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Masters of Photography

Lesson 13 of 54

Studio session with a model - set up 3


Masters of Photography

Lesson 13 of 54

Studio session with a model - set up 3


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"


  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.