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Masters of Photography

Lesson 40 of 54

How to be alert to finding photographs


Masters of Photography

Lesson 40 of 54

How to be alert to finding photographs


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)

Class Description


  • Albert’s tips and tricks on landscape, fashion, portraiture and still life photography.
  • Simple lighting techniques using natural light and studio light
  • Simple tips on preparing for portrait shoots
  • How to create incredible portraits using just two $10 bulbs
  • Albert’s tips and tricks on landscape, fashion, portraiture and still life photography.
  • Simple lighting techniques using natural light and studio light
  • Simple tips on preparing for portrait shoots
  • How to create incredible portraits using just two $10 bulbs


Learn how Albert creates his amazing photographs on location and in the studio using simple explanations.

Albert reveals his shoot secrets on how he photographs Presidents, Hollywood stars, music’s greatest artists, landscapes, nudes, chimpanzees and still life. We follow him on location in Morocco, Paris and in his studio in New York. You will find out where he suggests you look to get inspiration, how to approach a portrait session, see how to light like Albert.

We show you exactly how Albert works on these images after the shoot, it’s all about Albert giving you his ideas and advice and helping you see and create better images for yourself.

It’s not about what camera to use, it’s about how to see and develop ideas, concepts and narrative to make stunning photographs.

As Albert says..."You have to stay switched on"


  1. Meet your Master

    Albert welcomes you to his course.

  2. Learn from the journey

    You will learn how to use your passion and dedication to get to where you want in photography. Albert explains to us how his own journey developed from early days in Scotland to creating the biggest photography studio in LA, and then establishing his studio in New York.

  3. Using inspirations

    Albert teaches you how to use inspiration from your past and present to form you work. Learn his tips on the relationship between technique and creativity, and how to create work that shows your own personality.

  4. Photography is stopping time

    Learn from Albert how he discovered his passion for photography and how to apply his "stopping time" ethos to your own work.

  5. Albert's library of ideas

    Join Albert in his own library where he shows you which books and artists he suggests you look at and study for inspiration and motivation. He also reveals his tip for buying inexpensive photography references.

  6. Tips on preparing for a portrait shoot

    Albert teaches you how to work with your subjects to get a great portrait shot. Learn his tips for putting people at ease when they are in front of your camera.

  7. Setting up the studio

    Learn to control the shooting environment. Learn how Albert begins to set up a studio session. Albert shows you how he begins to approach a portrait session in the studio.

  8. Understanding studio collaboration

    Albert teaches you about his different types of work ranging from test shoots to editorial shoots and advertising shoots. He explains his thoughts and techniques to help you understand how to make each a success.

  9. The importance of casting and hair & make-up

    Albert teaches you the importance of communication between yourself and a team. Albert also explains his tips on working with hair and make up to create a look.

  10. Foreground studio set up

    You will learn how Albert moves out from behind the camera while setting up for a shoot. He shows you how to look at your light from a variety of perspectives.

  11. Studio session with a model - set up 1

    Learn how to work with your subject. A unique insight, Watch and learn Albert working in the studio, explaining his thoughts and showing us exactly how he shoots.

  12. Studio session with a model - set up 2

    Learn how Albert creates his iconic beauty shots. See and listen to Albert as he explains his thought processes when creating this type of shot.

  13. Studio session with a model - set up 3

    Albert teaches you another of his lighting techniques. Watch and learn as Albert explains exactly how he creates a beautiful portrait.

  14. Picking the best shot

    Albert discusses and shows you his techniques for selecting the best shot from a shoot.

  15. Working with photoshop

    In this lesson you will learn how Albert uses post production to further refine his images.

  16. Creating a portrait of Alfred Hitchcock

    Discover the idea and thought process behind Albert's iconic image of Alfred Hitchcock and what it was like to photograph one of the world’s greatest filmmakers.

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

    Which should you use? Albert explains his own ideas to you on how and why you might use one or the other.

  18. One day with Kate Moss

    Albert explains his ideas and how he created his iconic images during a day photographing Kate Moss.

  19. Learn to have your ideas ready

    Albert encourages you to have faith in your own creative instincts and how to always think creativity to persuade a client toward agreeing to your photographic ideas.

  20. Using Polariods

    Discover ways to go back and create projects and new images from your older work. Albert shows us the technique he used to create his iconic Running Man image.

  21. Creating beautiful photographs of hands

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

  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.

  23. Shooting a monkey with a gun

    Albert teaches you to always be on the look-out for new projects, and to recognise the power of conceptual thinking. Learn how monkey and a gun came to be created.

  24. Choosing your format

    In this lesson you will learn about formats. Albert describes different examples from various formats he has used as guidance, discover tips on how to use each type of format and his camera of choice.

  25. Composition and lens

    Get tips and suggestions on which lens to use and when. Albert gives you his thoughts on using the compositional elements available to you in order to produce a better photograph.

  26. Shooting landscapes. The Isle of Skye

    Albert teaches us how for him, its essential to raise landscape photography above the "picture postcard" shot and give the images more meaning. Albert explains the approach to his Scottish landscape series of images, one of his most unique, personal projects.

  27. Planning and ideas for a landscape shoot

    Albert details for you how he carefully prepared for his Isle of Skye project: taking care to be as organised as possible, whilst also remaining open to taking advantage of the unexpected.

