Skip to main content

Day 1: The Natural Light Studio

Lesson 9 from: 28 Days of Portrait Photography

Sue Bryce

Day 1: The Natural Light Studio

Lesson 9 from: 28 Days of Portrait Photography

Sue Bryce

most popular photo & video

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

9. Day 1: The Natural Light Studio


Class Trailer

Day 1


First 2 Years: The Truth


Teaching 2 Photographers in 28 Days


Rate Your Business


Year One in Business


Day 2


28 Challenges




Price & Value


Checklist, Challenges, and Next Steps


Day 3


Day 1: The Natural Light Studio


Day 4


Day 2: Mapping Your Set and Outfits


Day 5


Day 3: One Composition - Five Poses


Day 6


Day 4: Flow Posing


Day 7


Day 5: Posing Couples


Day 8


Day 6: Capturing Beautiful Connection & Expression


Day 9


Day 7: The Rules - Chin, Shoulders, Hands


Day 10


First Weekly Q&A Session


Day 8: Rules - Hourglass, Body Language, Asymmetry, Connection


Day 11


Day 9: Styling & Wardrobe


Day 12


Day 10: Shooting Curves


Day 13


Day 11: Posing & Shooting - Groups of 2, 3, and 4


Day 14


Day 12: Posing & Shooting Families


Day 15


Day 13: Products & Price List


Day 16


Day 14: Marketing & Shooting the Before & After


Day 17


Day 15: Phone Coaching & Scripting


Day 18


Second Weekly Q&A Session


Day 16: Posing Young Teens


Day 19


Day 17: Marketing & Shooting - Family First Demographic


Day 20


Day 18: The Corporate Headshot


Day 21


Day 19: Glamour Shoot on Location & Shooting with Flare


Photoshop Video: Glamour Shoot on Location & Shooting with Flare


Day 22


Day 20: Photoshop - Warping & the Two Minute Rule


Day 23


Day 21: Posing Mothers & Daughters


Day 24


Third Weekly Q&A Session


Day 22: Marketing & Shooting - 50 & Fabulous Demographic


Day 25


Day 23: Shooting into the Backlight


Bonus: Shooting into the Backlight


Day 26


Day 24: Marketing & Shooting - Girl Power Demographic (18-30s)


Photoshop Video: Girl Power Demographic (18-30s)


Day 27


Day 25: The Beauty Shot


Bonus: Vintage Backdrop


Day 28


Day 26: Marketing & Shooting - Independent Women Demographic


Day 29


Day 27: Sales & Production


Day 30


Day 28: Posing Men


Day 31


Bonus: Pricing




Photography, Style, Brand, and Price Part 1


Photography, Style, Brand, and Price Part 2


Marketing Part 1


Marketing Part 2


Money: What's Blocking You?


Bonus: The Folio Shoot


Day 32


Photo Critiques Images 1 through 10


Photo Critiques Images 11 through 27


Photo Critiques Images 28 through 45


Photo Critiques Images 47 through 67


Photo Critiques Images 68 through 84


Photo Critiques Images 85 through 105


Photo Critiques Images 106 through 130


Photo Critiques Images 131 through 141


Photo Critiques Images 142 through 167


Photo Critiques Images 168 through 197


Photo Critiques Images 198 through 216


Day 33


Identify Your Challenges


Identify Your Strengths


Getting Started Q&A


Rate Your Business


Marketing Vs Pricing


Facing Fear


The 28 Day Study Group


Selling Points


Interview with Susan Stripling


Emotional Honesty


Day 34


Sue's Evolution


28 Days Review


Student Pitches


28 Days Testimonial: Mapuana Reed


How to Pitch: Starting a Conversation


Your Block: Seeing is What You're Being


Your Block: Valuing and Receiving


Building Confidence: Your Own Stories


Building Confidence: Your Self Worth


Pitching An Experience


Pitching An Experience: Your Intentions


Pitching An Experience: Social Media


Final Thoughts


Lesson Info

Day 1: The Natural Light Studio

I love this challenge. I didn't realize how much I knew, about shooting in the corner of a bedroom, until I started to show people the difference. This is all about the 101 of natural light. It's about putting a corner V-Flat in the corner of a room, and then controlling the light with a diffuse curtain and a polyboard or a V-Flat or a reflector of some kind. I'm gonna take you through, right the beginning start up of just standing next to a window light. And how I can make my window light, any window light, look like a beauty dish in the studio. This is how I shoot straight out of camera, and you can see the images coming straight out of camera today. It's exciting, and I want you to really master this. So that you can take beautiful, natural light portraits. So have a look at out space here. I'm in a room that is almost, 12 feet wide. I've got a nice, fairly high studs, so I've got a bit of space for light, and I'm facing southwest. So, we're in winter light right now, which means th...

