Skip to main content

The Portrait Lighting Challenge: Natural vs Studio

Lesson 4 of 29

Shoot: Natural Light Portraits - 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

4. Shoot: Natural Light Portraits - LaQuan

Lesson Info

Shoot: Natural Light Portraits - LaQuan

I'm going to bring in our boy because this is very different when we bring in our boys we like boys differently than we like okay it's not about the flat light to the face and I want you to come and sit on there but you can drop that vast all right down that's laquan laquan made everybody all the way down way to go on some questions coming and there's a little bit of confusion about mita ring and when you're talking about meeting for the eye what do you mean two meters for the ices tg photo wander I'm not sure I understand the concept of meeting on the I is it the iris the people the whites I thought we were supposed to meet her for skin well what I do is my focal point in my light meter and I'm focused on the eye so that's really my light reading is really coming from the eye like I only focus on the I and it's reading the light that's hitting the face and I mean it you just look at them final result and see if it works or not right that's true I don't look at the back of the lcd just...

don't make the mistake of being this kind of photographer because you know you need to be with the person and so I'm watching in the camera and I only look at the back very briefly just to make sure I don't need to chop down or chop up you know I mean it's just something you should stay connected to the person if you can all right now we've got a boy in our light shell ok and right now we've got a white light shell and we've got the black side and then we've got a gap of about one point three made us I'm just going to take a picture of his fights just like this to show you the amount of light on his face okay now I'm gonna take the same shot but I'm going to take it up to uh is about here one stuff and uh okay so boys look better without light on their face girls look good like that okay I would never do that to a man's face I want him to look angular in muscular okay a woman wants to look soft in rounder and a man wants to look angula in muscular it's very intriguing that we are attracted to angular bodies and we try to be angular ourselves because we're not and it's one of those things that when you see it it makes a big difference so john if you shut down this leaflet just tow a half black so just close that side what's gonna happen is the client is going to get a totally different light on his face and it's going to suit him turn this way just to touch and I've to may now right now I'll just focus on his eye I'm kind of one stop under so I'm starting to get quite low in my shell a speech but I won't go on forty no hand held and so now he's going to get a very strong light on his face which is met suit him way vita okay now I'm just gonna stay there and I'm just going to drop down my exposure and do it again now it's gonna be even better so just watching the light that's coming onto his face watching it like you guys suit that but that is strong and six and it's very different so what I do a lot with male poses is I tend to notice katie was on a high still so it was all about making katie's body long and will away and beautiful and slim but the guys we want to make them wider shorter and wider and stronger with stronger light so I would put one knee up but I'm not going to elevate it obviously I don't want the knee shot you know that hey I just want it enough so that when he brings his elbows out but now I want you to not sit so straight you're sitting very beautifully that's it in a soon as he drops into his chest his shoulders get wider all right his shoulders get wider everything gets stronger he's in beautiful light but imposing him slightly towards this light source right because because I'm not putting a reflector there so I actually need a little bit more directional light on him and let's take a shot of it so that there is pretty much I mean everything about it look one obviously has the most beautiful bone structure door and cheeks so and lip so he looks incredible in this light but I will never photograph a woman like that not in a million years and then what I'm gonna dio is I'm just gonna drop my expression down a little bit more now he's really strong check this out I'm shooting low I'm making his shoulders his arms that bigger I've got lots of contrast in there I'm shooting it to stop sound that haven't changed six forty two point they can't do not change it I do not change it so towards the middle of their body to make them look bigger with hey slain I should anybody layne below their eye line in anybody curvy above their eye line and there are line being his eye in relation to my camera so that his eye line there if he's a bigger guy I would probably just be there to slow him down making his face the focus and getting in to push his chin forward alina body I go below the eye line and that is that lends toe I okay and wherever he is I am so if he's sitting I'm kneeling he's sitting on the floor I'm sitting on the floor if he's lying down online down and then I can just adjust what position I want to make his body looked better okay so any questions about boys or lights or anything because I'm nearly I'm nearly wrecked in my segment and I've created enough good standard shots for felix to replicate it but we should really do a chapel reference from what you doing a zafar like doing it on the run because I've noticed a little earlier that the sun came out I mean you weren't shooting at the time but what do you do when that when it happens and all of a sudden do you just change my eyes just just that quick and just be done with it okay and it could go like this this could be a normal show I'll just pretty now go click son comes out damn it quick dammit son just went back in again click click damn it okay wait changing really fast okay quickly it just it can go cloud bright cloud right let's keep going that's kind of everyone that does photojournalism that's the same thing they're just constantly on that dial just going all over the place yeah but the trick is to make sure that you're confident enough in your camera that you're doing that without being all like because you don't look like you know what you're doing the becky a camera if you're playing with the beckett camel the time you know in never sit there in front of your client in toggle through your images that don't do it that's the interested to see I'm making lots of mental notes here so great yeah that's interesting all right let's get you out of the set and then just do the plane