intro to natural light

with lisa harrison

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october 10, 2016
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november 7, 2016
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Full Participation sold out.
Study Along seats available!

This four week course will help photographers who are comfortable working with their cameras in manual mode learn how to see and understand natural light and then put it to use to create beautiful images with depth and dimension. We’ll study the characteristics of light, with extra emphasis on the color temperature of light and kelvin in camera in week one. Then we’ll study how the characteristics of light change with the time of day and weather, paying close attention to the effect they have on the subject. Next, we’ll move on to overcast skies, open shade, additive and subtractive lighting, and we’ll finish up with using backlight effectively and creating silhouettes. The summer run of INL will have a break week from 8/1-8/7.
“I truly feel like I have made leaps in understanding light and using it to my advantage to create beautiful images!”


4 weeks


daily shooting encouraged


4 hours of work per week


Students should have a solid understanding of the exposure triangle and working knowledge of shooting in manual mode. You will need a camera, and a fixed aperture lens. We spend a lot of time evaluating the color temperature of available light and setting in camera white balance. If your camera doesn’t have Kelvin capabilities, I suggest an Expo Disc, a Gray Card or equivalent. While you can take this course with or without human models, you’ll get the most out of this class if you have access to (a patient) one so that we can assess the quality of light and skin tones. Weeks 3 and 4 are spent outside so please take your location and the season into consideration. I do encourage daily shooting.



Lisa Harrison enjoys lifestyle photography with bright clean processing and natural skin tones but equally loves black and whites. Living in Vermont with her husband, two children, and black lab Lucy, Lisa loves skiing and boating. Family, friends, Starbucks, her camera and computer are among her list of must haves. Her portfolio is available here.

The following photographers also participate in discussions and provide assignment critiques as teaching assistants: Jodi Arego, Kristen Ryan and Heather Lazark

A number of course alumni are invited to engage in discussion, share insight with students, and provide feedback and encouragement throughout the course.



• 4 Weekly PDFs
• 2 short timelapse videos
• Instructor-Led Online Q&A for Each Lesson

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 receive instructor and TA critiques of the posted assignment each week and have lifetime access to a Workshop Alumni forum for continued peer discussion after the course concludes.

Study Along students will have access to all materials and will be able to view all content and conversation in the main workshop forum and receive access to their own private subforum for peer study groups and image shares. Study along students will not be able to ask the instructor questions or request instructor feedback on their assignments.

Welcome & Preassignment

Week One

Reading: Characteristics of Light, with extra emphasis on the color temperature of light and kelvin in camera
Assignment: Studying how the characteristics of light change with the time of day and weather and the effect they have on our subject

Week Two

Reading: Window Light, Lighting Styles & Modifiers
Assignment: Studying the effect that your subject’s position to the window has on your subject, working with a reflector

Week Three

Reading: Overcast skies, open shade, additive and subtractive lighting
Assignment: You have a choice of shooting with overcast skies or open shade and studying the effects that adding and subtracting light has on your subject

Week Four

Reading: Backlighting and silhouettes
Assignment: You have a choice of shooting with backlighting or creating silhouettes.

The CMU workshop is a 100% online classroom experience. Once you sign up, you have access to a course forum that is open 24 hours a day so that you can learn and join discussions on your own schedule.

Each week students receive a set of course materials– these materials generally include a PDF and/or videos. Throughout the week, instructors and TAs are present in the forum every day to answer questions and offer encouragement. Students receive an assignment each week that pertains to the topics covered in the course materials and 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 forum and receive instructor and TA critiques each week. They also have lifetime access to a Workshop Alumni forum for continued peer discussion after the course concludes.

Study Along students have access to all materials and are able to view all content and conversation in the main workshop forum. They also receive access to their own private Study Along subforum for peer study groups and image shares. 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.

Whether you are a Full Participation student or a Study Along student, the course materials are yours to keep.