e light is very low. And it's gonna come around this way. So, it's gonna sit over there. And we're currently at around 11 AM. So 11:30 AM. So we're at nice lunch light, we're not an afternoon light yet. I like to be shooting by 10 AM every day. This is the best light of the day. What I need to do is diffuse this light. So this room has Venetian blinds, and the first thing I'm going to do, is pull them up and get rid of them. Okay, in my camera bad, I travel with, this piece of fabric. So it's a nice, large piece of silk organza. The reason I use silk organza, is it's sheer, and it's not very shiny. So it's not very reflective, it's just a really good filter. And I carry this with me everywhere, cause it curls up tight in a ball in my camera bag. Now I make sure that I always have these hair clips, which are just hair dressing, blow dry clips, which I keep. And I can pin that pretty much to anywhere. Or have my assistant hold it, or have a friend hold it, if I need to diffuse any light. So this is one of my most favorite things for a natural light photography in my camera bag. I also have today, some options for you. Remember in most hotel rooms have a diffused white curtain and a black out curtain, to block light. So most hotel rooms have it already set up. When I set up my studio, my first studio, I covered all the windows in white net curtains. It doesn't matter what sorta net curtain you get, as long as they're plain, and they diffuse light, and you can bunch them up. Because the harder the light is outside, the more diffuser you're gonna need on that curtain. So, I found these the other day, at a second-hand store, an op shop, here in Seattle. And they were $20 for four white curtains. Now these are really nice, sorta cotton, or cotton muslin, and they were so cheap. You can find net curtains pretty much anywhere. So if I wanna temporarily hang these up, I would just clamp them onto there, and they've kinda got a bit of ruching. Luckily I got four of them. So the net curtain, that's pretty great, so easy to afford, and so easy to find. $20 for four large curtains. So they will bunch along there nicely. Also, I purchased a chair, and when I purchased a chair, it was wrapped in this fabric. I don't actually know what it is, it's like a dacron, or a paper, a cloth paper. You can't tear it, and I've been using this piece of fabric, cause it folds right down to a small square. And I've been gaff taping it to the window. Because it's allowing in quite a lot of light, as you can see, but it is still just letting in this perfect amount of light. So I just wanna show you one thing. When you look at this room, see this hard light that's hitting right here. That hard light there, is impossible to photograph in. So before I even put a diffuser on, I'm just going to take a photograph in this light, and try and show you where I would be in this light, and why it's not going to work for me. So, always carry nice, easy little hair clips like this, have your chose of diffusers, you can have this cloth, you can buy curtains, you can use some organza. And then of course, we always carry photography clamps in our camera bag, so we can clamp onto anything. So just a great way to diffuse light, and you do need to be armed with this, if you're not going to shoot in artificial light. So I'm gonna take some shots first, and then I'm gonna show you the difference, in how the diffused light changes the light to my client. And then I'm gonna start bouncing light with these big foam core boards here. Which are just very basic foam core boards. I use foam core, I use polystyrene. So those are the two boards that I use. And anything that's white, these have black on the backgrounds, so they're really great to shoot in V-Flats as a background. So let's start with taking a shot with no diffused light. And working our way up, into making our client look gorgeous. As you can see, we have no diffuser on the window, and we're standing right here, Aileen is in hard light. She's not even in hard light, she's in half light. Because there's so much light on you, I metered in camera to your eye. And I'm shooting on 5D Mark III, and I'm shooting on the 35 mil. When I metered Aileen's eye, I'm metering, my shutter speed is going at 1250, so it's really fast. I'm at 2.8 on my F-stop, and I'm at 160 ISO. Any higher and it's not working. As you can see, this does not work, this shot. Okay, I can't expose for the highlight, and I can't expose for the low light, and I certainly can not, I have to bring her either into the harsh light, or I have to bring her into the low light. So let's take a step away from the window. Alright, so from here, as soon as I take her out of that hard light, and she's still very, very close to it. So there's a lot of reflective light bouncing up. So now I'm going to take another shot, without changing my settings. And obviously I've dropped a stop, so I'm going to toggle back up. So that I'm exposing in camera, on her eye, I'm on her right eye. And I'm going to take another shot. As you can see, I've still got hard light coming in on her right hand side. I've still got low light, but she has absolutely no light hitting her face now. Okay, so that looks really bad for her, and what I'm gonna do now, is take one more step away from the light. So let's take one more step this way, and I'm gonna take another shot, I'm still at 160, I'm still at 160 at 2.8, and I'm just gonna focus on her right eye and take a shot. Still nothing, it doesn't matter, the more I get it away from the window, the softer the