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Masters of Photography

Lesson 27 of 54

Planning and ideas for a landscape shoot

Albert Watson

Masters of Photography

Albert Watson

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Lesson Info

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.


  Class Trailer
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1 Meet your Master Duration:01:26
2 Learn from the journey Duration:15:24
3 Using inspirations Duration:08:43
4 Photography is stopping time Duration:09:27
5 Albert's library of ideas Duration:08:30
7 Setting up the studio Duration:04:56
10 Foreground studio set up Duration:08:46
14 Picking the best shot Duration:03:36
15 Working with photoshop Duration:13:14
18 One day with Kate Moss Duration:05:06
19 Learn to have your ideas ready Duration:06:14
20 Using Polariods Duration:06:29
22 Controlling natural light Duration:05:38
23 Shooting a monkey with a gun Duration:06:27
24 Choosing your format Duration:07:13
25 Composition and lens Duration:04:47
28 Creating still life images Duration:13:48
29 Photographing the Lost Diary Duration:10:53
30 Shooting album covers Duration:03:09
31 The Strip Search Project Duration:10:28
32 Shooting Las Vegas landscapes Duration:08:24
33 Photographing Breaunna Duration:07:21
35 Creating the Maroc Project Duration:10:21
36 Creating the Maroc shoot Duration:08:11
37 Photographing sand dunes Duration:04:09
39 Advice on making portraits Duration:10:12
44 Photographing Jack Nicholson Duration:04:21
47 Studio fashion set up 4 Duration:10:48
49 Look inside the picture Duration:02:57
51 Combining nudes and landscapes Duration:04:52
52 A perfect print Duration:07:51
53 The business side of things Duration:06:51
54 Conclusion and farewell Duration:03:55

Lesson Info

Planning and ideas for a landscape shoot

(intense electronic music) For six weeks, 12 hours a day, I put my eye, my one eye, on the Island of Syke, and I was searching, really, pretty strongly, and I was definitely switched on because the project was very expensive for me, for me to leave New York for six weeks and take a whole crew there, it's an expensive project to do and it's only at this point in my life that I can afford to do that, you know. So, my planning for this project and the way I went about it and the way that I thought about this project for almost a year, off and on, off and on, off and on, about how I could make it better, that the whole planning part of this was an absolutely, you know, was essential and also a philosophy. So it's not just planning. You know, people say planning, that means you have to organize the tickets and the bus and your equipment and how do you do, are you gonna take strobe lights with you or not and so on, because a lot of my things when I talk, talking just about landscapes, of c...

ourse, I was in there photographing trees with macro lenses on, so therefore, it wasn't only about landscape. I always have that vision to think about things that are close to me and also things that are mid-distance and also things that are at infinity. So I'm kind of planning all of that in advance, keeping it in mind, but at the same time, keeping an open mind and watching where the light is at various times of the day. You obviously travel with a compass, but it's not quite that simple that you have a compass and you say, the sun's coming up there or going down there. You kind of know that, I knew that after a while how it was gonna play out, but you sometimes get lucky and you're about to leave a location and suddenly, the moon breaks through early in the day and you get a reflection of the moon on the water. So that you, at that point, you're, there's, yeah, be organized, but be prepared for things like that to happen and the one thing I don't like about landscape work is that to a certain extent, you're the slave of nature. You can't control it. What I love in the studio is you make your own light, you make your own, you know, there's a control thing that way. But when you're on an island (chuckles) off the north coast of Scotland with wild weather, you really are a little bit the slave of what's going on, but it's only by determination and continued planning and continued work that in six weeks of 12 hours a day, you should be able to get a few shots that are worth looking at. (light electronic music) There was a shot that I had done, it was actually for a magazine, part of a magazine shoot, fashion, but we were actually in the Pennsylvania Turnpike and this is 20 years before I went to the Island of Skye and I was pulled off this turnpike into the edge of a field, because the rain was so severe, you could not even drive on a highway. You could not see 20 feet in front of you, and I was with a crew, and therefore we decided to pull of the road into this kind of lay-by, and I was sitting there with everybody just waiting and I notice that in front of me, there was what had to be a 1954 or '55 Chevy truck abandoned in the field. And I was sitting in the car and I had just in my, I had a Nikon in my hand, and I, I just was looking at it and two or three times I hit the shutter, looking at this through the windshield and the rain was pouring down the front of the car and as a matter of fact, I then used that same camera and the same roll of film to go and shoot some fashion pictures later. But as I processed the film and looked at the contact sheet, I saw that shot, and I thought, I could do a series of pictures at some point in my life, through the windshield with rain coming down that might be kind of interesting. So, fast-forward 20 years, and I was in Scotland and I had planned to do this, 'cause I always remembered and loved that shot and I had planned to do this through the windshield and when we selected the car, I actually selected the car based on the windshield of the car that I could, I could probably pull of fairly decent shot where I'm shooting through the windshield so that you probably guess it's through a windshield but you're not sure, and therefore, I needed quite a wide windshield for that. And I did several shots like that during the Skye project. But I mean, that's how that, that's how I arrived at that. (intense electronic 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"


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.