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Class Introduction

Lesson 1 from: The Portrait Lighting Challenge: Natural vs Studio

Sue Bryce, Felix Kunze

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Lesson Info

1. Class Introduction

Lesson Info

Class Introduction

supervises a glamour and portrait photographer who was born in new zealand shot in australia one number ah huge amount of awards there and has since grown to become a amazing worldwide phenomenon whose message has changed the lives of women and I would just say people around the world and the she is a natural light focus shooter now our other instructor felix kun's has is a wonderful commercial and editorial photographer he was born in berlin raised in london now is based in new york and he is an amazing photographer in his own right he's also assistant for the likes of annie liebovitz mario testino and has learned and has helped them do amazing lighting work so they are here to bring their skills in natural and artificial lighting so everybody in the room around the world help me welcome soon felix darling how are you guys doing how do you feel about this now you're gonna be doing some stuff that you've never done before how do you feel I I was just saying to the students that I've ne...

ver shot with studio light um ever so I did in the very beginning of my career e about nineteen ninety two ish head of soft box which counteracted the studio light so originally we and then off course we did away with the soft bark so yeah it's been twenty years since I've shot twenty four years since I've shot with yeah any form of light that's excited and felix now people probably recognize you if they've seen a large aids courses you've been lighting director for those so what is your first time here as an instructor on your own right how do you feel it's you know from the tip of my top of my toes to the top of my head just tingling with excitement so and you know hearing the students I kept saying to sue last night I could teach this stuff and I think it's we can make it not complicated equipment so we're gonna try we're gonna drive what I will do it but if I can teach it to sue if you know you had that stuff books teo tricks you probably threw it away with a smile on your face like finally it's going in the trash but I love the most about these two is that they are so in sync that they were basically the same outfit without actually claiming that this was not planned so with that I'm going to leave you to feel like our jade right now I'm gonna leave you two to it take it away thanks for staying so I'm a natural like photographer I've beena natural light photographer for over half my life and the reason I'm a natural light photographer is this or by the way on before I start telling you about that we decided to just start shooting were going to be shooting in the next ten minutes because you don't need to hear my life story for him that a thousand times you get to hear felix is story throughout the day or obviously he can come back and do his own creative life but we decided that teaching is more important and so we're just going to get straight into it because we've got lots today yeah so I used natural light because when glamour photography went out of fashion in the late eighties early nineties look to really horrible to have that glamour flash and the vessel in on the lynton it was a big no no and so we started to take all the soft focus filters off the hessel bled and we started to shoot open windows and shoot with a soft box in window light so it was half and half way we're really trying to evolve our photography at that period of time around the nineties pretty much that whole ten year there was a magazine called black and white magazine which was just four photographers and I was captivated by I mean they were half fashion half fine art and photographers and all the best in the world and really for me the most significant shift came from her brit it's who was shooting mostly fashion in the nineties supermodels in natural light on this rooftop in l a and he really changed my world I did away with the flash then and I held to this now I'm a very tenacious stubborn person and I kind of worked with natural light for long enough to make it look a certain way that I never ever bothered to learn or reconnect with lighting now when I watch lighting workshops in a lot of these guys the teach lighting workshops are my friends and I have set through c manners at big conventions I've watched lighting I don't understand it I don't care what anybody says I have a very high cognition and I do not understand the way they don't interrupt me thie way there boys teach light and I was like I'm sorry but I don't get it so when I said to felix hey was here when we were doing creating incredible and he was like you just walked up to a window and did a shot like in three seconds that I've worked for hours to try and create light for and I was like yeah and here's that I wouldn't know how to create that light for studio lighten so I said if you could make it look like that then I can shoot at night I can shoot after three pm you can shoot on half the way through fuck in the morning yeah I can shoot in stormy weather you know and so we started tio challenge each other to you know well I could do this and it's like well I'll just do this and then I could do this so it's going to be really interesting but this is what really sold felix for may my favorite photographers and the world are herb ritts any liebovitz and mario testino they end richard ever don right but they see beauty like I have never seen photographers see they see beauty and their masters at the craft and I watched their work and I'm so taken with when you look at the the way these masters photograph you never see the light you just see the beauty and when I met feelings he's worked with I have two of them and I was just like tell me about that you know about lighting there and because you're doing something that other people are not doing and it's not in postproduction yeah that's the thing I mean you know I've photographer that's tried they bought a soft box and thrown it away rage of fury it's the same thing you go to the studio and suddenly it doesn't look soft it doesn't look nice it doesn't like that you can tell it's shot in the studio that doesn't need to happen you know there's some basic steps that just no one ever teaches on dh you'll be surprised I think I hope that the simplicity with which will be able to do it how we stripped it back to something quite simple you know I'm just going to replicate a window and I've always said that people that's how you teach light and what I think it's going to be interesting with shows on these things so something that feel extended to dio when we were talking about it is when he says I'm going to replicate the window was he's got this amazing yeah and we're gonna bring it on anyway but basically when I when I shoot he can walk up and hold this in front of the model and take a photo of it and what it does explain it catches the light so I was like how do we show someone what the light is actually doing on set on dh I came up with were going back and forth I said I want a shiny ball and we were going to like mediums and buying like chinese therapy pal's nuts like hang on christmas decorations shiny christmas decoration so I have one that has a little stick so I don't have to do this but I want to show you and we'll show how that works later but you can literally see exactly the light that's affecting the subject so well we're trying to make this we're going to make this super simple to follow through different than anything else you have a shot you're not going to get a studio look from the light we're doing and that's really big difference we were gonna have that natural light replicated that suit shoot so much so I'm gonna start shooting and I'm going to focus on sort of five five styles that I work around and those five stars are pretty much all of you what I work with in the afternoon we're going to go a little bit more dark and nazi but for now the five sort of lighting scenarios I work for I worked towards our flat a flat light soft beauty ish light and then I go just more and more contrast and so all I do is remove more and more light and I bounce light as much as I can so one of the challenges we're filming may shooting is ice around my clients in defense so you know you have to work around the place in order to see what I'm doing but that's the magic of what I do so if there's any natural like christians ask them in the segment because there's also people that haven't mastered natural light that want to know how it looks so good coming straight off camera and I want those questions as well because there really really important I have limits is a natural life photographer I joke that I'm powered by god so that can go offered any time um I can shoot from daylight hours which is normally ten tal to thirty safely on our cameras now have this magnificent high I isos but you know realistically that's when I have to shoot I have only ever been caught once in a storm where I could physically not shoot it was too dark I've tried daylight lights out the window off my studio shining it I tried that actually hide them and tried that terrible on dh you know and so really it it's quite incredible I don't even know what I'm going to get so whatever this happens in this window right now I have no control over that I only have control over how close she stands to it and how much reflected like I'd seen back to here and said that I have a lot of control over so when the light goes I'm done and that's you know one of the things with what I do so I'm going to focus on taking just some really key shots and if you look on the keynote the first image that I wanted to use as an example was that is the flat beauty light on the left in the centre I've started to bring in more contrast into the image and on the food image on the right it's directional light and she's post towards the light which makes a difference I will talk about posing and lighting throughout this whole today but the idea is I did that was natural light and then felix has to do that with um studio airline say why we call it a challenge the next slide if you go to the next slide I think what I'm to take us up into more of a kind of fashion but portrait look because this is how people want to be photographed now we don't really call it glamour anymore it's more vanity fair style it's more mario testino it's more any live it style ofthe portraiture it's very contemporary and you know it's a beautiful way now I can get that was natural light but I can't get it with studio so felix is going to replicate that and now it's just our morning so I'm going to do my segment then he's going to and we're going to shoot the same pose in the same model and inside by side our images to see how close we can create this lighting so I'm really excited I knew nothing about studio I want to say one other thing about genesis why did I get into doing so you like because I used to shoot everything natural light on dh it was actually magazine is one day that said and I was shooting in florida and we had rain coming and she said you're gonna have to learn how to create any lighting situation anywhere and I thought on that opens up also commercial shooting for me because you're going to get hired to do something in the studio that's how sue and I were first worked together we did a we'll do the hollywood shoot that we did before where sue was hired to do what you have with was just your chute wasn't it yeah the thing is is I got the brief to be a model for the hollywood shake I thought they mean do you want a photograph it and I think I love to photograph and they're like oh we're asking you studio lighting and I think that clam it's my thing and hollywood's my thing I'll just get a lighting expert felix you want to come and do this with me so it was kind of funny that we I ended up doing that but it's like it's the best of both worlds they give you ultimate control basically so we're gonna teach you what you were going today ultimate control

