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Masters of Photography

Lesson 13 of 54

Studio session with a model - set up 3

Albert Watson

Masters of Photography

Albert Watson

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Lesson Info

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.


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
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

Studio session with a model - set up 3

(slow, rhythmic music) What I'm gonna do right now is to change the shot to a slightly more dramatic lighting, less beauty, more portrait light, and I'm gonna switch the light to almost, the light almost behind her. And then, I'm gonna look at a profile shot that has a much more dramatic lighting in it. So that's what we're gonna do now. Let's move the black flat here further back a little bit. You move it back. Let me have this here and we'll take this down and put it in there. And the same, you're still gonna rest on the point of your wrist there. Come this way a little bit. It could back up. It would be delightful for me if it could go further back just soften a little bit. Put her in a little space like that. Okay, hold on. Just put the side panel over a little further. That's it, good. Camera is good? That'd be, you want him clean? Come forward a little bit more, stretch forward. That's it. That's perfect, just looking down a little bit. As you see from the angle of ...

the light right now, it's a lot, not a lot, but it's a more dramatic light. It's still on access to her, it's still coming at her, but we've chosen a different vantage point, which makes the light appear more contrasting. There you are. It's not on, right? Just think about a smile there. Just a little bit more of a smile as you look, you see the boyfriend coming over the hill. There, okay. (camera clicking) Hold on. Now, I want you not to move. Just there, just for a second or two. (camera clicking) Just bring in a small card and we'll flag this just a little bit. We're gonna take a little bit of the weight off of the ear there, which is a little bit bright. I need a small flag. You'll soon see what it's doing. Let me have it in my hand here and then we can fix it. You gonna stand there? No. Okay. So we look at it here. Okay, well, it's better you fix it. Sorry, difficult for you to get in. So, usually, when you put a flag in like this, the thing that you would do is you'd cut the light completely. When you cut the light completely like that, then now you can really introduce that light and see what it does. Now what you can do sometimes with that, which is a lower light level, you know, I'm holding the flag, but you can have a look and see if there's something interesting happens there with it. Let me pull it back a little bit. So all of this work has just been done by the flag. So now, just stay in that one position there, Clara. Stretch forward a little bit. There. So bit by bit, just by the simple use of a flag, you can increase the power of the shot. (camera clicking) So what I'm gonna do now is just, I wanna fix this flag so it's a little bit more permanent, so now you can bring in the stand to hold this. So stay right there, Clara. It'll be over very quickly. Taro. Yes, sir. Just hold still there, Clara. I'm sorry. And then it will be very quick. You're gonna do-- I'll drop the stand there. Okay. (crew speaking) So what you wanna do here, is you absolutely wanna make sure that when you put your flag on a stand, that it's doing the same thing as it did when you held the flag. So we'll hit this again, the eyes a little bit lower. It makes it a little bit more romantic looking down, just a little bit more, up. There, perfect. That is good there (camera clicking) and so you can check that it's doing the same thing. So now, that, I think, works very well. So just stay there so I can get the second hit. Yeah, I'm gonna do, once again, a double hit, which I explained a few minutes ago. So hold on to it there. Taro. Yes, sir. Can you come over here to stand where I am here. Just stand next to me. Sure. I need to move that quite a bit over and take out the flat here for my second frame. So hold steady. We'll get the shot very, very quickly. A little bit more if you can do it. Don't worry about the top. Here we go. Okay, that should be enough. Okay, I'm gonna do the second hit on this. Let me do one more from the front for it's a perfect match. (camera clicks) Good, think about a smile again. There, good, (camera clicking) there you go. So let's go ahead, and you can relax, Clara, just... My hands are getting numb. Your hands are numb, the face is numb. (Clara laughs) Look natural. Here you can see how the computer spliced it. It's a very simple process. You can even do this kind of splicing, I think, even on an iPhone, you know. The reason, once again, for the splicing, Why splice? Why not shoot it in one? The reason for the splicing is that the shot has an additional compression value when you do that. It has a more immediate frame. It makes the frame look more powerful when you do that. And the sharpness level, you may not need 180 megapixels. The sharpness level can be controlled with noise and grain and so on, if you want to reduce that a little bit. So just come in with a crop on the right hand side a little bit, that's it. And then a little bit from the bottom. It's got a little bit too much black in it right now. Then come in a little bit on the left side. A little bit, hold on. And a little bit from the bottom makes it slightly more landscape. There, okay. Now you really have an option here. You could keep the original vertical shot here if you wanted. I think the panoram's quite good, because you have the shape of the head coming down here in the back. The camera's at just the right level, so the focus is entirely here. You have a little bit of texture coming through from her blouse that she's wearing. You don't need, in my opinion, a lot of detail here. We may open this area a little bit up on the neck and the ears here and Photoshop just a little bit. You know, I could have let a little bit more in with the flat, but it let's you see the drama of the shot right now. So I think what we'll do now, now that we have the splice like this, which I think is quite good, you're better doing this splice not by the computer, but doing it manually, if you know Photoshop. But the computer does just as, demonstrating it, I think the computer does a good job of splicing it. And we can see it now. (slow, rhythmic 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.