  • Kaitlyn Heaton says:

    Intro to Natural Light is a foundational course that I would highly recommend to anyone on their photography journey! Lisa’s pdfs are so detailed and contain many, many images that illustrate the principles she is teaching us. Furthermore, her CC is so incredibly thorough, illuminating, and easy to understand. The TA’s feedback on my assignments and the Alumni Helpers’ feedback on my practice images were invaluable. I took this course with a Nikon D3100 (entry level DSLR) and I did not have any problems. I had ordered an expodisc (lost in transit); however, I was easily able to set a custom white balance with a grey card. I look forward to using Kelvin for WB when I am ready to upgrade my camera body in the future. I will have plenty of course material to help me with that transition! Each week, between the practice I was able to do and the assignment images I took, it was easy to see how important subject and camera positioning are to obtaining good light play across your subject’s face. I don’t have any kids, but many of my friends and family were willing to help me out with my assignments. I also used myself as a subject regularly too. The marked improvement of my photographs from before the course to now, shortly after it completed, is incredible! This class was so awesome! Thanks Lisa!

  • Deb Mehlhaff says:

    Yes Yes and Yes!! Lisa is an excellent instructor of natural light!!! She makes it easy to understand and goes above and beyond in answering questions and showing examples! Highly recommended class for someone is has completed MME and is looking for the next step!

  • Leah says:

    I just finished taking INL and I am already having withdrawls!!! I truly cannot say enough about this class and Lisa as an Instructor. This was my first full participation class and it was worth every penny! Lisa is very patient and kind as she teaches you to “see light” like you have never seen before!!! The material that Lisa gives you each week is awesome. It is very detailed and very easy to understand. The knowledge that you will come away with from this class is incredible!!! I would definitely recommend this class to anyone!!!

  • Stephanie Faucheur says:

    Thank you Lisa. Your PDF are so great, well explained, well illustrated. Your presence and answers on the forum were just perfect. I really like how you are able to make things clear.
    I have learned so much. I still have a lot of work to do to master the light but I feel I am on the good path. Thank you again!
    Your AH’s were also amazing!

  • Yasmeen Strang says:

    I just completed Intro to Natural Light with Lisa and I am so sad it is over! I learned so much in four weeks using her incredibly detailed notes and her thoughtful and clear critiques. I highly recommend this course!

  • Shannon says:

    Wow, wow, wow. This class was truly a gamer changer for me. I had light bulb moment after light bulb moment in this class. Lisa is a patient, kind and generous instructor. She was very quick to answer questions and would even post supplements to the lesson materials if you were having a hard time getting a concept. And when I did get a concept, I felt like my mind was blown. Lisa’s critiques were very thorough and very honest. Her TAs are top notch and very responsive with daily feedback. I know without a shadow of a doubt my photography grew by leaps and bounds after 4 short weeks with Lisa. This class truly makes a GIANT difference in how you see and think about light. Its like a new world opened up to me and I finally know the secret of all those gorgeous photos I see on CM ! Now I can make my photos gorgeous too !! Hooray !

  • Charlotte Mandrier says:

    The sooner you take this class, the sooner you will truly recognize what goes in to a quality image. I am truly amazed at how much more I notice about light, that I wasn’t able to ‘see’ just four weeks ago when I started the class! Lisa’s class materials take an intricate subject, and add clarity to the topic. On top of the great materials, Lisa’s in-depth, personalized feedback really helped me move forward with my photography skills. This is definitely a class to take Full Participation if you can. In addition to natural light, my exposure, color, and white balance also improved dramatically as a result of this class. I cannot recommend it enough!

  • There is no element of the art of photography more basic and more necessary than knowledge of how to find the best light and evaluate it’s color, direction, quality, and quantity. In this course you will learn all of that and the necessary techniques for creating beautifully lit images with natural light. Lisa is a talented and generous teacher and you will walk away from this class equipped with so many more tools in your belt than you had previously! I can not recommend it highly enough and the full-participation is worth every penny for encouraging and helpful critique.

