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Masters of Photography

Lesson 9 of 54

The importance of casting and hair & make-up


Masters of Photography

Lesson 9 of 54

The importance of casting and hair & make-up


Lesson Info

The importance of casting and hair & make-up

Casting is a really important component of your shootings. And as I said earlier you have a test, editorial, advertising. During a test you have 100% control. You pick a model that you like. And you have reasons for picking that model. You have a really good look at her and that's what you in some way or another you feel that she is the right model for what you want to achieve. And of course it's always very nice that you have, if there's a small chance that you're going to have a communication before the shooting. You know maybe the day before. Maybe a phone call, something. It's very nice that you have some communication. So with the test situation you choose the model. For editorial it becomes more a balance between the magazine's choice, the fashion editor's choice, and your choice. So definitely the magazine will listen to you. And the fashion editor will listen to you. And then you have to be open to also what they are suggesting, their suggestions are. So in advertising it could...

be that you could be faced with a cosmetic campaign where the model's already being chosen, she's under contract. And therefore that's who you're shooting. So you might be in a situation that you can suggest tomorrow. We once years ago suggested for a major cosmetic campaign, someone they had never heard of. And who turned out to be really the right choice for them and she went on to have a 20 year contract with the cosmetic company. So you should be still involved with the advertising casting. But you'll find that you have a little bit less say. And there are other forces going on there. So one of the first things I do once I get to the studio, once I say hello to everybody. I already have a plan. So as I went to sleep last night, I'm already thinking about what I'm going to do this morning. So it's not just about the lighting. It's just not about the communication with the assistants. It's also about communication with hair and makeup artist and also the model as well so that she knows. In this case here it's a girl. That she knows what's going to be the plan for the day. So it's important that right away that you have communication with hair and makeup and the model. And you set a mood and set you know, an ambiance for the day. So that's a super important moment. Because once they get started, then you can become involved with the lighting, the set, the cameras, et cetera. But there should be a communication with hair and makeup about just what your expectations are. Now one of the things that you should have, you should have an opinion about hair and makeup. You don't have to be a makeup artist. You don't have to be a hairdresser. But you should have an opinion about what it should look like. What's your goal here. It shouldn't just, you should not leave that up to hair and makeup 100%. You should have an opinion about what the look is that you want. So there should be some communication about what you want. So you should be involved. Introducing you here to Luis, who is from Columbia. And Clara who is from Ireland. And I'm from Scotland. One of the great things about this business is that you meet people from all over the world. And that's a very nice thing you know. So the important thing is to communicate with the hair and makeup artist and also a little bit to the model about what you're going to do. And how the day is going to go. So today we're going to look at the difference between possibly beauty shot and a portrait. And sometimes the two overlap. Sometimes at the same and so on. But the important thing is that you should be involved. You should have an opinion as a photographer about what you're going to do. So in looking at Clara. Clara is absolutely beautiful. As you see her now she has absolutely no makeup. And already is looking beautiful. So this is one of the things. Sometimes you have to guard yourself against the overzealous makeup artist who sometimes come in and you see a girl go into the makeup room in the morning and she looks beautiful. And then she comes out and she might look more sophisticated and older, et cetera, et cetera. But maybe she's not quite as beautiful. So you have to watch and be aware of things like that. So Clara is already a great beauty. And so I think what we'll do, we'll do a very minimal start here. And we'll just see how she looks on set with lighting. And we'll see just a very basic, very honest kind of beauty portrait of her. Almost an overlap of portrait photography and beauty put together. And so as we look at her face right now, which is fairly normal this time of the year. Which is winter, we're coming out of winter. And you'll see here she's got lovely rosy cheeks here. And she has beautiful white skin. So I would ask the makeup artist just a little bit here. Even in the naturalness. To calm this down just a little bit with density. So a little bit of color and a little bit of density. Now you can do that with lighting. But you can always ask a makeup artist to just assist you a little bit. So the important thing is to really look in to the face. Most photographers don't do that. You really look in to her face. And you look for beauty because basically the face is full of geography like mountains and valleys and so on et cetera, et cetera. So what you really want to do is to look into the face and you can kind of imagine what you're going to do with the lighting and so on. But in this case here, you want to absolutely take down a little bit here. The forehead. So even in this simple shot that basically you're saying has no makeup. There's a little bit of makeup going on. And I would say that's all that we need for the first shot. Now the rest of it because we're working almost in a natural way with the hair. Is that she has super nice, super straight hair. So one of the first things you can do because he hasn't done anything to the hair yet really. Is to try and see what hair would do. How is the hair when it comes up? You know she has a beautiful neck Clara. So therefore, is the hair going to be up? Is the hair going to be down? Or does the hair come in front of the face? You know. And can you use a little bit of wind. And you have to be careful with wind because it can just sometimes destroy the hair. And sometimes you're better with just a soft card. Just using a card almost there. 'Cause it's just a single stroke. Which is much kinder on the eyes. And otherwise you find with the wind machine, that after half an hour the girls' eyes are watering. Sometimes it's necessary but sometimes you can stay away from it. If I'm looking at this we can start almost in a romantic way like this. Very very simple. And there's various things that you should consider. Do I do eye contact? Is it not contact? And of course some of these things can overlap. You can do eye contact and non-eye contact. Sometimes you get a great shot of somebody not looking at the camera. But it was very nice because she did look at the camera a few seconds before. So all of these things should begin to start turning over in your mind. Because once you have this communication, then you can turn all your thoughts and energies towards the set and the lighting and what you're going to do there. So in the beginning we're going to start very simply. And we can, as you come and we're looking at her. At the moment I'm looking at her coming straight at camera. But then one of the first things you should do is just say well I'm going to do a portrait. Portrait doesn't have to be eye contact you know? So then you then begin to look here. And Clara also has which is not always the case, she has a beautiful profile. So you would look at that as a possible shot there. And then at the same you begin to look at things like now, here's the head and you're turning the head left, right, and center. But how can you use the attitude of the body, which may not be in the shot. But how can you use the attitude of the body that she suddenly can change the whole angle of everything here. And then you decide is it better that we do her shoulders bare here? Or is this top adding something to the shot, that fact that it's dark. But it also has some texture to it. So it's very very nice. The important thing here is to spend these five, six minutes. Really it gives you a headstart on the shooting. It gives you a headstart getting going. On the shooting. When you build some awareness of what's going on with hair, makeup, and as you speak and communicate with the model who I know. The makeup artist who I've known for 200 years. So it gives you a chance to begin to communicate with them. And then you can then shut that down. And then put your attention on to the set. (relaxing piano 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.