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Studio session with a model. The geography of a face

Lesson 48 from: Masters of Photography

Albert Watson

Studio session with a model. The geography of a face

Lesson 48 from: Masters of Photography

Albert Watson

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Lesson Info

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.


Class Trailer

Meet your Master


Learn from the journey


Using inspirations


Photography is stopping time


Albert's library of ideas


Tips on preparing for a portrait shoot


Setting up the studio


Understanding studio collaboration


The importance of casting and hair & make-up


Foreground studio set up


Studio session with a model - set up 1


Studio session with a model - set up 2


Studio session with a model - set up 3


Picking the best shot


Working with photoshop


Creating a portrait of Alfred Hitchcock


The gigantic question... Colour or black and white?


One day with Kate Moss


Learn to have your ideas ready


Using Polariods


Creating beautiful photographs of hands


Controlling natural light


Shooting a monkey with a gun


Choosing your format


Composition and lens


Shooting landscapes. The Isle of Skye


Planning and ideas for a landscape shoot


Creating still life images


Photographing the Lost Diary


Shooting album covers


The Strip Search Project


Shooting Las Vegas landscapes


Photographing Breaunna


Balancing daylight, God bless America


Creating the Maroc Project


Creating the Maroc shoot


Photographing sand dunes


Photographing Moroccan children


Advice on making portraits


How to be alert to finding photographs


Making a portrait of Mike Tyson


Creating intense colour in a photograph


Portraits of rap stars and a Golden Boy


Photographing Jack Nicholson


Creating a portrait of David Cronenberg


How to light only using two $10 bulbs


Studio fashion set up 4


Studio session with a model. The geography of a face


Look inside the picture


Creating memorability in an image


Combining nudes and landscapes


A perfect print


The business side of things


Conclusion and farewell


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)

Ratings and Reviews

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.

Student Work