Skip to main content

photo & video

Masters of Photography

Lesson 47 of 54

Studio fashion set up 4

Albert Watson

Masters of Photography

Albert Watson

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2000+ more >

Lesson Info

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.


Class Trailer

Meet your Master


Learn from the journey


Using inspirations


Photography is stopping time


Albert's library of ideas


Tips on preparing for a portrait shoot


Setting up the studio


Understanding studio collaboration


The importance of casting and hair & make-up


Foreground studio set up


Studio session with a model - set up 1


Studio session with a model - set up 2


Studio session with a model - set up 3


Picking the best shot


Working with photoshop


Creating a portrait of Alfred Hitchcock


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


One day with Kate Moss


Learn to have your ideas ready


Using Polariods


Creating beautiful photographs of hands


Controlling natural light


Shooting a monkey with a gun


Choosing your format


Composition and lens


Shooting landscapes. The Isle of Skye


Planning and ideas for a landscape shoot


Creating still life images


Photographing the Lost Diary


Shooting album covers


The Strip Search Project


Shooting Las Vegas landscapes


Photographing Breaunna


Balancing daylight, God bless America


Creating the Maroc Project


Creating the Maroc shoot


Photographing sand dunes


Photographing Moroccan children


Advice on making portraits


How to be alert to finding photographs


Making a portrait of Mike Tyson


Creating intense colour in a photograph


Portraits of rap stars and a Golden Boy


Photographing Jack Nicholson


Creating a portrait of David Cronenberg


How to light only using two $10 bulbs


Studio fashion set up 4


Studio session with a model. The geography of a face


Look inside the picture


Creating memorability in an image


Combining nudes and landscapes


A perfect print


The business side of things


Conclusion and farewell


Lesson Info

Studio fashion set up 4

(playful instrumental) So here, we have a set that's very, very simple; it's kind of a fashion 101 set against white, with a fairly high-contrast light, very simple light, just above the line of the lens, on access to the lens, and I'm gonna put Kyler back in there, so essentially, I'm thinking here, it's not a portrait, it's almost like a fashion portrait, so it's a very simple light, very simple set up, but if you control it very carefully, it can be very effective, and as you see, we're still using the black box, which is, under these conditions against white, is really, very effective. Hi, so come on in, Kyler, and it's very simple, just jump up in the box there, remember you're on two apple boxes, and straight to me; that's fine, so I'm just lining up the camera directly in line with him, so here, you have the camera, the subject, and basically the light are in a straight line, just a little bit, very small amount there, and just come down just a little bit, so the first thing y...