light becomes on the light side of her face, and still the darker it becomes on the dark side of her face. So I need to do two things, I need to eliminate the light that's coming from this side, and I need to create more light on this side. And the only way I'm gonna be able to do that, is by putting a diffuser here to cut this light down, and then see if I can even out the light on her face. So now, I'm gonna do that. Now, I've hung up my curtains, so I'm going to take another shot. And when I come straight up, sorry I'm gonna turn my camera on, and when I come up, I'm pretty much at exactly the same settings. So I'm at 160, it's now metering still at 2.8. And the shutter has slowed down a little wee bit. So still getting, I'm getting a much better diffused light on this side, but I still don't like this side. So now what I'm going to do, is bring in a white reflector. Alright, as you can see right now, I now have the perfect amount of light hitting her face. That to me is like a beauty dish light. It's nice and flat, the face, and it is a beauty light for me. It is really flattering to all ages, it's lifting light. The light is not coming from underneath or above, it is coming directly 45 degrees to her. It is bouncing off this reflector, and I can bring that reflector into her, and the more I bring it in, and the further I take it away, you'll see, makes such a big difference. Probably two or three stops to this side of the face. And just to prove it, I'm gonna take a second shot. I'm still on exactly the same setting as I was before. So I'm at 160, I am now at 2.8, I'm at 500 in my shutter speed, which means that the shutter went faster, when the light bounced in. So sorry, I gotta blank then, that was my fault, not your. And then I'm just, no smiling, just push your chin forward. And that's a go for there. Okay, now as you can see, perfect amount of light, now evenly across her face. So let's address one major issue here. I haven't diffused enough light to the wall, and we have this big pattern here on the wall. So I'm gonna take a shot of that. Because we do not want that. Okay, so this is a problem that most people run into. And I'm just gonna drop my exposure down to make sure that you can see that pattern on the wall. There it is, and we do not want that cobweb pattern. Now that simply means that this area of light here, is still too bright, so I'm gonna take a second curtain. And that's why if you can bunch fabric, or if you can have more fabric in your bag, it's gonna make life a lot easier when you're on location. Now remember, if this is your home, you're gonna learn the light. Or if this is your home, and if this is your studio, you're gonna learn the light in your studio really quickly. It won't take you long to work out, what time of the day is the best to shoot. And what time of the day, you can make this work. So I'm gonna hang this up, and then we're gonna go from there. So now I'm gonna take a shot, as you can see, I have now hung up, three curtains there. So I'm diffusing light, there's absolutely no cobweb light on that back wall, I'm gonna take a photo of it so you can see. Make sure it's better then the last one. Absolutely perfect. Now I'm gonna come into here. I'm going to expose again over her eye. I'm going to focus on her eye, just chin down a touch. And here we are right here, I'm still at 2.8, my shutter is at 200 now, and, I'm at 160 ISO still. So, if I feel like, now, I need to lift up my ISO, I'm gonna take it to 320. So everybody knows, that the chip works better on 160, 320, and 640 ISO, those are the three ISO's I use all the time. I try to never go over 640 ISO, unless I absolutely have to. Yes I will go 800, 1000, 1600, if I have to, and if I need more light. But really those are the best ISO's that I'm trying to get. So from hard light, to perfectly soft light, she is one meter, or within one meter from the window. She's got a good reflector here, so it's bouncing light back to her now. I've got a really even light source going on over her whole face. Now we are in, what is called, a highlight situation. So for me, I have taken a room that's got lots of light in it, white wall, white bounce, white curtain. There's lots of light coming in, and then I've cut the light right back in order to even it out. Now that I've evened it out, essentially I'm taking light away, even though I've distributed the light better in this space. I've taken light away, so what I really need to do now, is make sure that my ISO is high enough to capture the amount of light that I've got in this space. So let's compare it to the first image that I took, when she had hard light, and no diffused light. And then, we'll have a look at this image here, and as you can see she stepped away from the window. As she stepped away from the window, the light was getting softer and softer, but it was also getting harder on her dark side. The most significant difference is not just diffusing the hard light that's coming through the window, but it's bouncing the light back on the left side of her face, sorry her left side, the right side from us, looking at her. As soon as you brought in that reflector, the light just softened right through the face there. And that's where I will shoot. If it is a darker day, I would simply step her closer to the window and I would not have that reflection of light on the back wall. So now what we're gonna do, is I'm going to just take a quick still of this scenario. So you can see how soft it is. That's it. And I'm going to swap sides. So I'm