Skip to main content

The Portrait Lighting Challenge: Natural vs Studio

Lesson 7 of 29

Shoot: Studio 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

7. Shoot: Studio Light Portraits - LaQuan

Lesson Info

Shoot: Studio Light Portraits - LaQuan

all right we dropped the seat down we took the reflector away john you can get rid of the b flat way to apple box down what kind of saying you were straight you put a um b flat here another one I put his right foot up onto there I'll just do this and then his albums came forward that's it in his hands relaxed christian was a little bit more facing sort of forty five degrees because I head him towards the light a little bit more and we took that away and then we block some light there and we shot first a face shot just to see the contrast on his face let's see john would you mind holding this so we have that so I would really have coming light out so can I put the black deflect there because there's too much light there's something bouncing from that side okay yeah well there's too much light on his left side right so if we put the black the flat wei have would not keep it open keeping open back that way and now go back and bring it around yeah that's it stop that's good that's good yea...

h yeah would you hold that all right just set up a little bit taller that's where you were for this face I'm not gonna blink them sorry yeah and I think what you need to open up your eyes a little bit a swell and we'll get that to what shadow in what are you on now two hundred yeah just go to the next click up yeah yeah because we're making that light source ever smaller so john let's restrict that I think you also soon moved him off from the light source a little bit e right so that's still a bit of diagnosis and find out oh I know what it is I know what it is so remember how we brought that light around ten around that way sorry remember how we brought this around to wrap into his face a little bit I'm going to bring it back so it's coming from that flat from that side good should be pretty simple right let's do that let's see I think awesome suit if he comes a little bit forward and we move this forward like this on just a little bit yeah I think that should do the trick we can also do this in a second that's still quite wrap isn't it let's um would you mind holding this just in front of face would you take a reference and after nico put up the original reference shot and then let's just compare right so I think that in this situation for once the studio light the creative life studio like might be creating a little bit of a highlight on the other side so that's one child you can put that down now you see it because the skin is also a little bit more reflective so it's catching more off that light he looks have a hypothetical question think quite a few people have asked us and brandon is asking you know talking about that we're mostly shooting head shots so if we were shooting full body how would things change I guess it depends on what if it was just a window shoot lighting up in entire body would you be bringing in more than one light or yeah you couldn't talk to that could stack them one above the other and shoot it through here we'll do kind of something like that with the backlit tomorrow why don't you just take that away and use the whole scrim okay instead of blocking the bottom perfect thank you that's great obviously you're warmer than may but that's fine so they knighted your body slightly this way and note to b that's it and then lean elbows forward relax here that's it okay I can't say way need some light I've held up my final I'm this kind of condition people to focus so it's still too soft for me on the back of my camera but oh okay that's what it is that's why we have assistance you need to go to one hundred twenty fifth of a second and then we can put the studio lights back on actually I slide right down yeah then you can focus lindsay we can put the studio lights back on that uh yeah so how's that coming for you okay hang on I have the simplest tip for you if you wanted to be harsh to just come here beautiful truth from here just if you move over this way away from the light you're gonna catch less off this right at your gear and bring your foot in the same way you would do with natural light get a blank then you see you're getting so much more of that shadow beautiful okay elbow out just a little bit more if I want to really match it so does do you understand what we did there yeah just moved away what do you think bring this hand down your left hand down just elbow back a little bit yeah al but not too far let's sit stay there and just bring your chin forward and that's at stake see how close I can get it feels good pretty good all right and then we finished with you're getting that same effect on the arms and everything onto yeah way talked about making your local buff so I controlled one window ended five different lighting variations he made a window from a strobe in a scrim and then did exactly what I did with bouncing life so it seems to me it was almost identical because we created the same seat up so I think if you can master just the just you know what by the flats they changed the cheap and cheerful they're easy to lift their easy too they're not easy to travel with but what you will learn by putting a deflect next to a window and then doing what he just did we'll just be so dynamic like I feel like that's all I would need in my studio it it it those two things and I get I get that those two things are probably a thousand dollars together but as a professional photographer I think I can invest a thousand dollars in my studio to make a thousand dollars on the shoot and um that's really quite amazing I find that quite amazing I hope we're going out we're going to show how to do this with just this set up but with just the silk on a speed line yeah yeah I feel like that was a question that a lot of people were asking was can you do this with speed lights at all do we have so it sounds like we are going to do it what's what most of us have grave thirteen minutes yeah we can do it okay good challenge oh we're going to switch it out now on doing yeah let's just do it let's just do it is that we do things here we're just gonna do it okay if I get to see stands with arms wei have yes thank you right let's just take we're gonna take this down sue just not gonna change too much I'm just gonna take this and I mean that perfect all right good night camera we're gonna bring it back yeah bring it back okay yeah that's going on we just just move that just slide it out of the way way see exclusive behind the scenes look into moving things hee I have to say when