  • Lystra says:

    I just finished the last run of Intro to Natural Light with Lisa Harrison. This course was thoroughly amazing and has really thought me how to use light to take my photos to another level and I am now admiring and studying light everywhere I see it. I consider this to be a fundamental foundation course for anyone who’s learning photography. Lisa’s materials are very detailed, well put together and explains everything very clearly. But, if her PDFs are detailed, they are nothing compared to the time and effort she puts into analyzing and critiquing each assignment. This was the most invaluable part of the course for me. Lisa is very knowledgeable on her topic and leaves you in amazement when she shows you your photograph through her eyes. It is a very technical course and most benefit will be had by making sure that you have time to dedicate to it and practice. For those of us with little helpers, while not essential, it would be great to line up some models who can take direction for a couple practice sessions. I’m still going through the materials and practicing because once you see the power of light to really transform a photograph, you just want to learn more and more on how to tap into that. Sign up now!

  • Susan says:

    I have just completed Intro to Natural Light which was my second CMU workshop. Lisa Harrison’s materials are going to be my guiding “light” in mastering natural light and will be referenced regularly. Lisa’s constructive criticism (CC) was thoughtful and thorough and she did a great job lifting my spirits when challenges were getting me down. I would recommend taking the full participation (FP) course as the instructor feedback is invaluable because the technical aspects of lighting can be tough to get at first. I would also encourage all participants, whether FP or study-along (SA), to be active in the forum, by posting your work for peer CC and to take the time to CC your classmates’ work. This is the key to your personal growth as a photographer. I was so fortunate to have an amazing group of women participate in my run of INL and in 4 weeks we grew as photographers and we came out as friends. So please get involved! This is so important for SA since you don’t have access to the instructors and TAs.

    Thanks, Lisa for a great month. I am seeing the light in a whole new way.

  • Kara Spillman says:

    Just prior to taking this course I had taken senior pictures of my cousin as well as maternity pictures of another cousin. Being a happy hobbyist I really wanted to just take these for practice and didn’t charge them of course. Oh, but the perfectionist in me so wishes that I would have taken Intro to Natural Light with Lisa Harrison before I took these! Having completed Mastering Manual Exposure a few months before my photos were looking better than they ever had before. They improved so much from the knowledge I gained from that course. When I signed up for INL I expected my photos to get better still, but I did not realize to what degree! I’m utterly amazed at how great my photos are turning out now that I know how to seek out good light and use it to my advantage! I also know what to do when I have not so good light and how I can modify it.

    I took this course as a study along because the full participation had sold out and I didn’t want to wait until the next run. Even though I wasn’t a full participation student, I did my utmost to study the material, read the full participation threads as well as participate in the study along threads – this was a lot of work, but I reaped the benefits! Lisa is so thorough at her critiques and is always available to answer any questions for the full participation students.

    Take this course and see the light!

  • Pernille Budolph-Larsen says:

    If you only plan on taking one CM workshop, this is the one to take. (Well, if you are not 100% sure, you have the basics down, you really ought to take Mastering Manual Exposure first).

    This class rocked my world. Really.
    It was one long realisation of “Oh.My.God. It works! It works!”-moments, and aha-moments and of course the “For god’s sake, kid, I’m taking your photo, not pulling your teeth out”-moments.

    You will receive loads of information, and the PDF’s are huge and take time to read, and even though you invest all the time you have, you will still wish you could have done more. And that it wouldn’t have to end after only 4 short, tiny, little weeks. And then you’ll want to do all over again.

    Lisa is amazing. The critique she gives is so extensive and detailed that it’s like a whole little workshop in itself. You’ll even know the answers to questions you have yet to ask, and Lisa has the answers to everything else too. She is precise, and to the point, and incredibly thorough, and just plain awesome. Oh, and she is sooo nice.

    A lot of my favourite images of my children ever are from this workshop.
    I l.o.v.e.d this workshop. I cannot recommend it enough. Take it and be a better person. Just kidding. Not really.

