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The Portrait Lighting Challenge: Natural vs Studio

Lesson 6 of 29

Shoot: Studio Light Protraits - Katie

Sue Bryce, Felix Kunze

The Portrait Lighting Challenge: Natural vs Studio

Sue Bryce, Felix Kunze

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Lesson Info

6. Shoot: Studio Light Protraits - Katie

Lesson Info

Shoot: Studio Light Protraits - Katie

actually first off you're facing me that's a girl so just alba around your body kicking this about hands here that was just a bit love can get with that for the sake of fun should we do the reference shot next to each other I want to see if you got it right right off the bat has my lollypop vega sorry sue I'm just going to be really obnoxious and do this see that's that's the natural light and that's the yeah that's okay we're pretty close close good all right so now I need a reflector yeah yeah to the face let's see close hey sof naturally beautiful I would go up in an s o just a tad I think that's to what to what do you want one sixty one sixty oh I think you could go to two hundred or even two clicks oh my goodness I know we're approaching what you really want sorry I think I'm doing a northern english accent that's when I get excited I don't know why I didn't grow up there um right golf and I like christo or something no that's let's oh pet can I make you a carpet a carpet tio you ...

are so now she's at s o two hundred little baby smiled on katie yes what you call eureka moment makes me feel a woman suffer wow I can't love that all right what's our next shot but I think I did a very cool and what have I done here that was when I took I've got the big white showed it with the black yeah but I don't think I need to do that if you just hold your elbows and lean back from the katie this hand goes underneath let's go on to your hip actually your left and that's it up underneath though that's it and push your chin towards me so interestingly enough what I'm what I struggle with is I'm used teo sorry feel quite the reflector I'm used to so you can put it now and I take another one chin this way a little bit more so we get the same angle good girl oh I forgot that I shot wish use on before can I just say also for lighting if you've shot with a window if you've used so you know how I use thes in the beginning was like let's say you're sitting in a cafe and you see if light on the face you go that is so beautiful you could work this out just go up to a complete stranger things would you hold my bowl on get your phone out take a federal of your ball and then ask for it back but you could literally see exactly what light was hitting you and the other way to do it is I just go where katie is and I just look and I see how this is what's what's lighting the face and I can see that the top corner and this edge of it is going to hit this side of my face less than this side I just go where the subject is and look I've just had a bit of a revelation come out come back where you were into position I just want to show you something if I take this off and take a natural light shot of here right now I want you to see what I'm saying so obviously I cannot do that on two hundred isis I'm going get up ok so we've got the studio like everything this is what I'm saying hang on when you look through the viewfinder yeah yeah this is what I'm singing so what I'm used to seeing is the finished result when I'm looking through the camera okay that's what I see when I look at katie and that terrible so I am looking through the camera at that but I'm getting the result on the back of my camera from the light and I've just realized why portrait and studio lit photographers don't get the same beautiful expressions the natural light photographers get because once they're lit all I need to do is work on the expression but it's very hard to work on the expression when he arrives in complete darkness and I feel like natural light photographers capture better facial expressions and warmer facial expressions then studio photographers I really did andi I feel like I feel like I capture better facial expressions because when she slit the finished product is already in my camera like I can see what she's going to look like so all I have to do is do this so now I have to learn how to do this I have to go don't let me just get my focus focal point I'm gonna change my eyes till two hundred she's going to be white okay so now I'm going to go and I don't know maybe just a tiny little baby smart yeah all in your eyes darling girl but so that's why we also on set have usually have a screen like that set up that if I could look at okay and actually the trend is we're going to do this with the hollywood lighting the trend is towards constant lights now right because you see in the camera okay but maybe that's why fashion photography is always so harsh I like I like I'm constant light because there's definitely a disparity and the way I'm shooting because the last thing I ask for from a client is how they're looking at me and I wasn't looking at that because I was like looking at big hard shadow that's covering her eye and I was just like I can't even see her expression so that's really interesting I think I would love to hear because this is a this is a challenge is whose natural light versus studio so felix what's your response teo suze contention there that that natural light shooters tend to get better expression eye because of that you agreed you disagree I agree and are all reference back to I use artificial light because I want to stand out you know soo bring so much to the table before the shutter you know like she is the person who she is how she deals with women I'm just some dude like I don't I don't have that side of me but I can add value buy adding a light and I can control in any situation and I think that's why I've ended up being a traveling photographer because I can do that anywhere on dh it's just two sides you know just two different approaches so I think okay now I need some light on that backed up okay sorry what were doing waken just take this you want the weight on this black yeah so I turned that into white right to pick up some light on would you hold the backdrop you want to show or just a single um whatever you whatever you think it's gonna put light on their backed up it'll be the same as what you normally do all right it should be anyway I loved that katie okay from there open your shoulder up to me that's it and just pushing chin