actually going to take you to this side of the room, and if all the light is hitting that wall, then essentially this is the darker side of the room. So let's see what we're faced with, when we change our V-Flat to the other side. And then let's see what happens when we put her in a color V-Flat instead of having her on a white wall. So we'll try that now. So, we set up a green, green-gray V-Flat here in the corner, which is going to change my backdrop color. Then what I've done, is I've taken the double up curtain off the end, and I've just put it along here. Now you can see, the white light on this wall has come back again. But that doesn't bother me, because if my client stands right here, that white light is gonna reflect back to her. When I bring the reflector into here, the white light is going to bounce off that white wall, bounce onto her reflector, and come straight back to her face here. So I'm gonna show you now, what the darker side of the room looks like. What it looks like on a gray-green. And then I'm gonna introduce a reflector again, and show you the distance between the window and the diffused light window, and where she can stand in this backdrop. Because she should be able to stand, at least a meter away from the window. And she should also be able to go back into this little alcove here. As you can see, these are 1.2 wide. So it's a very small shooting space. If there was a bed in this room, I would push the bed as far as I could that way, and just use this corner to shoot. I can then put any color V-Flat, is any color I can paint these. So the foam core comes in white and black, so already I have two corners. I've painted this one a gray-green. I have a powdered blue and a gold. So any color that you can create and make, and any color you can transport, if you are going on location. That would be your biggest concern, is if you were shooting in a hotel room, and you couldn't transport V-Flats. If you are in a set-up studio or shooting at home, in a home studio, you can have as many of these as you like. If you're going to a hotel, you are gonna have to use the wall or the wallpaper that the hotel has, so I suggest you go and check out the room first, if you're gonna do a shoot there. Alright, let's have a look, without a reflector. We're on the dark side of the room, the light is over there, it is hitting this wall. I've got one little diffused light on both sides, all the way along, and we've put the V-Flat, with the nice gray light, there. So what I want you to do is come to the edge of this, that's it, perfect. Now, this is where the light is at it's hardest. Cause you're right on the edge of the wall. So in a highlight situation, when you've got lots of light like this, you can bring her right to the edge, and, I'm gonna take a shot so you can see, exactly what's going on here. And I'm just going to focus. I'm at 2.8, I'm at 200th of a second at 640 ISO. And have a look at that. No reflector, but such beautiful light. Because we're on the dark side of the room, but we've got lots of light bouncing off this white wall, all the way around here. So now, if this light is getting too strong, which it just went up. Just shimmy this way, I want you to take half a step back. Okay, I'm gonna take another shot. And now, take another half a step back. Keep going, a little bit more. So technically, she's right out of this light now. And have a look. I'm not gonna change my exposure. It's not changing. I'm getting such a beautiful bounce all the way around here. I almost do not need a reflector. So to me, this is what I call a soft beauty light. This is such gorgeous light, so easy to shoot in. The only time that I'm gonna have a problem, take one more step back, is as Aileen gets closer to the background, her shadow is gonna pick up from any light source. But because it's bouncing from this direction, back there, to here, instead of just straight on her, she's not even getting much of a shadow on the back wall. So I'm gonna show you what I'm seeing. Cause I barely see, push your chin forward Aileen, that's it, perfect, don't move. As you can see, barely a shadow. So I can shoot anywhere in this space right now and it looks amazing. If it was a really low light day, she's wouldn't really be able to stand at that back wall without a big reflector here. So I'm gonna show where I would put the reflector. Come and stand on this wall, this side. And now turn your back, that's it. Now come towards me, okay, right to the edge, stop, not too close, now bring your chin this way. Just have a look at the light here. So, the closer I bring her, tip that way, and bring your chin this way, stop. The closer I bring her to the edge of this backdrop, the better the light. Chin down just a little bit, and work your shoulder in. We might as well show them how to really do it. (both laughing) Now, very gently, take a step away from me, stop. See she's gone into that low light, and I actually think that makes it look flatter. So let's have a look at the difference between those two images. I definitely like the stronger light. So bringing her back to the light, was better. Let's do this exact same shot, with the reflector in. Now, it's very unusual when somebody's filming you, to be filming so, it such tight quarters. But that's the good thing about what we're showing you today. Is that you can set up a studio in a very small room, and it can be absolutely perfect for what you need to do. You can do an entire shoot in one corner. So one corner with good light, good diffused light. And remember, if