  • Amanda Mizell says:

    I did this course as a study along and really learned so much! I am so so glad that I took INL as I learned that I really did not know how to “see” light like I thought I did. But I do now and am excited to think about how much more I will learn once I am able to absorb all the wonderful info that Lisa gave us. This workshop is an absolute must for any photographer!!! Thank you, Lisa!

  • Shaena Brouwer says:

    I loved this class and the many different scenarios that you are given every week to teach you how to place your subjects. Lisa and the other ladies were amazing and spent time giving you valuable feedback on your assignments. It is a warm comfortable environment with your peers and facilitators. If you are pondering whether or not to devote the money and time, it is well worth it. You may look back at some of your images and wonder why you hadn’t just taken the course earlier!!! You will find yourself seeing the light as it changes colours throughout the day. Many thanks for this class, yet another full-filling investment.

  • schtanzerl says:

    I’m so happy to decide for this course and to really invest the money for a SA version. The material was eyeopening for me, especially concerning how to see the light. With the related practising I feel more confident in shooting now.
    This was my first CMU course ever and it seems the opportunity to exchange between SA members of that course in the forum was new. I really appreciated this. So much to learn, I’ll still need some more weeks to browse the material of course members to even learn a little more.
    Highly recommendable if you natural light is some kind new to you.

  • Mary Hatch says:

    I learned so much from this course. The material and assignments were all well planned and executed and Lisa as an instructor was amazing. Her feedback and critiques were extremely thoughtful and very helpful in teaching me new techniques to improve. Learning how to properly use natural light has completely changed my approach to photography. I now see light in a whole new way. I highly recommend this class.
    Thank you Lisa!

  • Stacey Beilman says:

    This was an amazing course. This was my first CMU course, which I did take full participation! A lot of time, research and effort went into just choosing this particular course based on limited time and limited funds. I literally sent back my 50mm 1.4 for this class! I picked this class knowing January was the only time this year I could (guilt-free) focus on a class for myself. I have been studying photography for over 3 years. Albeit, I am a slow learner and I work full-time too. But all the same, I was a little concerned that this course would not be as challenging as I wanted. I was looking to really learn light. To learn to see it AND to see the lack of it. I wanted to learn about the color of light. I had read numerous reviews about how this course was not a beginner level course at all. I would 100% agree.

    I felt this course was extremely rich in content. I learned so much about the color, quality and direction of light. The exercises really nailed down the pdf for each week, which I read several times. I took notes and had my pdf’s printed so that I could make notes directly on them. It was so helpful to practice for the assignments too, although this is not a daily shooting class. This is important to know because as a full-time working mom, I could not have shot daily. I see the sunrise on my drive to work and the sun is almost completely set, when I get home, in January. So for you working moms, I wanted to point that out. Since part of the assignments are outside, that is also something to consider. Personally, I have no regrets taking it in January.

    The instruction is really top-notch. Lisa and the TA’s were all very available and knowledgeable. Lisa answered questions quickly in a well-thought out manner. She was very thorough, often times coming in to explain things with new screenshots and photos. It is my opinion, this course will take you to a new level. Have fun!

  • Romy says:

    I took this course as SA and could not recommend it highly enough. There is a huge amount of information offered – so much so, I still have material to go through. Lisa is an INCREDIBLE instructor – everything already mentioned in these reviews is absolutely true!! She explains things so clearly, provides plenty of examples, and is truly dedicated to ensuring her students understand the concepts. Her extemely thorough critiques blew me away, and I learned as much from them as from the detailed PDFs. I’d done a lot of reading about light before taking this course, but it’s only now that I feel I truly understand it. I am taking so much away from this course, it’s almost hard to put into words. Thank you, Lisa, for such an amazing and satisfying learning experience!!!

  • Connie Gray says:

    I took INL with Lisa Harrison. I thought it was great! I had taken BDBCE and this was a great follow up . This helped me to go over some of the basics, start to explore, and better understand how important the right light is in a photo. It helped me understand indoor light and outdoor light better, along with silhouettes and haze. I was given more info on WB, which I had been having trouble with. It is still a problem for me, but at least now I have some info to absorb. Lisa was very good in giving feedback and also answering other questions that came up during the week. She was able to help me start shooting in RAW and inspired me to learn more about pp in the future! The people I took the class with were great. The more you question, comment and picture share the more you will get out of it. I recommend Lisa and the class!

