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How to be alert to finding photographs

Lesson 40 from: Masters of Photography

Albert Watson

How to be alert to finding photographs

Lesson 40 from: Masters of Photography

Albert Watson

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Lesson Info

40. How to be alert to finding photographs

Learn to take advantage of chance situations and moments. Listen to Albert reveal how some of his most famous photographs were created by remaining flexible and alert to what you are seeing around you.

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

How to be alert to finding photographs

(mysterious music) This picture was done in a village between Fez and Marrakech and I was traveling through a village. It was interesting village and I stopped and went into the village and there was a child looking at me. And I was very shy of the child. Sometimes, you stop, the child is very happy to be photographed, other times, a child can be nervous and worried, you know? Anyway, this child just had a beautiful face with amazing eyes. And I asked, can I photograph the child, yes you can, and the grandmother was there looking after the child. And every so often, you get a little bit lucky. So I quickly set up a strobe and there were some sunlight coming across the face which are mixed with the strobe and the child was there, but the child was nervous and was just looking down and that can be okay too. Not everybody has to look confident in a picture. But I said to the interpreter, and then to the grandmother, can you possibly have the child just look at the camera? I'm being very...

nice to everybody. And the grandmother just stepped into the picture and grabbed ahold of the child's head, and kind of twisted it 'round to the camera. And every so often, you get a little bit lucky, you know, in photography. And this was just a little bit of luck that the grandmother's hands, who are, the hands are covered in tattoos, henna tattoos and here she is, holding the child's head steady. And even then, the child was still nervous that the child wouldn't look at the camera, and the child's looking nervously to the side. Now, here's a case where you're just a little bit lucky. That the child absolutely is just doing the right thing for the photo, and I'm not really totally in control of that. So, of course, I kept shooting. So, the good thing I did was I kept shooting. The bad thing would've been saying, oh, I don't really want the grandmother's hands in the picture, but of course, the grandmother's hands made the picture and made this a stronger image. So it's a, once again, a strobe, but it's a mix of sunlight and a little bit of spontaneity with the grandmother moving in and holding the child steady. (mysterious music) We flew Brianna into Vegas. She was at home with her family in Denver of all places. So we flew her back into Las Vegas and I ended up with her in a motel room, the Algiers Motel in Las Vegas. And I was just beyond fascinated with her because it was just that you could just not absolutely get a bad shot! It just seemed no matter where you put the lights, it looked good. So, I was in this hotel room doing shot after shot after shot, you know. I was almost, I had to concentrate, 'cause I, you know, to make sure that it was as, the shots were as good as I was thinking they were. And anyway, after working solidly with her for pretty much six hours, until two o'clock, we started at eight, one of the assistants said to me, just after two, is there any chance we could get a sandwich? Of course, this is typical of me, that I don't stop for lunch. And for some reason, when I'm working, I'm never hungry. I just, I never need to eat while I'm working. Of course, assistants are a different breed, they need some food. And I said, sure. So, at that point, Brianna said is there any chance I can just grab a quick cigarette? So she went out on the balcony and meanwhile, one of the assistants had come back with a sandwich, she went out on the balcony to have this cigarette, and of course, immediately, through the window, to the balcony, I saw her leaning against this banister with this cigarette with a black bra, and I thought, wow, she just looks unbelievable, I thought. And of course, the assistants are trying to eat their sandwiches, and so and I said, right, put the sandwiches down and get the camera. And I went out, and I said can I shoot you smoking? She said sure! So, basically, as long as I'm smoking, I don't care. So I proceeded to do that shot that you see here of her smoking. So it's another, really, it's an example of when you're working as a photographer, stay switched on at all times. Try and be aware of what's going on all the time. Very often, I can be working with somebody and pose them in a certain way so that I get the graphics that I'm after. And then sometimes, I do something that's a little bit naughty. I'll say to them, just stay there, I have to go to the restroom. And they said, oh, that's fine. Of course, I don't need to go to the restroom. And I wait five minutes and I come back in and of course, I've asked them to hold the position. But what you find, that when you do that, that you leave them for a while, and you can go and have a coffee, almost, and leave somebody on the set. But the nice thing that can happen is that you can put somebody in a graphic position, but then when you come back, they've melted into the position. They've melted into something that takes on a real natural quality and, at the same time, because they're kind of holding what you put them in, you get your shot, and strangely enough, they get something that's natural to them. So often, you really have to look out for that. You have to be observing things all the time. I remember waiting for Uma Thurman in the studio when I was doing some pictures of her at the time in Kill Bill. 'Cause I knew her very well and I also did the poster for the movie, Kill Bill. She was upstairs in the makeup room and I went up to see her, she was ready, and turned out, she just wanted to have a coffee before she came down to the set. And she was sitting on the makeup counter cross legged in front of the mirror, leaning against the mirror, just with a small cup of coffee. And of course, I came up with the camera. And it was actually a tremendous shot, I thought. There's something about I think you have to do a good job to create images, but I also think you have to be pretty alert of other images that are out there for the grabs. So you have to, you have to be switched on all the time. (mysterious 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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