it was a rainy day, and it was really low light, then I simply would be upping my ISO, I would be upping my, I would just make sure that everything, my shutter speed's gonna slow down, but never let it get under 40 or 30 handheld, so I'd have to go on a monopod. So up your ISO. These cameras are incredible, they shoot in the dark now. So just up your ISO, just watch, it does give you noisy images. And just try and bounce in as much light as you can. So I'm gonna bring in a reflector, and see what changes in this corner. Have a look at this, all I've done is brought in this big white reflector board here. This reflector here is picking up all that light from the window, and it's bringing it back to her face, this side. I can bring this in as much as I want. In fact, the more I surround my clients in reflectors, the safer they feel. Especially if there's other people in the studio. I can bring it right in this way. And the more light that I reflect back to her face, the better it's going to look. So now I'm gonna take a shot and I'm gonna compare it to the non-reflected shot, in the same, in exactly the same position, and see the difference. So, just bring your chin around this way, that's it, perfect, don't move. Now, long chin towards me, with that shoulder in. Give me a tip, good girl, don't move, chin down this way. Right, I have this beautiful reflector, I can bring that right into there. And I'm bouncing light, let's take a shot, and compare it to the one we had before. And you are right on the edge, of that reflector board, so bring your chin down, that's it. Now my camera is reading at 2.8 still, and we are at 640 ISO, so I could bring my ISO down, but let's have a look. I'm, wow. Okay, so we're just gonna compare this image to the first one. Completely different light when she's on the edge of that board, and not. So, I feel like it's very difficult to tell, in this position here, where the light source is coming from. Because it is just hitting her so evenly now, and it's absolutely beautiful. I really love this, so what I'm gonna do, is I'm gonna just play with it a little bit more. I want you to bring your chin harder down that way, good girl, don't move. Now this time, I'm going to come a little closer. So relax your mouth, lip stick up, perfect. Just gonna take a little shot there, absolutely beautiful. I could just keep moving around this light. As you can see, this is coming straight off my camera. So, I'm gonna show you the roll file. I'm shooting at 2.8, so you can see that beautiful depth of field from her eye line, right down to her front curl. You can see the drop away on her back curl. You can see the light and even the contrast that's hitting the backdrop from dark to light, looks beautiful. So let's see how far we can move her around in here. I want you to take a step forward, and a, no step forward, yes, stop, and I'm just gonna remove, I'm going to just move this reflector back a little. There, perfect. Okay, now, I just want you to, bring your chin forward, that's the one, now bring this shoulder forward, chin down a little, stop, I'm gonna take a shot here. Nothing has changed, still at 400 shutter speed, I'm at 2.8, I'm at 640, I'm just saying chin down a little touch Aileen, beautiful, don't move. Okay from there, I still like this. If I compare it to, when she's closer to the wall, the light is a little harder, but nothing to worry about. Now I want you to take a step directly away from me. Okay now, you just saw the light drop away from her face, which was amazing to see, but if I bring this reflector in here, and I might even cross the camera a little bit here, I just need to show you the example. So I'm gonna show the original shot. And then chin forward and down. Okay tip this way slightly, not so far. And with that shoulder, that's a good girl, perfect. Now, let's pull this back so we got something to look at. Absolutely incredible what just changed then. I took her away from the edge of that reflector, so I pushed her back, what one step, see that, and look at the difference between the shot before, and the shot after. I like both, I like the open light and the flatness. And I like the contrast around her face. Both of them work for me, both of them still are really flattering to her face. Now let's turn her flat to me, and let's push her back one more step. Now she's really going away from any direct light. The only light that's really hitting her now, is the light that reflecting off that reflector. And the light that's reflecting off that back wall. So I'm just gonna, I'm going to move the reflector again. So I'm gonna cross over, and I'm just gonna push it right back. And if I cut her off from the camera, this way, perfect, it doesn't matter cause I need, this reflector is more important to my client. So let's have a look what I can see here. Chin forward and down, that's the one. And just bring those elbows in. That's a girl, now, chin down a touch, stop. Now here, I'm at, take one more. I'm at 2.8 still, my shutter has slowed down, I love this, I'm gonna open this back out, and I want you to take one big step towards me, stop. I want you to push your chin down, there. Now I've brought her back to edge in the center. And this time, I'm shooting at, okay, my shutter speed, I just went up two full stops then. So I'm gonna bring it right back down, I'm at 2.8, my shutter speed is now at 640, okay, so chin down. Beautiful. Let's look at the difference between those two. So just like that, one step and look at that. When she's forward, we're