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Lighting Challenge Workshop Guide Part 1
Lighting Challenge Workshop Guide Part 2
Sue Bryce & Felix Kunze - Gear Guide
The Lighting Challenge Syllabus

Ratings and Reviews

Aliah Husain

I loved this course! I purchased it as a beginner photographer, unsure of whether to shoot natural or studio light and how to get the best results. After watching the course, I am fully confident in my ability to use both natural and studio lighting in my photography. And most importantly, I feel I have the knowledge base to be able to experiment with lighting in any situation. I am both grateful and inspired by these two amazing teachers sharing their technical knowledge and a personal piece of themselves. It is clear that they genuinely care about making their students better photographers. Thank you, Sue and Felix!!!


This is the best lighting class I've done, including several in-person ones. Covers so much, and the contrast between and dialogue about the two styles (natural vs studio) was so helpful. I didn't think there was anything at all negative about how Sue spoke with Felix, which a few reviewers said. Clearly she has great respect for him, which she sincerely says at one point, and explains why. Wonderful to see specifically how they both shape light. So many topics are covered. Loved Felix's clear and specific explanations about studio lighting. This class is worth every penny.

Wasabi Ben Kenobi

This was a fantastic introduction to studio lighting, and one of the best courses I've watched on Creative Live. I've only ever done natural light photos, but I want to learn more about studio lights because I'm creating a basement studio. I'm already a big fan of Sue's approach to portraiture. Now I'm a fan of Felix's soft lighting approach, too. In this course, he demonstrates how to replicate natural light portraits with a simple lighting setup. With a big scrim, a strobe or constant lamp, and v-flats, you can do so much! I'll be watching this course again.

Student Work