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Masters of Photography

Lesson 38 of 54

Photographing Moroccan children


Masters of Photography

Lesson 38 of 54

Photographing Moroccan children


Lesson Info

Photographing Moroccan children

[Soft Piano Music] I'm almost putting myself and the work a little bit under a magnifying glass, and I look at pictures that I've done the day before, the year before, or 10 years before and I'm quite critical of my own work. So, therefore if I know go to somebody else's work and criticize it, which is always easy in an armchair to do that, that I think one of the things that photographers tend to be sometimes, and I'm always fighting this myself, they tend to be a bit lazy. So, therefore beginning a project like Morroc, you have to do homework. You have to knuckle down and begin to prepare. Now sometimes if a photographer prepare means I've checked my lenses, batteries, strobes, they're all working; sync cards are working. You know, everything's working. That's preparation and of course that's a fraction of preparation. So the preparation for Morroc really involved, as I said before, history, involved the geography of the country, what's in the south, what's in the north. Now-a-days...

you have this wonderful thing the internet, back then in '98 I didn't have the internet, I wasn't really plugged in at that point. The work involved me going to libraries ti fond every book I could in Morocco and the history of Morocco, I read about the country, read about the history. I read about the different people here, why was some part of the country were they speaking Arabic, why were they speaking French, why were they speaking in Berber. The Berber's were the original inhabitants of Morocco. Therefore, you have to do your homework, and not only are you planning visually, am I going to do portraits, am I going to do environmental portraits, am I going to do textual things regarding the architecture of the country. Am I going to do subjects in the environment, as in a building or against a big sky or a big mountain, or whatever. All of this has to really be noted down in a sketch book of ideas and that preparation you should have a big whole shloo of things. Now having planned it, us photographers say I don't like planning I like to be spontaneous, that does not mean to say that you're not going to be spontaneous, I'm driving down the road I might have a plan for the day, and I'm driving down the road and I see something that interested me like a child by the road side, or something like that and I hadn't planned that shot but I see it. So there is a combination of being spontaneous and being planned. Being there with your ideas that you preconceived, but then you have to be open to things right in front of you that were not planned. Photograph of a child standing on an old stone house, I saw as we drove by this kid that was selling pottery by the road side, on the road between Ouarzazate and Tavertan further South, and there was just something about this little child who turned out to be a ten year old child selling pottery probably to make some extra money for the family, and he was alone in this gigantic desert and mountains and so on, so I thought there is something nice about this child, this tiny child in this huge environment with desert behind him then snow covered mountains on the horizon line with a dark sky so I stopped there and I selected a 60 mm lens that I felt pushed the mountains away a little bit and gave me the right proportion of child to environment. I put a very small strobe into, just a little bit off camera, to just give a little bit of vibrance to the white jilaba that he was wearing. So it's a shot that I like, I use a red filter and black and white triax, but it's a shot that I liked in the end. I felt like I was able to capture something of the loneliness of this child in big environment. So I think this idea of planning, yes you can discover something like I discovered that child, and you can begin to build a shot as you go along. I hadn't planned to use a strobe but then I realized that it would be better with a strobe. I hadn't planned to use the red filter, but then I felt better that the sky is darker because it emphasizes the snow on the mountains. So therefore it, sometimes people say how did you know how to do that? I think once again it is all part of being absolutely passionate about photography, learning how can I use technique to make this a better picture, and how can I make sure that it's just not boring is a technique so it truly is a balance between the creative and the technical, and that shot of the child there, is quite a good balance there, it's graphic. One of the secret things I am always looking for is memorability, that is kind of a major thing in photography you want people to remember that shot you know. [Soft Piano Music] There are two pictures here, the first one is, I was driving a mountain road, and there was a young child just walking on her own, and the mountain road is the road between Marrakech and Ouarzazate and it's the high atlas mountains. She was a villager living in the mountain Berber I stopped to ask her, my Moroccan friend said lets go down to the village ans ask the the father if it is OK to photograph his daughter, which was politeness. So I was able to kind of set up a shot I was hoping to do, and the father eventually came and gave permission to photograph the daughter and I se up for this picture once again a small strobe, and you can see the mountains behind her. She was actually wonderful to photograph. There was a wonderful naturalness, she wasn't self conscious at all, she just followed my direction, followed what I wanted her to do, and there was almost an innocence and naivety when she looked at the camera like why am I doing this sort of thing. I didn't have to do a lot of communication, but before the father arrived I did through the interpreter speaking to her and ask her what she was doing, where was she going; she was going to her aunt's house and so on; so speaking to people is always a wonderful thing. It helps you get a better picture when you communicate with people, that you work with people a little bit before, especially children. That picture I believe in the end was a straight forward silver gelatin print. You take the negative into the dark room, you run silver gelatin paper and you make the print and you hope that you have a good exposure on your strobe and a good exposure on your background to make sure there is a good harmony between front and back. That was essentially, the portrait of a child in the mountains. Now the second one is a portrait once again done in Lyon in the South. She is a Saharawis. More of a Bedwin Berber from the South, but it is a definite tribe, Saharwis. She was in a small group of tents and I came across her beautiful child. It was actually done the same way again just coincidentally with the strobe. The strobe is a further distance this time so the strobe is softer. The original shot, the original negative, this is much softer so when you go into the dark room I increased a little bit the contrast, using a slightly more contrasted paper. A grade three paper as opposed to a grade two normal paper. That gives the picture a little more contrast and a little bit more weight. But one is a child in the mountains and the other one is a child in the desert. Once again it's communication with the child but also communication with the family, so you reassure them that you're doing something very nice for them. Usually we give the family the Polaroid one. We do two, one for us and one for them. The Polaroid would be entered into our diary of events for the day and the other one they proudly would keep the Polaroid. I have actually gone back to some of these places and driven through and been stopped by somebody and they tell me that they still have the Polaroid from 20 years ago ad they have it on a wall in their house. So it is quite, quite sweet. [Soft Piano 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.