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Natural Light Photography

with Sue Bryce

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  •   Trailer

  •   01 Shooting Natural Light Introduction

  •   02 Rotate Into Window Light

  •   06 Outdoor Light


Class duration: 1h 29m

See all 7 lessons
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About The Class

Harness The Power Of Natural Light


  • Manipulate available light to create a flattering light source
  • Eliminate harsh shadows using simple accessories
  • Create multiple types of light from a single window
  • Capture beautiful outdoor portraits whether it's a sunny day or cloudy day
  • Work with direct light, directional light, and backlight
  • Professionally light portraits using free natural light and inexpensive modifiers
  • Create your own inexpensive lighting tools


Sometimes, the best light in photography is free. In this 90-minute class, learn how to manipulate ambient lighting into studio-like lighting conditions. From window light to working outdoors, learn to harness available light to create a variety of styles, from soft, flattering portraits to dramatic directional light. Go behind-the-scenes of a live natural light shoot with artist Sue Bryce to bounce light, bend light, soften light, and create drama with intense light.

While natural light is beautiful, it's also affordable. Work with inexpensive accessories like $35 V-flats and a $15 homemade scrim to turn a single window into several lighting patterns using different techniques. Discover how to use modifiers to turn bad light into the kind of light that flatters anyone. Then in the final lesson, learn how to replicate natural light with studio lighting gear for beautiful light at any time.


  • Beginning photographers eager to learn simple lighting
  • Intermediate photographers ready to expand lighting skills
  • Photographers struggling to manipulate natural light


Portrait artist Sue Bryce built a career on using natural light. Her lighting style helps create contemporary, fashion-inspired portraiture without expensive studio gear. Awarded the Portrait Photographer of the Year -- twice -- Sue is a master portrait photographer specializing in a style of portraiture that helps women recognize their own beauty.

Lesson Plan

  1. 01

    Shooting Natural Light Introduction

    In the first lesson, learn how Sue built a successful portrait studio using entirely natural light -- and why you shouldn't believe the photographers that say artificial light is a must. In the live shoot, watch how different angles create different natural lighting looks and how a simple reflector can even out the light. Go behind the scenes as Sue uses just a scrim and V-flat to create a portrait, modifiers that can also be created DIY-style for around $15 and $35.

  2. 02

    Rotate Into Window Light

    Start with a simple, flat and flattering side light. Then, rotate the background into the window light 45 degrees for dimensional, soft light. Shoot with the subject directly across from the window for additional variation. Besides just rotating the background, learn how to rotate the subject into the light for beautiful light without a reflector.

  3. 03

    Natural Light Backlight

    Work with backlight from a window simply by using two V-flats to bounce light back to the subject's face. Sue explains why backlit portraits are her most requested types of shots and how simple they are to tackle. Learn the set-up and how to adjust the camera settings to create backlit natural light portraits.

  4. 04

    Make a Silhouette with V-Flats

    Not all natural window light is soft. Using V-flats to block off all but a little sliver of light from the window creates hard, directional light that's gutsy and beautiful. Watch how to make that harsh light work with specific posing to allow that light to fall perfectly on the face. Sue also suggests using this type of lighting to photograph men, as well as some maternity, boudoir and artistic shots.

  5. 05

    Sunbooth with V-flats and Scrim

    Those same V-flats and scrims can easily construct a "sunbooth" that will create flattering light anywhere outdoors. In this lesson, Sue explains how to quickly create a spot for beautiful studio-like outdoor light anywhere. The trick works for any time of day (provided it's actually day and not night).

  6. 06

    Outdoor Light

    Not every outdoor portrait shoot can take place at golden hour. Learn how to look for great available light -- and how to create your own soft light outdoors using a scrim or sheer fabric. Work with ambient light outdoors or soften that light with easy accessories.

  7. 07

    How Sue Bryce Uses Strobes and Kinos

    While Sue built a successful portrait photography business using natural light alone, there are some advantages to having artificial light on hand. Yet, Sue stays true to her style and uses those lights to mimic natural light. Learn how Sue uses a strobe with a large diffuser and a Kino Flow light behind the scrim to imitate natural light.


Meet Your Expert

Sue Bryce

Multi-talented Sue Bryce is a Master Photographer, Artist, Illustrator, and anthropologist. Her style of contemporary fashion-inspired portraiture gives her clients the experience of looking like the women in magazines and feeling beautiful. Sessions are designed to pamper and celebrate everything ... read more

See instructor's Classes

100% of students recommend this class.
See what some of them have to say.

  • AnnaGeo Jump

    AnnaGeo Jump

    June 2016

    Such an amazing way to use natural light and get great results. Sue you have an artistic and practical way to see everything around you, and this course opens our minds to endless possibilities around us that can help us to achieve the most beautiful results with natural light and simple materials. Thank you as always!

  • Noel Guevara

    Noel Guevara

    December 2016

    Fantastic course! I got this for $29 and it's the most bang-for-the-buck purchase I've made here in creative live. Sue is undoubtedly an expert, and I love her no-fuss, direct method of teaching. Her lighting hacks are also great tips. At first I was apprehensive because of reviews of her course with Felix Kunze, where she was described as overpowering and defensive, but after seeing this I now understand her background, and learned that she actually has great respect for Felix. Buy it. You'll learn a lot about natural light in one go.

  • Kelly Cas

    February 2017

    definitely good for a beginner who doesn't yet have the time or money to invest in expensive equipment. i love her sharp personality and she is clearly passionate about what she does, infusing the whole atmosphere with fun

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