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Controlling natural light

Lesson 22 from: Masters of Photography

Albert Watson

Controlling natural light

Lesson 22 from: Masters of Photography

Albert Watson

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Lesson Info

22. Controlling natural light

Discover Albert's tips on how to make the most of natural light and how Albert controls it in his images.

Lessons

Class Trailer
1

Meet your Master

01:26
2

Learn from the journey

15:24
3

Using inspirations

08:43
4

Photography is stopping time

09:27
5

Albert's library of ideas

08:30
6

Tips on preparing for a portrait shoot

12:10
7

Setting up the studio

04:56
8

Understanding studio collaboration

07:35
9

The importance of casting and hair & make-up

08:59
10

Foreground studio set up

08:46
11

Studio session with a model - set up 1

11:23
12

Studio session with a model - set up 2

05:55
13

Studio session with a model - set up 3

08:01
14

Picking the best shot

03:36
15

Working with photoshop

13:14
16

Creating a portrait of Alfred Hitchcock

04:18
17

The gigantic question... Colour or black and white?

07:55
18

One day with Kate Moss

05:06
19

Learn to have your ideas ready

06:14
20

Using Polariods

06:29
21

Creating beautiful photographs of hands

04:45
22

Controlling natural light

05:38
23

Shooting a monkey with a gun

06:27
24

Choosing your format

07:13
25

Composition and lens

04:47
26

Shooting landscapes. The Isle of Skye

15:18
27

Planning and ideas for a landscape shoot

06:32
28

Creating still life images

13:48
29

Photographing the Lost Diary

10:53
30

Shooting album covers

03:09
31

The Strip Search Project

10:28
32

Shooting Las Vegas landscapes

08:24
33

Photographing Breaunna

07:21
34

Balancing daylight, God bless America

03:45
35

Creating the Maroc Project

10:21
36

Creating the Maroc shoot

08:11
37

Photographing sand dunes

04:09
38

Photographing Moroccan children

10:42
39

Advice on making portraits

10:12
40

How to be alert to finding photographs

07:36
41

Making a portrait of Mike Tyson

02:40
42

Creating intense colour in a photograph

03:05
43

Portraits of rap stars and a Golden Boy

08:40
44

Photographing Jack Nicholson

04:21
45

Creating a portrait of David Cronenberg

02:14
46

How to light only using two $10 bulbs

07:30
47

Studio fashion set up 4

10:48
48

Studio session with a model. The geography of a face

13:05
49

Look inside the picture

02:57
50

Creating memorability in an image

02:54
51

Combining nudes and landscapes

04:52
52

A perfect print

07:51
53

The business side of things

06:51
54

Conclusion and farewell

03:55

Lesson Info

Controlling natural light

(calm music) I have a great love of strobes and tungsten light and HMI lights. I have a great love of them. But just every so often I just have a mad kind of love affair with natural light. And I really began to reconsider that, because I did a lot of my early work with natural light. But I'd really began to reconsider that really in the end of the eighties. And I really began to try and see how I could work it it. Sometimes it's possible, there's a well-known nude of Kate Moss that's completely, 100% natural light. And how could I work with it, how could I possibly shape it slightly sometimes, how could I cancel some of the effects of natural lights, how could I increase natural light, how could I manage to work with it? Or in fact, sometimes not work with it at all, just go ahead and shoot what was right in front of me. But as for the Kate Moss shot, for example, of course it's a matter of knowing that you're gonna do that shot, but absolutely thinking about the time of day you're ...

gonna do it. And to pretty much know that you want the light not to be sitting right on the horizon line if you're using sun, but, so as it gets too chalky, the light, but you sometimes can shoot the light as it, if the sun is setting at six, you might want to start your shot at five, 5:15, 5:20, 5:30, and so you work with the light as it changes and alters. But once again, it's an awareness of what's going on and thinking about what's going on and thinking about what the light is doing and really looking. (calm music) There's a strange thing with photographers sometimes. They become obsessed by the camera and what they're photographing and not really thinking about what's really going on sometimes with the light. I think it's because their concentration means they start speaking to the subject, they get distracted by the photograph without really looking what's going on light wise. So in the end, of course when you work with natural light, natural light changes, it moves, a lot of times you have clouds coming over, you have sun, you sometimes get very lucky, it's a cloudy day, it's flat light. But you can increase that with reflectors. So natural light definitely has it's own beauty and I'm lucky because I never really settled down and said okay, I'm a tungsten guy or I'm an HMI or a strobe or I'm a natural light guy or I'm mixed lights, I mix strobe with natural, whatever. I tried to say well I know how to do all of that stuff and therefore it means that I have a slightly bigger bag of tricks to pull from. But natural light is certainly a major, a major player in all of that because there is a great beauty sometimes to just using the sun. (calm music) I'm always traveling wherever possible, wherever possible, with a minimum of four eight-by-four boards, black on one side, white on the other. And I find those just invaluable because that way you can create shadows with them, you can block light with them, you can, if you have four possibilities, if you think about an eight foot by four foot board, that's 32 square feet and if you have four of them you can do the math on that and that's 128 square feet of light that you can put in front of the subject to bounce light up into the subject. Or if there's a white cement ground that you don't want all of that light bouncing up, then you can flip the boards and do black. So four, eight-by-four boards if you've got the vehicle to carry them or you can strap them on top of their car, is really fantastic. I can do whole shoots with just these boards. Now of course, you don't need eight feet by four feet. You can maybe get away with four feet by four feet, but I do love these big boards because they're handy. (calm music)

Ratings and Reviews

Richard A. Heckler
 

"Unless you're Mozart"...this course is an invaluable asset. I'm a pro, humanitarian/documentary photographer, & wilderness...and I've learned much from the 40+ sessions here. This is truly a Master Class...next best thing to being with Albert. And although I could watch studio sessions forever, this course offered a very balanced curriculum of technical information, artistic encouragement and guidance, and a open, generous window into the thinking of a gifted artist and photographer, sifted from decades of first class experience. Kudos to all involved. Excellent!

a Creativelive Student
 

I purchased my first CreativeLive class in 2011 and have continued to purchase many classes over the years. I have learned so much from the many great instructors. This one is not a technical class that will tell you to set your camera at f4, 1/60, ISO 400 and you can get this shot. If you are looking for that, there are many other options. If you have a solid working knowledge of photography, this class is so much more. The way it was filmed is like you are there with him in conversation or in the room with him watching him shoot. To see and understand the how and why he does what he does. Not to take anything away from other classes that have helped to give me a strong understanding of photography, this is my favorite CreativeLive class so far.

Student Work

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