exposing on the face, and the background goes darker. When she steps back, our exposure goes up, and then we're exposing, and the background gets lighter. Two completely different looks in natural light. Absolutely love them. Let's challenge this light situation one more time. I'm gonna bring in one more V-Flat. And this time, I'm going to block light. Alright, I've put this foam core here, to really simulate low light. So this is what happens in low light. There's a very small light source here. And it's made the light a lot harder, all of the sudden. And now I'm struggling to find light. So, I'm gonna show you the difference. Take one more step back. And so now, I still have my reflector, I just have a lot less light coming at the front of her. So, I'm just gonna take a shot here. So I can put it up with the others. Now, I'm changing my exposure, because I'm now at, still at 2.8 at 640, but now the shutter speed's at about 320. So as you can see, I'm still getting an even-ish light, because that reflector is really saving me. Step toward the reflector, stop. Now you're on the edge of that light again. And you can see, I can see a shadow around Aileen's nose on this side because this light source is harder, and there's not enough reflecting light. So the only way I can soften it, is to bring this reflector closer to her. So I'm just gonna bring it in closer, closer, closer. Just a bit closer, there, perfect, stop. Okay, now if I cross that camera, I'm gonna show you the difference. So when I'm struggling for light, I'm going to bring my client to the edge, I'm going to bring the reflector right in. I'm just gonna take a still from back here, I want you to see how boxed in she is, because it's very important that you see, how close everything is. She's really in that little corner. So, chin forward and down. But in order to get beautiful light, I have to bring that reflector nice and close to her. Chin down a bit more, that's it, perfect. And I should be able to get a very similar light source to the one before, which is there. And I am, it's not quite as soft, so that's what I would do, if I was struggling for light. I could just bring this reflector in closer. I could make sure that I bounced as much light as I can around the room. And I just gotta make sure that there's no hard shadows on her face. Because if you're shooting that beautiful beauty light type look, nice, flat, open light to the face, this is where you wanna be. It's always about bouncing light. In this situation in here, I would have a little half reflector, and I would hold it, or put it on a box, to bounce light back up to her. I would surround her in white card. Now, all of the people right now who are saying, what if we just put a speedlight in there, or what if we just put a flash fill in there, what if we just put an ice light in there. You can do all of those things. That is not the look, I always have. But it is definitely something you can do. So, right now, this is about natural light studio, it's about setting up the most beautiful beauty light, on the smallest budget, and making it look exactly like she just stepped out of a magazine. I'm going to replicate exactly the same corner in a bigger space. This is about having a larger studio space. We are now at a 12 foot stud. That means we have more light coming in, and more light bouncing around. It's absolutely beautiful in here right now. I've got V-Flats everywhere, I'm bouncing light. But I just wanna show you, in relation to where she is on the wall, with this light source here. Her main light source is coming from her right. And what I've done is I've put this fabric, remember the one that was in the packaging, I've put this over the window. And the reason that I've done that, is so that I can diffuse the amount of light that's coming to her. So without a reflector, I'm just gonna do exactly the same thing. I'm just going to take a shot, straight to me Aileen, that's it. From there, I'm just going to focus on your right eye. I'm still at 640 ISO, I'm at 640, 2.8. Now as you can see by this image, there is, it's a, I've got a good even light. But there's still lots of contrast around her face. So even if I bump up the exposure a little wee bit, let's her take that one stop, and my shutter speed is now at 320. And we'll take that, it's still there, I can still see a shadow around her nose. I can still see a shadow around her neck. Now to make it look more like a beauty dish, all I have to do is bring in this V-Flat. So I'm just gonna bring it into here. And I'm just gonna bounce that in, I'm gonna open this up, okay. Now, all I'm going to do now, is even out the amount of light, that touching her. So you're gonna lose sight of her for one second. I'm just gonna show you the difference. Because I want you to see how simple, and how quickly we changed that. So as you can see, by image one and image two, image one and image two, we've pretty much gone up, one or two stops around the left side of her face. So, step toward me, Aileen. So I'm bringing you right to the edge of the light and even closer to the reflector. I'm gonna take one more shot here, so I'm stepping her away from the wall, there it is there, one, two, three. So I'm going to here, and I'm 2.8, I'm still at 320 shutter speed, and there it is there. So when I look at one, two, and three, you can see the difference between having no reflector, having a reflector, and then stepping her away from the wall. Absolutely perfect, too easy. So I'm gonna drop that back so you can see. Now, I'm just