexposed that todo little wee baby smile and you let's just say what you said about kind of that mistake you made that lent that led to you doing this kind of an expert I think that's all I'm trying to enable with trying some lights and you'll just make mistakes and you'll figure it out that's how I learned to and if I can just give some people the confidence to try because that if you tell yourself you can do it you're never gonna do it but I think we shot we're showing like simple things can I also just a great tip because I know what photographers alike I teach posing for a living if if that was my strongest thing posing would be it and I feel like when you have somebody who is lean and can move well someone like macy you're not worried about posing today you're worried about lighting then once you've mastered your sit up and you feel really good about it then go to a normal body client know because the thing is is shortness and weight makes a difference and how we should and the final result and I always say you don't have the practice on a professional model but just someone who's a comfortable in front of the camera not awkward bay somebody who doesn't mind taking their clothes off and you can shoot on lots of angles because you will screw it up and see while you're thinking about lighting you'll screw up the posers so make sure it's someone that is comfortable enough to do their own see me posing that is the best way to practice for riel clients who are less comfortable in front of the camera or shorter you know your career can I have a reflected in here just because I want to reference the shot all right so I feel like in this setup there's pretty much so much room to do a little bit more fine addie stuff um I've done some amazing body work with nodes nico I do have three nudes that I talked about directional light you can sit comfortably if you want to sit up like may that's far hang on I want t to shoot the christmas campaign here um this where you were and then just where your face is thank you you want to take it sure so I feel like with the silhouettes and the body works the guy in the centre has jane's and underwear on so he's not note the arabs were in complete shed over I dodge them back and finish up so I used a half technique of a silhouette in the film the the girl on the left I shot on the black v flint and dropped in a concrete wall behind here because I felt like that was a little bit more finite you can't see her face the difference when you can't see a face and a node is then it becomes a nude you know not a shot of may see it means you can sell them if you take a really good one you cannot sell a client shot without their permission it's unethical unless they're being paid to be a a nude model I don't feel like you should ever say look att nude on campus by surprise and then the client one day's like you've sold five hundred copies of that even though I owned the copyright it would be unethical for me to sell a nude if renewed that I've sold I've actually photographed them as a nude model you got a model release always never ever shoot without a model release the directions with this is if they're comfortable on the floor here and they're wearing a g string this girl on the right was wearing a g string she couldn't do that pose without ajay strength well she wouldn't have done that post without registering because I was shooting right up her clicker right I'm there and her body is there and she would not have lainey comfortably without underwear on and I don't want to look at it so I just feel like you know well a lot of I feel like a lot of my male friends shoot nudes because it's like yeah and nude ladies and I was like you know the whole point is the listener they are but the more nude you can make them look a bit of your shots become they just moved better but you must do this wherever she's positioned right now so when you talk to them they always do cool poses so look at how she's naturally sitting amazing tweak it bend your elbows a little bit move around them because the cool thing about nudes is when somebody is lying on the floor and there in like a little cat position or they're all killed up for their body is killed up walk around to be a body you will be amazed at what you see not just with light but with the shapes of the bodies can make look at black and white magazine look at their you know amazing nudes that people do and photograph them for your clients and then do it with people that look good and then put it on your failure and you'll be blown away by how many people want it now when you look at my nudes none of them are really nude you don't see nipples you don't see crutches you know and a lot of the finance nude is very special for the girls I mean we went to a boy face we saw a lot of penises and it was just kind of like in your face and it was just kind of like right and then all of a sudden the girls it was just all full frontal and I was like okay it was a face if you're going to sell portrait you know do their nude isc but not really and you'll be blown away but how many people love this ok and they could put up a facebook they can um do we have time I want to bring on laquan and decent boy posing in the cellar wait light very different again how we post the boys girls are all about the forty five with their face back to the light the boy's totally different so this's what I do in my studio I keep talking to my client because right from this moment she's bean quite comfortable with me in her lingerie so as I talked to her I walk up to him and I just I don't look in here and I just keep talking and they slip into the road and then I keep talking to them like it's nothing unusual because you know you have to have a lot of bravery to take your clothes off in front of somebody and I respect that I respect that so much in my clients and secondly one day I walked into my studio office and one of the girls had a particularly bad shot off a woman in launch array and I heard one of my makeup out of say she shouldn't have been wearing this and I looked at her and I said you do not have the right to say that we must give the our clients full respect even when they're not there you know I photographed a sixty eight year old woman in a see through miche suit should she have been wearing that you decide but who am I to tell her not to she spent three thousand dollars is it in my polio hell no but that doesn't matter we must give our clients the respect they just sit and that is very important when you doing anybody with okay you can go that way macy I'm going to bring this fief let their cup john I'm going to bring in laquan we're gonna go back to the previous set up yes kindof yes all right guys take the clothes off easier than girls do I make sure gonna photograph laquan and jeans and boxes so it's really just about him having a shoot off um I'm gonna try you could just leave it down there I'm going to try and get as much off his body lines if they can sew it about putting more shadow onto his body not less so with macy I