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Creating beautiful photographs of hands

Lesson 21 from: Masters of Photography

Albert Watson

Creating beautiful photographs of hands

Lesson 21 from: Masters of Photography

Albert Watson

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Lesson Info

21. Creating beautiful photographs of hands

Learn to appreciate the expressive nature of photographing hands. Albert explains some his most defining hand shots.

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

Creating beautiful photographs of hands

(soft music) Somebody asked me if you know, photographing hands was a still life, which I think it essentially is. The hands are not dead, they're not ever dead. Although, once in Las Vegas I did photograph the death hands, made out of wax, of Liberace. But most hands are absolutely, you know, moving, living things but somehow you treat them compositionally and you can also treat them emotionally. I was lucky enough to photograph the hands of Joan Didion who's the great American writer and I was actually leaving, I had finished shooting and I just suddenly noticed that she had a beautiful collection of sea shells so I did a kind of a rather obvious thing of photographing her hands as just, quickly on a four by five camera, with a natural light from the window actually. And I really grabbed that shot at the end and later I thought it was actually a better shot than I had realized. That's something that happens, sometimes you take a picture and you think it's, you know it's okay, it's ...

not bad but then later you realize that it's actually a little bit better than you first thought, you know? And it's actually a shot that we do now as a additioned series. So photographing hands, I've done lot's of them. Little bit the sad thing, which was really you know, once again, even though that I'm working all the time you still make mistakes and that's one thing you have to kind of learn from. I remember photographing in the flower market in Marrakech. I was waiting for some models to get ready you know and I noticed that the flower seller, a woman, her hands were henna tattooed and she was selling roses. So I took a few rose petals and dropped them into her hand, you know, and just natural light with a four by five camera and I had this kind of what, now looking back at, it was a bad habit, where I would do Polaroids for people and just give the Polaroids away. So I would do the Polaroid and you know, give it to the editor or a model or just give them to people. Give them to the flower seller. Here's a Polaroid of your hands. My assistant at that time said He said "You do Polaroids all the time, why don't you just do two sheets of film?" And I said, "Oh I can't be bothered." But then he said "Here, here you go." And he put the film in my hand and I shot and I kind of realized from that point on that I should always do that. You know, just taking some nice pictures because a lot of time I'm focused on what I'm doing. If I'm doing 20 pages, 40 pages for Italian Vogue then that's what I'm doing, I'm there to do 20 pages. And I'm not necessarily there to do my own projects. If I do my own projects it's so so. So he actually changed that, that guy, that assistant changed it and it actually was quite a, there was a lot of things that came along that I started to do. And I actually went back one time and found some great old Polaroids which later we actually used as part of a big project. So I did go back and find some of these old Polaroids that we used. But photographing hands is a very nice thing to do. You know one thing, when you're photographing hands you can always try and see, you know when you're working with somebody's face you're working on emotions but you can do the same thing with hands. You can, you can really treat hands softly and delicately. The flower sellers, Moroccan flower sellers hands are done that way but I've also done, you know, boxer's hands and I've done hands aggressively. I've done hands in movement, I've done hands sleeping. I mean, I've photographed Snoop Dogg's hands when he was fast asleep on my couch. So you know, you should always be kind of keeping little things like that in mind. And as long as you can, you have the speed to do these things fairly quickly, you don't always have to use a four by five, you can use a smaller camera to do that. I think it's a pretty good exercise to improve your, your awareness of who and what you are. (soft 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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