reference just join me over here so our main focus this morning has bean but so you can already see sorry how much smaller and sharper that let's go it's like it's giving you so much more shadow than that soft light we had for the girl that was bouncing back you can see it on there you're really selling me that ball you gonna you're gonna walk out of this and buy some christmas decorations ee felix came to a signing felix keynes bowl on I'm gonna wear around my neck okay most important thing about what I do I think what I do is really basic okay like so basic in fact that I don't understand why a lot of people aren't really watching that and doing that I mean to me it is so easy and yet I don't see a lot of people replicate it very well may be it's just a style that I got stuck on that I haven't moved off yet but at the same time I confined images that a fifteen years old lit the same way that a store timers to me and my folio so I haven't followed any lighting trends other than natural only I've never been opposed to studio lighting I just don't know how to do it I'm goingto ask felix stupid questions because I'm not afraid to look stupid I'm not afraid to ask questions that everybody wishes they could ask but too shy to you know write it down or ask it because I don't mind doing that and because I actually want to learn how to do what I just did it in a dark room because if he can do that for me it will change my world now what we're going to do tonight is this afternoon we're going to retouch the images we're going to re tap mine and going to retouch felixes em do it side by side and then we'll show these tomorrow we'll show everybody the lighting maps that we both used to achieve the exact same look and I'm really excited about that so what questions do we have from me because once we go over to the studio lighting it's going to be all about setting up studio like so natural light is done for the morning and after lunch I do another natural light segment with more bodywork and just show a little bit more light sculpting with a with a finer light source so right now before we go to break is there any natural like questions anybody has for me this have a question from j hugs a lot who would like to know when you're shooting a guy and a girl together are you lighting the female more than the male are you trying to light them evenly I'm always like the female so the little baby reflector goes towards her and away from him so when it to couple I tend to turn him or her more towards the light source in him more on her side getting the contrast from her sideline questions here in the audience we can keep going with an extension of that if you're doing a mail in a field together and you typically like to do you know your shoots at two point eight how do you change okay to urinate I make it really really conscious happen ticket the eye line and exactly the same distance because I want to shit couples at two point eight I will shoot it up for and I will hate it but I do it I will never shoot a five point six ever or higher I shoud wide open because I love how it looks if he's a little bit out of focus I adjust the post but I mean to get them to line up the eyes yeah and my work is never shot it's never it's never shop and I don't care uh yeah it's not it's not obviously out of focus it's just not sure it's not sharp like you know you can get a flashlight when you conceive re eyelash and who wants to retouch that so just again a kind of clarification on the meter charlie I think it might be different for this versus studio and I want to make sure that we get that s o are you using spot metering matrix metering can you go over your camera setting was a little bit I don't know I've got a redbox I put it over the eye I love it what is it no idea I know the same I don't need so just go I just doesn't look right doesn't it you know that's I don't know I can't tell you when I kind of like that I mean can you talk a little bit about that approach just as I think it is it something to wrap this up a little bit for this segment approach to the technical versus non technical lighting there's a lot of experts in this field and the most interesting thing about all the experts is everybody has their own idea well I could ask twenty photographers to do something for me and photo shop and I be they all do it a different way and um I guess I grew up from the old school ofthe photography and winded it'll became our world that I just needed to make sure I was exposed correctly and that I was in focus so I never really learned anything about spot metering I my camera has a little read focal points that I shift around I toggle it okay and this is a big question that gets asked a lot if my client is sitting there I hold my bet that no I do not back button focus I don't understand why anybody would push two buttons when they've got one I just don't get it I've picked up cameras and that and I'm like it's not focusing yeah focuses on their arts back baton focus and like what does that mean they got what I focus here then I cook here and I go I just spoke with their own click there e when you're the only thing you're doing it's shot to speed I so an aperture and that's it that's how stubborn I am I'm like what if you know if you I just read this on facebook the other day I come from an era where if it don't it's no broken don't fix it okay so I prisoners down to move in toggle my focal point then I'm both focussing in metering in my little red box and always on the I what do you do for white balance um auto I don't shift my white balance because I process and roar and they use photo shop and I can change the white balance in photo shops that never worries me the only time I've ever had to adjust it was when I shooting in a room with tanks and lighting and I looked at the back of my camera went what is that way you have to go to black and white yeah yeah absolutely but can I just say that approach off it just all that matters to me is what works in the end is the same one I do for lighting and people ask you know soft books with and then like using all these verbs to describe it like is it soft or is it not that's all I care about what I liked about what felix did with the hollywood shoot was he set up the continuous lights and then he did exactly what I did he set up the continuous lights and then he pinned on fabric get taped on bits of gate of foam in heat molded the steer like the way I'm owed natural light and I've never seen anybody do that I just see them sit up lighting and say this is how you should like a portrait and I think that looks like a studio portrait looks like castle lighting

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.