wanted to capture her face in the light and then I wanted to capture her hourglass going this way did you notice that so it was all about the kickback but this is the difference a woman's center of gravity is in the same town is in an hourglass so her booty goes back and his shoulders we create their half the east with the boys your center of gravity is higher and their chest so they're the triangle we always try and make them smaller bigger to smaller so if you step back there the same forty five degree angle I can't now go into that light okay I'm loving this light it's just so perfect seattle all right now what I'm gonna do is I'm going to show you something I've got no reflective cause I don't need it he doesn't need it I'm going to take this shot here okay I am six forty at two point eight I'm a thirty some getting too slow cause I heard the clunk I'm dropping my experience it down now watch this stay they're going to have this taylor never together with a portrait client because they look at the screen and they don't need to see an instant images and they don't need to see your mistakes either it's the only one thing I think portrait photographers I cannot do that commissioned photographers do now what I want you to do is keep your put your feet apart and that gives you more movement in the hips I want youto stay anchored with your heat with your hips and your fate and I want you to tune your upper body towards may stop and you would not do this with girls never never because when I'm here my body position would be there if I was to open this up it makes me other but you get it I see it and you know it's just another way it's natural for men okay if you keep your hips there and just turn your shoulders towards me it's quite natural for men to do that on and look at that light that's hitting him now it's just beautiful let me take another shot all right at the moment I've got this pretty wickedly called contrast that's hitting him it's very dark very light give me an apple box in front of him bring your knee up onto here no foot sorry bring your foot to you neat up that's it all right lean forward with both your arms that's it they're in there all right cave in and your chest which makes in bring your shoulder wider that's it perfect all right he's in hot like now but I'll take a shot and show you I'm bringing his arms in because I find when you put really masculine light on men their head stated their hands go really strong and I love that you know you get veins in their hands and you get the muscles in this position hey can I need a little bit more light so white reflected john half reflector his one and that's gonna bounce light into his tummy yeah so I see the light bouncing tune it towards him john yeah stay there okay I don't want you to go like that I want that I just want you to give me strong I'm saying you can't I'm gonna shoot it nice and low I've got a little white reflector in there I met two point eight I'm two stops under its too far ok here's a good listen I've got a really beautiful contrast here but it's too dark so all I have to do is bringing a bigger white reflector okay and this is where doc doc here black background bringing more light and open it up as opposed to changing your sittings because all I'm going to do a soften this light my second go to is going to be getting him away so I would actually take him away from the window but let me to see if the big reflector weeks first beautiful all right still haven't got enough and here I'm gonna open this up I need you to go back stay in that position and just lied bet that's a little bit more and bring your body around this way so that you're forty five pettitte stop now I can see his torso is torsos and the light the cake dropped those shoulders down and ford and just bring your chin around that stop that's it okay take a reference there because I'm getting a really good reading so they're so they're is turning forty five so I did that with him when we were uh in the gray shirt remember we turned him slightly towards the light gave a great silhouette it lightened everything up looked really beautiful and I really like this good just closer to your faith make it count for christmas twenty fourteen alright perfect thank you can we do it with the um we have less light always at a different thing way yeah I was still tweaking it I feel like this is a bit of light um why don't we get voice to take the shit off again the girl's family money you know I very really photograph men without a woman client so it's either a husband or a boyfriend um and it's something that if species if they've got uh you know a body they work out and they want to capture it I very really have a man say he doesn't want to take your shoes off when I asked him if he wants to take a shit off again I show beautiful shots of guys with no shirt on and the girls always liked honey you should do that you should do that it just adds on and they buy it so I feel like it's um it's always an ed on um I don't really do boys lying down there isn't many lying down positions that don't look feminine it doesn't make sense so I don't do it but I do do positions like this with nude males or in boxer shorts but I'll just show you I did kind of stuff if you pull us back these look really good I actually sold a lot of these images to apple boxes because I feel like it's always good to have people propose on a platform I photographed a really coal nude male and he waas in that position there with big muscles and it just exam just to hit this name yeah side the front me up so if you go onto your side you have to take any clothes off just to end this way yeah and just lead by fate that's it yeah that's exactly right and I just did this beautiful nude off him killed up so there's this in my country we have the sculpture and it's called the shame to warrior and he's rolled into a ball and he's got big muscles in his next forward and it's just a very beautiful image and it's very different the posing is very different the women's nudes are differently more sexualized they're differently more beautiful but I find that when you do do body studies with men if you're gonna do bodybuilders oh that was a big business for may I used to market myself to this jim and I used teo get all the bodybuilders coming the day before they competed so they were stripped to write down and sprayed I would do all of these shots but I would get them to flex the first thing I get them to do is show me their routine and their routines are ugly their routines a bodybuilder poses and then I would get them to do all this cool stuff so just bring your chin down that teo and chin up now that's it this way now just cut eyes down but nothing else and I would just get them to move around and I would just photograph them you know in the light and just see where they looked really good and make them flexing muscles and I just kind of wood stick back and I do you know verticals horizontal is whatever and I just started to realize that there's so many cool things she could d'oh in this