ou gotta look at here, is just how deep the shadows are in the eyes, how deep the shadow is here. Maybe go in a little bit closer, so, you have a clamp there? Yeah. We can just use it as a counter-weight here, but maybe you can just even go in there, that's it; the legs, a little bit apart, right, and then even try the hands, and just the thumbs in the pockets there, and very, very simple; the head up, just a tiny bit, but I think not too high, because you should really stay with the camera, so you can almost a little bit, lean forward a bit to the camera; now, I think that we need a flag in there. Just on top, the small flag is good, we might need it on a bigger stand, actually, why don't we use this and bring it in? The big one here, and we can just put it horizontal. Sorry. Go ahead, yeah, go ahead. (clinking) So here, we're just gonna take, we're shooting against white, so essentially here, we have his blonde hair here, very white against the white, so I'm just gonna take a little bit of energy off of the light here, so we don't lose the hair into the white behind, and it can come in quite a bit actually, there, right, go back a little bit here, that's fine, now just slowly raise it there, 'cause it adds the right amount of softness to it; there we go. (footsteps echoing) (shutter snapping) Now try the arms, just really quite strongly folded, there; I think, when you're doing something like this, I think it's important to really look at the shot, remember it's a human being in here, begin to look at the clothing, 'cause I introduced it as a fashion shot, then you'd really want to introduce that, so you should look at small details like the sleeve, here, the shot's a little bit boring through here, that's why I had him fold the arms there, (shutter snapping) and then, probably, the shot's even a little bit stronger if we go in a little bit closer, so I'll do that with the camera; you can always crop later, but sometimes it's very nice to do it in-camera. (metal scraping) So here, Kylar, you can move, you can hold onto the collar, you can a little bit, hold onto the pendant; there are different things that you can do here, you can begin to move around here, a little bit, and see what you want to do here; you can invent something, there, when you find something, always give me a couple of what you find, just to enable me, Okay. Just in case I miss the eyes or something; (shutter snapping and beeping) it's perfect what you're doing, it's perfect, exactly, just a little bit that way, that's it, the kind of the lean was good; just bend, that's it; (shutter snapping) so what you're looking for here, are very subtle variations; body language, 'cause there's nothing else in the shot to look at, he's not inside a car, he's not inside a diner, he's not on the beach (shutter snapping) you keep an eye on what's going on with the lighting, if you remember, I put that flag in there; (shutter snapping and beeping) of course, here it helps, I'm working with a really good model here, so of course it helps tremendously; it's one of the big advantages in New York City, there's a lot of good models here; (shutter snapping) try just for one shot, both hands in front of the face; again, okay, and then hands down; you can try a smile when you feel it, good; well done. (shutter snapping) Just stay there for a while, just there; open the elbows a tiny bit; just raise the flag at the back there, just a little bit, would you? Yeah. (shutter snaps) Good, alright; that's fine, thank you, so if we start to go through this, if we go to the very, very beginning where we started, it's always interesting to see a progression, so if I'm selecting, let's say I'm doing a test for myself, if I look at it here, I'd say well, that here, the black and whiteness is a little bit boring, so in the next frame we went to color, so the color is de-saturated color, so it's not full color; you might even look at this as a de-saturated color shot, and then later, you might put, there's a little piece of coral here, you might put the light back into, the energy, the redness, back into the coral there, but as a starting point, the black box is doing the work. It's creating the shadows on the outside, pencil edging the outsides of the shot here; if you see here, the shadow on either side here, the flag on the top is reducing the light on the hair, so you have a very good silhouette here against white, so this is working fine, so this for me, as I said to you, this is a little bit boring here, so if we start to go through it, I then covered this area here; the sleeves are pushed up, so therefore, you have the skin here, obviously, and then the skin here, which worked very well; we then jumped in a little bit, so I'm still dealing with the fashion of the t-shirt here, and I'm checking the lighting here. So if we go through a few of these, just go through a few, now I actually go back one, now I actually let Kyler go, and he delivers to me what he would do very well, is he'll give me a mood, and an attitude, and you see if he drops his head here, the flagging is still holding onto the hair here, which is good; when he drops his head, the shot's more dramatic, which is good, and it's a matter of letting him go, but keeping an eye on all the elements here, you know, how much skin here, there is, how much of this arm is showing, so you have to keep an eye on everything, not only the face, and then you give him direction to make sure that Kyler knows that you're still interested. You can let him go, but you've got to somehow, hold on to some control here, so if we go through, and you can see with a strong light like this, that he's actually changing the lighting completely as he goes through, by raising the head, or dropping the head; he's changing the lighting completely, and the mood on his face when he does that; the light here is changing all the time, but the reason that that's so effective, the change of light, is because the setting of the key light was very, very good, and that accommodates all of that; you see, go back one, you see here, you can see how his head has gone back, and he's actually gone into the top flagging here, but it still works quite well, and it still has a mood. I mean, even in this shot here, you see a little bit of Kyler's tattoo here, which is very nice, so it's a small detail, but it looks good, and even though the hands are down here, there's something nice about the crop and the energy in the shot, so still, very, very, very, very simple, the whole shot; just keep going, this was just for fun, really, the swing out of the frame is quite good, smile is good; it's the simplicity of this, but the flexibility of it that you could actually use this shooting on several occasions,. Now, if you put a girl in this lighting, you might want to put some softening, maybe what's called a silk, between the light and the subject, just to soften the light a little bit, 'cause it's a strong light, and in this kind of very strong light, men tend to look very good in a strong light like that, you know? But I think that once again, this shot's helped a lot by what Kyler did. (playful instrumental)

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"

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


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.