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Masters of Photography

Lesson 48 of 54

Studio session with a model. The geography of a face


Masters of Photography

Lesson 48 of 54

Studio session with a model. The geography of a face


Lesson Info

Studio session with a model. The geography of a face

(dynamic music) So I thought that we would try something that's maybe a little bit lighter, a little more fun in a way, but also maybe a little more art-driven rather than an absolute classic portrait. So I'm gonna kinda begin to look at our models head here, Kyler, more like a landscape, more kind of a little bit more mountains, valleys, hills and so on and turn the shot into something a little bit more surreal. Okay so Kyler, you can come in. Just go drop yourself right on the table here. Now we just have this here. I want to see. (rattling) Okay, so let's try it about there, that's very close. That's good. Right now, so you need, we need kind of a flag in here. Yes Sir. Good, and I think we'll need the tube on that, so I'm sorry, I didn't see that. The extension one? Yes. That's good, just a little bit, the chin up. Close the eyes. Turn the head a little bit away from the camera. Let's do this, let's take this, it'll give you a different shot here, let's take the sweater o...

ff and we'll keep the t-shirt. Louiz? Yes? Just, sorry I don't want to mess up your hair here. Just stay there a second, alright so you can go back now. That's it. A little bit, the stretch is important, and then just the closing of the eyes and relax there. It will be tiny movements from here in. Right so how close can you get there with, you want to go as close as you can there, and just ease back a little bit so you've got a little bit of latitude there. Basically what I'll do here is to try two hits on this. And it gives us as we spoke on one of the other demos, with the girl that we used, it gives us a more monumental heavy weight shot when you do that because of the compression value of being so close with a long lens. So this is a phase one with a 1:50 lens but it has an extension tube in it so that as you at this point you're getting a lot of compression, not only from the lens but adding the tube even adds to the compression. I just moved the camera a little bit to camera right. Right, let me just have a look there. That's much better I'll just go down I think. Yep, so let's see here. Just bring the box over here. (camera clicking) I got a lot of light coming at me Taro. (camera clicking) Okay so just see how you do with a computer splice, you know? Okay. So just come in? There's no size here, so just come in from the top there, little bit more, little bit more, there. And then come in from the bottom. There, and then a little bit on the left side there. There. And then come in, go up a little bit more from the bottom. Up a little bit more, more, more, more. More. And then coming in from the right side here, the right side comes out just a little bit, tiny bit on the right side but almost nothing. That's it. And then bring the frame down just a little bit closer to the nose, the frame is good, just bring it down to the nose a little bit. Okay. Now flip the shot vertical so the hair's at the top. Yeah, so the angle of the head, just do an arbitrary bend on that, so you're going to bend it straight because if you wanted to turn the shot like this and make it into a vertical, something interesting might happen. In this case here I'd have to redo it, I'd have to reset it here but we can have a little look at that idea. So just bend the frame there, clockwise. Keep going, keep going, keep going, keep going. There. But I think it's, I think the shot is better. What's wrong with this shot right now is that I'm too, the camera's too low and if you wanted to change this into a dramatic vertical shot, the camera should come higher. Whereas the low camera works very well as a horizontal. So this you can cancel Adrian. And you go back to a horizontal. And here you'd want to cover it if you ever did that, you'd want the eyes to be open at that point. Here it looks quite good with the eyes closed. So if you just fill in the two corners there. Now, one thing I notice here is if you're looking at this here, there's actually one disconnect here, so you see the profile of the hair, Louiz? Just have a look here and see if there is a little bit more height you can give me to fill this in a little bit just there. Right? And then the other thing that's slightly wrong which is the light, is that this line here is very nice of the neck coming up, it would be nice to move the light round the corner a little bit just so this basically goes past the Adam's apple here. But you can see the compression of the shot and the detail of the shot, and the weight of the shot, so it has almost like a horizontal kinda Mount Rushmore look to it and of course there is a lot you can then take this, this you might just say is kind of the first section of it, you could take this to another level, another level. I mean he could be smiling, he could be laughing, he could be crying, you can take it into something more human rather than essentially a block of wood here. So you could make the shot more emotional, you know? Turn the head to me a little bit. You know, let the mouth open a little bit. Little bit more. Little bit more. There. So basically now I've started to work on the shot a little bit and try and get it just a little bit more emotional. Turn the head a little bit more towards me. Right there. Okay. So it's a double hit so do not move. (camera clicking) There. (camera clicking) There. So try that as a, let me see the last face shot there. Okay and then back again, stay there. Hold on, I'll come back to it. There, the mouth open a little bit more. I can focus it here. I think that's pretty good there, have a look. You see it's very luxurious here, I even have somebody to focus the camera. Believe it or not I can still focus a camera but Adrian sometimes disagrees with my focusing, so. (camera clicking) Okay, well done in the mouth there, a little bit more open but not much, just a little bit. Little bit more open Kyler, that's it. (beeping) (camera clicking) Good. So here, it's about kind of just considering that we're turning the head here into more of a landscape so you just have to imagine that you're looking at a valley or something with mountains in it, it's just a different take on a photograph of Kyler rather than just a classic portrait of him. There you go. So now, if you were to compare this shot with the previous shot, bring it down a little bit on top, that's perfect, and then come in from the bottom quite a way. A little bit more. And then a little bit, come up and we'll just see how far that can come in. Bring it from the bottom, move far right, I'm saying the bottom is far right sorry. No, no hold on, far right. Sorry. Keep going. Keep going. Keep going. Just past the t-shirt there, there! Now just come up a little bit from the bottom. Come up a little bit from the bottom, little bit more, little bit more. Hold it there, and extend it a little bit on the right side. Extend it a little bit more, more, there. Okay, so try that. Alright, and Adrian's gonna fix our join. But this wouldn't be, this wouldn't look like this if you did it with a single lens. You know when I say a single lens, of course it's a single lens, what I mean is it's a single shot. So you see you can make this eight feet by six foot in a nice white gallery and it'll look like something. There we go. Okay Kyler, you can come up. Good. Not bad, you see one or two bumps in the skin, you see we'll take all of that out, like here and here and so on, so we'll take whatever we want out, any little bumps that are there, but we've still leave with the character of all of the skin here and everything like that. But it's more of an art shot as opposed to like a nice portrait of you. That one was cool cause my eyes were closed the whole time and then I see what it turned out too easily. (laughing) It's a difference, yeah. Well then there was another thing that we looked at, where we turned the shot vertical so as it looks like you're like the front of a ship looking out, you know, but then if you do that shot then the eyes should be open but anyway we concentrated, the basic idea of this was that the idea of kind of mountains and hills and valleys and cliffs and so on cause basically the face has geography, you know so you look at it like that and then you, that way you can, if you think of that then you can create something that looks like that, you know. But you understand, we did two hits here. That's one frame and then the other frame and the computer splices them. Okay. You know, the computer puts them together, cause you allow when you do it, you have a slight overlap, you don't just try and make the cut, you say well I'll make the cut here, and therefore when you do the second frame I'll cut it here, your first frame may by cut to here, but then when you go to the second frame it may be here so you have an overlap, and that enables the splice to sit perfectly, and the computer does that, it will put it together. (dynamic 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.