Skip to main content

The importance of casting and hair & make-up

Lesson 9 from: Masters of Photography

Albert Watson

The importance of casting and hair & make-up

Lesson 9 from: Masters of Photography

Albert Watson

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

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.


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

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)

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