we did the hollywood shape in the whole time that we were doing here and make out the boys and the boys felix I was playing with light and he even his gloves because he's tightening lifting and carrying and then he had like you know assisting racing gloves with that you look very professional in those clubs do you know why I got them because in new york it's so bloody cold in the winter and you will live all this metal it's like just a big worse really good so can you hire light and how much does it cost does anybody know the average cost of what you would spend on hiring a strobe in a scrim anybody answer that question strove to how they were going to hire one they didn't want to buy when you just wanted to try a new studio going higher stroke does anybody give me any ballpark of what a rama in new york you can get a super pro pro photo flash head kids with a stand an umbrella for fifty dollars today onda scream will cost you fifteen something like that and you could shoot all day and all night you could just back it up you can shoot and hathaway it's three o'clock in the morning and return the equipment at eight right where's the silk we had a silk didn't I want to show we've got two curtains curtains good enough anything if it's white and see through it's gonna look a little bit different but we wantto yes sarah go ahead I didn't see as much contrast on yours compared to souse is that because like with strobe you didn't have the black on the back so it's bouncing off the ceiling and I think that was a little bit of that and you're very observant but I think the way suze shooting she's shooting for that end result when we compare I think that's a really beautiful way of actually showing one of those differences and you can see that in the light board as well there is a little bit of light coming from the top and you would have to kind of box in you know that like the sun was just coming in from one direction right the way you would handle that in this case would be the box like yeah yeah I mean if I had a studio I would paint the walls black because I don't want it bouncing around everywhere one I want you to jump out katie come back in because I want you to do the speed light with katie standing okay say we'll push that fastball that way kenny and stand in asia where and we need to ten that beto white a case that come towards me and just in that position think back that sue because um what you get with cheap light sources is you know the advantages diminish rapidly you can't shoot fast with this you have to wait for it to refresh because it's so limited that's one of the changes you know that expensive equipment lets you shoot like this it's very consistent in color temperature and all those other technical mumbo gumbo that the manufacturers tell you just get what you know about shoot with that until you know its limitations and then upgrade I think that's the best way if you don't know why some thing isn't good you can just use it you know if you fall you know the speed light just use that brilliant so we don't really have very good it's not the most obviously yeah I feel like I'm in a hospital it's not ideal looks very window but we can get that same but we're just trying to do in mcgee iva yeah eva with a bit of trial and error you could make this work right really army guy bring listen how much is the light the speed like that you're using doesn't want much of speed for ninety nine that's the same as a stroke yeah you can get a stroke it must be like smaller packs I actually use for my eye you shoot two lights from shooting on location and I use a pro photo and a speed like it's just easier packs in on dh it doesn't weigh much but it's the cheapest it's the cheapest stroll in the most expensive flashes at the same price yeah yeah yeah it goes up for strike strobes and goes down just right so the chief has made light would be a hundred bucks you could get one easily easily hundred fifty or so right let's get that white b flat back in here john katie would you mind holding onto my lollypop I can't bring myself to say it yeah through the same exact thing we'll try I don't know how it's gonna work but can you control how much can you dial down the speed like yes you can I've got on full power right now because let's just see how it goes right john we might just have to put the apple box under the other side on this and see nico maybe you could bring up the reference image that we used for kate shoot thank you katie hold on quick right so we might have to check our exposure and everything that's kind of ah light source off the same shape we just have to dial up your s o to make the camera authority on two fifty oh yeah let's take the no because then we get the studio just dial up your s o too even go to eight hundred I think really yeah that's the other thing the speed of light is less powerful so it doesn't overpower necessarily the studio lights and we don't have a modeling limp long chin towards me katie go in just a little way smile in your eyes got it see how that works so we're at eight hundred s o one twenty five shutter speed still it two point eight yeah let's let's do a reference shot because I want to say hey have a look at the shadow coming in on that way which means that there's a light source brighter on this side so we're picking out the creative life studio like dry stuff that I'll show them let's do a reference strong weaken show that yes it's brighter than the other light so because this isn't overpowering the studio lights we might have to the creative lifestyle your lights we have to turn them down yeah thank you I'm going to use a little trick if someone can hand me an iphone or anything like that to use as a little toy john hasn't got oh yeah you know for you I just want them from the bottom right john's orange sensation here and I'm just going to shine this light on katie so that suk and focus cut it you get a minute can you do it again and the nd filter still on right so I got it tell me when you've done it can't save anything replaced and don't think that this is some sort of a guy was set up because I have done this on some of the biggest sets I can't die so you see it's you're getting kind of a result that from a cheaper set of equipment but it's okay you could make this work beautifully if you mess around with it I not going to lie because you know we've got to get the truth of the matter is this the strobe is better that's what you pay for yeah so I mean the grovers better it's closer has definitely more depth to it this more you know shape around her back shoulder which means that the light was definitely better quality of life

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.