going to show you, the same green corner. And, I'm going to actually cover up my main light source, and use the light that's in the rest of the room. So I'm going to bring in this big poly board here, and I'm gonna put it here. So if this was my studio space every day, I could have multiple poly boards, all different colors, and create multiple corners that I can shoot in. All I need to do it make sure she's in the right amount of light. Okay from there, I'm just gonna do this quickly. You can see, put that there. Now, I'm going to just press that hard up against there. Perfect. Done. There it is, nice and easy. Now, straight away, I can see a shadow on her back wall. Because it's now relying on the light source that's coming from the back of the room over there. Now I can change that light, by just bouncing boards around. So I'm gonna move this across, and I'm gonna open this back up. Okay, from here you can see this nice, big, wide open space now. Exactly the same corner, I want to, no reflector. Step forward. Stop. As soon as you stepped forward into the light, I can see it light you up. And the light is coming from all around me, behind me now. So it's actually perfect. Chin down. I don't actually need to bring in a reflector here at all. The light source in this big space is so perfect. Let's just take one shot, so don't move. I'm just going to bring this reflector in. I'm just gonna come this way. Open that up. And that's it, pushing it forward, towards me. That's it, perfect, don't move. Okay I'm just gonna take one shot and see the difference. Long chin, good girl. So bringing the reflector in, put a shadow on the backdrop. So let's compare those two shots. I actually prefer the first one. We didn't need to bring in the reflector, we were getting such nice even light. So let's push that back, right here. And let's see if we can move her around in this V shape. I want you then to step back to this wall. Perfect. Now, just watching the light on her face, I want you to come into the light, that's it. Put this hand behind you, that's it, work the shoulder, up up, that's it. Don't tip backwards, bring your chin forward. Stay there. And I'm just gonna come into here. Okay, you'll know here now, when you need to bring in a reflector or not. You can see how much light is hitting your face. It's really, really important that we make sure that she's well lit. Just chin down. That she's well lit from both sides, and that we're exposing for that face, we're exposing, I'm focusing on the eye. I toggled down, my exposure is, so I'm kinda, I'm actually 2.8 at 200, still at 640. Take a step back out of that light. Perfect. Long chin. Even in a bigger room, the room is performing almost exactly the same as a smaller bedroom. Chin down. When she's away from the front, the light gets darker and flatter. We can still move around, turn flat. To me. Yeah, step into the middle, and step backwards. Stop. So that's right at the back of the frame. Elbows back, okay, long chin, stop. I'm just gonna come into here. Chin down a bit, okay pull back, you're leaning forward, don't lean forward. Just your chin forward, down, down, down. Chin down, that's it, stay there. Tiny little smile in the eyes, good girl. Not the mouth. (both laughing) Okay, lips together, show me, that's it, perfect, perfect. And we'll compare that. Okay, we've got quite a bit of dark in there. Take a big step towards me, right to the edge. Stop. Chin down. Can you see now, what's coming out of our camera? Natural light, how beautiful that is. I love this image, this to me, is beautiful daylight. I think all I have to do now, to make this a gorgeous shot, is to just put a beautiful expression on her face. Is to put beautiful, sorta hair around her face. To me that light is gorgeous, I don't even have to have a reflector. Straighten your head up to me, gonna come back halfway, long chin towards me and down, don't move there. Okay, and from there I just need a gorgeous little tickle of a smile in your eyes. Good girl, that is so beautiful. Soften your eyes for me a little wee bit more. And that is absolutely gorgeous, look at that. (Sue laughing) Gorgeous, gorgeous. Alright, from there, let's, that's it, natural light studio. Basic corners, working the corners, using the corners to pose. In this program, you're gonna learn all about posing in corners, posing on the wall. The beauty of what I do, is I shoot in very close quarters. I can shoot in, basically, three by three meters, or two and a half by two and a half. I do not need a lot of space to create an entire folio. What I need, is the best amount of diffused and bounced light. So everything I do, comes down to, making sure her face is squared to the camera. And making sure there is an even amount of light on both sides. Everything you've learned about flashlight and Rembrandt lighting goes out the window, when you are shooting this style of photography. This style of photography is about replicating a beauty dish with a polystyrene board or a gatorfoam board. And just making it look as beautiful and open to the face as you can, to open up all sides of the face. And remember, when you Photoshop somebody's face, you don't remove bags under people's eyes, you remove shadows underneath bags. So if you light the face well, you have a lot less Photoshop to do. And all of your images, should look like this coming off camera. So as a 40 year old, and myself as a 40 year old, we were just joking in the break, that really, with a bit of Photoshop and a good reflector, we still look 19.