light in the silhouetted light with a male body because the males get this beautiful strength and I just think it's really yummy really call always sells especially if there's a wife or a girlfriend any questions you can relax there were there's one question here from don seventy six who's wondering says I just grabbed a couple of mixed race she's white husband is black how do you balance the light in the same shot with couples of different races and skin tones yeah look what it is that is challenging because what you've gotta watch is if you meet her to the lighter skin it's like meeting to a white backdrop to a darker backed up you've got tio hit somewhere in the middle but you've just gotta watch the back of the camera ok the first time I stood somebody in a black dress on a black background um my meter and the camera was like not enough light none left lights that over exposes the vice so I showed it to stops under in order to allow for that because it's reading the amount of dark and the image so it's confused so you just gotta look at the back you camera and no your camera well enough that what you're saying matches what you getting on your computer you know I think I have a question of studio audience so when you're shooting with this little sliver of light and I want more contrast I'm putting the subject closest like the closer you get the harder your highlights go in the dock your shadows guy then you've got to remember if you're focused on the I and the eyes in the hot eye if you focus on the front I you're going to get the shadow I and your exposure's gonna shift rapidly so you have to choose which I and then adjust your exposure accordingly by what you're saying so I want to show you this now chin this way so in this position his face on the side is darker than the side if I expose for that little hot spot on his lift his right cheek um I'm going to get a lot harder shot then if I do it to the site because if I try to expose it to that side it's gonna brighten it up yeah so make sure that you choose which I choose a middle highlight if you can because you'll get a better exposure instead of it blowing out all dark felix can start setting up because I feel like what I've done is pretty much exactly what I did this morning I've just chopped the light down at the most tips I can really given the situation is really now how imposing those lights can come back kind of yuen why is posing important because posing to me is the mood off a photograph the mood of a photograph is what the person is doing you know and when you nail down your posing and you are posing for a style or your posing for a genre or your posing for it to look a certain way can we have the lights back on then the reality is is that you're getting this I'm perfect image that will sell to your clients so learned those silhouette poses and lune how the body looks so good in the light and remember that however you're photographing if it's a girl make her flatter her body make her look feminine and beautiful and long and lane as you can and if it's a guy make him look angular and strong and powerful is that not the two things we all aspire to bay and if you do that with posing and just soften that light down cut it down you just take beautiful images that people want to buy and they're always images that when I put them up on facebook or I put them up on my blogged that I get a massive reaction from massive is the beauty stylized celebrity and I put a downturn there and I'm home and host four thousand life's thank you very much you know it was kind of like well it and didn't play with it imagine that with a newborn baby and his big strong chest imagine that silhouette with a pregnant woman doing the demi poth imagine you know and think about it it's all the same just come to my window just come to me oh maybe one more question you can talk a little bit towards lighting for people with different body types do you light differently based on the size or the shape of the person nobody posed differently I never liked anybody differently because as you can see my life source has not changed what I'm doing is putting people differently so the body looks flattered and amazing and there are more poses you could do with a longer leaner body then with a shorter wider one but doesn't mean that there aren't good poses you can do it just means they're unless poses you khun dio that's why models along a name so we have about fifteen minutes after all aren't till the end of the site well I'm actually happy to go to break okay unless it's more questions I'm happy to go to break and let felix have more time because you know we're going to do some beautiful soft recreations of this light off and I really want to win this because to me this is something that I feel like I can shoot with beautiful soft studio light okay we do have another question in the studio audience right can I just say I'm like forgetting to even look at the light because I'm so fascinated by what you're doing with the poses it's a quite amazing so thank you learning do we have a question the studio I had the stupid questions yeah when we're talking about exposure um when you're when you're talking about bumping up the exposure dropping the exposure I always think of exposure compensation but when I'm looking at the screen it's changing your speed so yeah I just talked with my shutter speed up and down and the only thing that moves when I ship manually okay I'm sit on too pleasant more of a semantic thing than that I'm misunderstanding when you say yeah okay it's just that when I say I'm just going to change my exposure I'm moving my shutter speed slow own faster so when I say two stops under I take it when in my camera I can see the meter on zero and then I just shoot my shutter speed to the left to take my dial to the left which is two stops under tow what I'm seeing so is that different than exposure conversation on manual yeah so if I change because if I change my exposure compensation it doesn't change my speed yeah that's range you know change your shutter speed aperture and I s so just don't worry about all those other good cameras okay I've never changed anything I try not to change two point eight and they say I've got two people in the shine o change that to four I try not to change my eyes so until it gets down to thirty and I'm going clown clunk then I go up and I'll go up to sixteen hundred if I have to but that's very rear like one percent of the time I change my shell speed all day because the light variation unnatural light is huge it's going to go up and down and up and down where is these guys they had my shutter speed at one twenty five the whole time because we had ah light source that we knew where mine goes thirty one fifty thirty two eighty thirty one fifty it just bounces up and down I'm just troubling my shutter speed okay we've taped the shattered ill on commercial jobs took taped it so no one can change it well yeah I suppose because you can knock it quite quickly

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.