  28. Creating still life images

    From shooting bed pans in L.A., to photographing Tutankhamen’s possessions, Elvis Presley’s iconic gold ensemble, and Neil Armstrong's space suit. Albert teaches you to persevere in the face of difficulty, and to always inject your still lifes with meaning.

  29. Photographing the Lost Diary

    Albert shows you how one simple idea can blossom into the creation of true art. An entire advertising campaign was based on his magical concept: that of an intergalactic anthropologist’s photographic diary, depicting tribes on earth 30,000 years ago. Discover how he brought this unique vision to life.

  30. Shooting album covers

    This lesson we go behind the scenes of a shoot with musician Sade. Albert reveals how he produced her beautiful Love Deluxe album cover, and how important it is to make your subject feel comfortable on set.

  31. The Strip Search Project

    Albert tells you how he prepared and created this immense project. He suggests ways for you to create projects and images that document your own corner of the world in images.

  32. Shooting Las Vegas landscapes

    Albert tells you how he prepared for the Las Vegas project, how he approached and shot his landscapes there. He passes on to you how the difficulties he faced helped him, and will help you, to develop as a photographer.

  33. Photographing Breaunna

    Albert tells you how to always be alert to chance encounters. He tells you how he met and was inspired by Breaunna. He explains how some of his most recognisable Strip Search photographs of her were created .

  34. Balancing daylight, God bless America

    Find out why Albert stopped to shoot a bill board. His serendipitous discovery reaffirms his main piece of advice: always remain “switched on”.

  35. Creating the Maroc Project

    Learn how Albert put together his exquisite Maroc book. You will be inspired to create your own projects and to look for potential in every aspect of a project, giving added meaning to your photographs.

  36. Creating the Maroc shoot

    Albert describes his own, personal methods and ethos in creating the Maroc project. Find out what equipment he used, how he documented his journey, and what he shot to create this iconic book.

  37. Photographing sand dunes

    How did Albert capture the breathtaking, rippling sand dunes of Laayoune, Morocco? Find out as Albert encourages you to be innovative; to always strive to add something new and different to scenes photographed by others before you.

  38. Photographing Moroccan children

    Preparation is not the death of spontaneity. Albert explains some his most breathtaking, impromptu shots of children in Morocco, Albert shows you how he suggests you intertwine careful planning and impulsivity to ensure you never miss your shot.

  39. Advice on making portraits

    Learn from Albert that the way you communicate with those you’re photographing is always visible in a shot. In this lesson Albert suggests tips to capture your perception of a subject into a single picture.

  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.

  41. Making a portrait of Mike Tyson

    Albert delves into the inspiration behind his famous Mike Tyson photograph, reaffirming that preparation before a shoot is often key to transforming your vision into a reality.

  42. Creating intense colour in a photograph

    Albert creates intense colour in an image. Listen to Albert as he takes you through his preparation process, and the techniques he used to construct one of his most well known images, Red Devil.

  43. Portraits of rap stars and a Golden Boy

    Discover the relationship between a subject and the camera itself. Legendary Rap stars and Albert’s Golden Boy photograph feature in this lesson. Albert discusses facial geography.

  44. Photographing Jack Nicholson

    A Jack Nicholson photoshoot for Rolling Stone. Albert explains how the legendary snowy shot came to be, and gives you an insight into how he photographed the iconic actor and filmmaker.

  45. Creating a portrait of David Cronenberg

    Be inspired to get creative. Ingenuity and inventiveness take centerstage in this lesson as Albert describes how he produced his unique photograph of David Cronenberg for Rolling Stone — the old-fashioned way.

  46. How to light only using two $10 bulbs

    This is a incredible lesson where Albert demonstrates to you that expensive lighting equipment is by no means a necessity! Discover how to use two $10 bulbs to create a dramatic, high contrast shot. Simply genius.

  47. Studio fashion set up 4

    See the fashion photography master in action as we watch each step of this shoot. Watch and hear how Albert manages the body language of the model and the simple set up and lighting to create a fashion shot.

  48. Studio session with a model. The geography of a face

    See how Albert creates art with the profile of a face. Learn how to work the geography of a face with Albert's simple lighting techniques.

  49. Look inside the picture

    Albert gives suggestions on how to progress and review your photography. Find out his tips on how to look "inside" the picture.

  50. Creating memorability in an image

    Learn Alberts tips on the skill of quick thinking and analysing your surroundings. Albert uses an example where he used his surroundings to create a unique and surreal shot for Italian Vogue.

  51. Combining nudes and landscapes

    In this lesson we reveal one of Albert's very latest projects. Learn as Albert teaches you how he created a stunning series of images by combining nudes with different landscape textures.

  52. A perfect print

    Albert explains where the passion began for printing his own work and how it has developed. Listen to his overview on how critical it is to print an image on the right type of paper in order to create the perfect print.

  53. The business side of things

    Learn how Albert runs each aspect of his business. We travel with Albert to one of his exhibitions in Italy where he explains the why and how of the prints on show.

  54. Conclusion and farewell

    Albert summarises some fundamental learning points he has acquired over his 40 year career. He leaves you with some poignant tips and bids his farewell, "onwards and upwards".


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 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.