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Understanding Light: Natural Light Basics

with D'Ann Boal or Karlee Hooper


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Learn how to “find the light.”

This online course will help you learn how to “find the light” and take your natural light photography game to the next level! You’ll learn how to see and use light effectively, assess the quality of the light and manipulate it through a variety of techniques. We’ll cover how light contributes to the mood of an image and how you can use the direction of the light intentionally in your images. You’ll learn how to move beyond the golden hour and feel confident photographing subjects at any time of day while making the most of the light that is available. This is a Click Photo School textbook course, and you’ll see beautiful examples from a number of photographers to help you understand the concepts in new and exciting ways.


To get the most out of this workshop, students should have a solid understanding of the exposure triangle. We will also talk about reflecting light during the course and students are encouraged to practice with a natural reflector or a DIY reflector (more information will be provided during the course of the class) Some students may want to purchase a reflector ahead of the class beginning.

what you’ll get

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4 weekly lesson PDFs

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Videos that cover finding, using and manipulating natural light.


Full participation students engage in instructor-led discussion and Q&A for daily interaction and support. Study along students have full viewing access.


Creative videos from the instructors on how they use light in their own work.

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Full Participation students receive extensive personal video critiques of weekly assignment submissions.

Study Along Students have full viewing access.



Welcome & Preassignment

Lesson One


Find and Identify the Light

Quality, Direction

Color and Intensity

Reading the Light

Soft Light and Hard Light

Lesson Two


Additive and Subtractive Light and the Tools You Need



Reflecting and Diffusing; The Science of Light

Making Hard Light Soft

Making Soft Light Hard

Natural and Dedicated Reflectors


Lesson Three


Working In Different Light– Open Shade

Covered Shade

Window Light

Direct Light and Backlight

Filtering the Light

Changing the Look of the Light

Lesson Four


Choosing the RIGHT light for your image

Understanding and Exploring Light Direction

Mood and Intent and why they matter

Styles and Profiles

"I really loved this class. If you are looking for a class that will help you “see the light” both indoors and outside, this is definitely it."

read more reviews >
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about your instructors

D’Ann graduated with a master’s degree in education, but it wasn’t until her son was born and they moved to the Caribbean that she picked up a camera and never looked back. Photographing their quiet life by the sea inspired her photography journey. Today she runs a photography boutique specializing in newborn, child and family photography. Living on a farm in Colorado with her husband, son and daughter, she loves to capture the light and magic of her children’s lives. She treasures her daily cup of jasmine tea, hikes with family, and long swims in the sunshine.

Karlee Hooper is a Canadian expat who lives in Southern California with her Australian husband, labradoodle, and three daughters. Karlee loves creating art from everyday adventures and unexpected locations. She brings her camera everywhere so she never misses capturing the beauty that is right in front of her. Follow along with Karlee’s work here.

how it works


start learning

All class content is organized into simple steps as part of a clear, self-guided pathway inside your private online classroom. You'll check off each interactive step as you go, from completing readings and watching videos to student Q&A and assignment submissions.

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download weekly lessons

Each week, students receive a set of course materials, which generally include a PDF and instructional videos. All course materials are yours to download and keep.

Materials vary by program

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study & ask questions

Your registration includes access to a private online workshop for sharing and discussion. The workshop is open 24 hours a day so that you can learn and join discussions on your own schedule. The instructor is present in the workshop every day to answer questions and offer encouragement.

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complete weekly assignments

Students receive an assignment to complete each week that pertains to the topics covered in the course materials and builds upon class discussion throughout the week.


Full Participation students engage in an interactive online classroom experience that includes instructor-led group discussions and detailed, personalized guidance for the duration of the workshop. Full participation students post their assignments in the workshop and receive critique each week.


Study Along students have access to all materials and are able to view all content and conversation in the main workshop. Study along students will not be able to ask the instructor questions or request instructor feedback on their assignments, but they can follow along with instructor critiques of the Full Participation assignments.