Class Materials

bonus material

Business Checklist
Keynote Part 1
Keynote Part 2
Posing Guide: Set Map and Outfit
Posing Guide: Flow Posing
Posing Guide: Couples Posing
Posing Guide: Curves
Posing Guide: Teen Posing
Posing Guide: Family Posing
Posing Guide: Over 50 Demographic
Posing Guide: Beauty Shot
Posing Guide: Posing Men
How It Works
Styling and Wardrobe

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

I have purchased four of Sue's courses and love them all. I have learned so much. I found the lesson on connecting with people thru their eyes has made a huge difference in my photos already. Her before and after's made me cry. I want to be able to take these kinds of photos for my family and friends. I just love what she does. She is such a great teacher. I learn much better seeing things done, so this was the perfect choice for me to learn. I love Sue's humor, her honesty, her detailed teaching and sweet and wonderful personality. Her sessions will or should not disappoint anyone. It is the best money I have ever spent on self-help teaching. Thanks a million creative live. You GOTTA LOVE SUE!


Pure gold. Sue Bryce is likable, talented, funny, and an amazing teacher. She calls you on your BS (your excuses for why you aren't succeeding), gives you business, posing, marketing, pricing and LIFE advice. The class is 58 hours long - and you spend the majority of it looking right over her shoulder, through her lens and watch her walk through many, many photoshoots. She verbally and clearly repeats several critical formulas for success so it's imprinted in your mind. Her advice is crystal clear and your photography will dramatically improve after this class. Before Creative Live, you'd NEVER have had the opportunity to shadow a photographer of her quality... hands down the best photography class I've ever taken.


I have just began this course and I am excited to see how following her model will help me to improve and get my business started. I have been through the first two days and there is lots of information to absorb and things to get in order before I begin the actual challenges. I am thankful that there are photographers out there who are will to reveal there secrets ad are truly invested in others improving themselves in all aspects of their life and not just their photography skills. Thanks Sue Bryce for your passion for empowering woman and your knowledge of creating and sustaining a business by being true to who you and commitment to the improvement of others! I am excited to grow myself and my business, I am confident this will be worth every penny! Were the templates for the email PDF included in this course

Student Work