floored nice little baby smile there good girl oh so now we're bouncing light from there to the wall through the scrim off there onto that background are you seeing in the camera yeah uh beautiful that soft love it I really like that again we've achieved that soft light by not pointing the light is actually pointing it's pointing at me here you know that's the one thing I'm always telling my systems don't point the light at the subject it's that's just pointed away it's coming off you know you don't shoot in harsh sunlight so we're not going to shoot in harsh studio light okay I'll nick shaq nico was when we bought in laquan yeah so okay the exit left will get the stool again there's a little bit of confusion um do you remember the name I didn't have the name of the question and I apologize a couple different people honey something photography was asking about shutter speed and how you use that to control to let in more or less ambient is that we use to control them but can you talk about shutter speed we're not doing that in this workshop I might at some future date a talk about that more this were just using the strobe light we're not using in the ambient light so and is that are you how are you cutting out the ambient is it by low shutter speed is it by the end he filters it a combination of everything yeah those things so we've put were effectively at right five point six on the aperture but we've used that neutral density filter that cats have all the light coming to the camorra including all this ambient light and then it's just the flash it's coming in at f two point eight jeremy but katie needs to be long and slim and gorgeous and length so we want to lengthen here out and we want here right foot up here and the reason we put it right for that is because people look silly with two knees up towards the camera and we always want to create triangles and you're right handers under here and then your left hand was forward and we got that beautiful shoulder movement long chin pointing this way gorgeous and I just need you to rotate like that could kill stadia and push your tend towards me perfect girl nice soft hand carry on your name not towards me so tune it onto your exit slide it back a little weed but that's the one so we're coming in a bit harsh on that side right should we are you tryingto pique her out like just half on marriage yeah I want it I can do you mean push her back how I normally would so give me a camera and just have a look stand where katie is and you'll see if you go right it didn't work like how I see like only work on how the light on here there you know but I don't see like that come to know go back it doesn't make sense to me feeling looking at a light like I couldn't stand when my clients are and look at a window I can only see what's hitting her face right but you can't see that now but yeah now it's just she's on that edge okay so that's exactly what I would do in natural light I would take her back from the hot sauce so I would push you back into the background and I would bring mohr afflicted light around to balance it out to balance it out okay so then we pulled up your knee needs to go this way no yeah yeah can you because you have a shot onto your tire not and then that is there and then good that's perfect shoulder and cave and remember they're not too much just enough and turn around to me now katie okay good girl it's so beautiful makes my heart sing that's her car from the screen but if you if it's kind of harsh just go where the subject isn't just look and see if the bulb is if you can see the bulb that's why it's harsh so what you can't see from the back of the cameras I can see all of the natural grady in off the farm court the back so when you see me open them and photoshopped you'll see how much detail is on the back on the screen it looks black but it's not and it looks really beautiful so I love that not exactly what you were talking about now but give a little sentence or two trying you were mentioning yeah when I pose I create triangle so when I first started to learn about posing I would read fashion magazines and what I was leaning was that how do you bring arms and legs up into a frame to make it interesting and there is very I can only take so many photos of katie standing up before I need to do something with your hands now most people can't freestyle with their hands so just if I say that people just do something with your hands most people are like what do you want me to do like you know and so but a model can kind of move and fill the frame so then I started to look at them filling the frame us have they fill the frame with their arms and legs and I realized every time they bring their arms up they make triangles and every time they bring their knees out they make triangles there's a triangle in here so if she was wearing pence's one there this one there okay and the more triangle she put into an image the more interesting it iss and it's just an angular posing thing and so every time you create these triangles look or diamonds triangles and diamonds looks really really interesting and there's another one there and I just see them as triangles in angles my thumb back and then work the shoulder elbow goes back with shoulder forward makes it interesting and then creates body language can we do a reference shot for this show I would love to with my pop thank you write and then john if you would just go ahead uh sue on the back of your camera did you sink the lcd marker because mine isn't very accurate or is that too this uh the back of your screen on your camera when I look at mine it doesn't look the same as it doesn't on the computer oh yeah just like that okay just not on creative lives plasma alright so I'm katie would you just trust the honest thank you when we were little a bit forward john doing a different so we're going to get the reference show and I just I'm actually kind of curious kate put it closer to your face thank you I'm curious to see how that life force looks yeah you see she's actually further back from that light source a little bit so it's coming in filling from the front a little bit more

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.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Lighting Challenge Workshop Guide Part 1

Lighting Challenge Workshop Guide Part 2

Sue Bryce & Felix Kunze - Gear Guide

The Lighting Challenge Syllabus

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


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.