  • jbrake says:

    This class does not get the press it deserves. It was amazing. Much of what I thought I knew about light was turned upside down, and I have now literally turned many of my subjects 180 degrees to better utilize the light surrounding them. Someone else in the class used the work “dense” to describe the PDF’s, and I would agree–in a good way. There is so much information in them, I found it impossible to read them just once or twice to understand the concepts. I referred back to them many times as I worked on the assignments and will continue to do so as I hopefully continue to grow. Though the golden hour is beautiful, I now feel so much more confident in shooting just about any time of day. It’s all a matter of finding the good light.
    If you can take this class FP, I would highly recommend it. Lisa’s critiques are thoughtful and detailed and full of examples to help you see what you can do differently and why it matters. She is a dedicated teacher and was quick to answer the many questions that were thrown her way. The TA’s were also just wonderful.
    In sum, I cannot say enough about this workshop. It went by way too quickly and I highly recommend it.

  • Melina says:

    This class was a true game changer for me! Lisa packs in so much information in her PDFs, yet manages to make it crystal clear! She and the TAs were incredibly helpful, thorough and specific in their feedback and suggestions! Definitely a class to take FP if you can!!! I truly feel like I have made leaps in understanding light and using it to my advantage to create beautiful images! A truly amazing class!!! <3 <3

  • Kellie B says:

    Seriously run, don’t walk, to sign up for this class. If you’re even slightly considering it, do it! This class is amazing and you will begin to see light in a whole new way. I highly recommend taking this as FP if you can, because Lisa is beyond amazing with her feedback. Her teaching style was fantastic and she always made sure we were grasping the concepts, even adding material to help us understand. I loved this class and my only complaint was that it was only 4 weeks!

    I can’t thank Lisa enough!

  • Mara Vaughan says:

    I’m a primarily self-taught photographer and I choose my CM workshops very carefully. I taught myself how to shoot in manual mode through trial and error and lots of reading here on CM, but I felt like there weren’t a lot of resources available to help me learn how to “see” and utilize natural light well. I finally decided to take Lisa’s class and I only wish I had done it sooner! I want to emphasize that this is a very technical class. I thought I knew how to choose the proper Kelvin settings for any situation and recognize color casts, but Lisa taught me to see the color of light in a whole new way! She also covers the nuances of shooting under several different lighting conditions – using window light, open shade on sunny and cloudy days, backlighting and even creating a silhouette. For me, the two most valuable things I took away from the class was learning how to find the best light in these situations and position my subject in it for the most beautiful results, along with being able to recognize the color of light and how that affects my image. I highly recommend this class; I was unsure if the material would be too basic for me, but it absolutely exceeded my expectations and has already helped me grow in ways that I didn’t think possible.

  • This class was amazing times a billion. I loved it so much and am very sad to see it ending. Natural light is all around us and there is no one better than Lisa Harrison to teach it. She is an amazing instructor – so thorough in her lessons and feedback – she even shot and added new materials to the lesson plans if we were struggling with a concept. To say that she goes above and beyond would be a huge understatement. She goes to infinity and back to help her students and she will forever have a warm place in my heart for it. This class will take you so deep in your understanding of natural light. It’s way more than just learning a concept or two – it’s taking those concepts and practicing them until they become second nature. It’s learning how to “see” the light and which types of shots will rock it. We say “rock what you got” a lot here on CM and Lisa’s class helps you do just that … rock the light you got. We learned best practices for overcast, sunny, window light, golden hour and so much more. I’ve been shooting in natural light for years and while some of the concepts were familiar, the approach and depth at which we studied them was invaluable. I consider this to be a MUST TAKE class for everyone. Most all of us will photograph in natural light at some point, probably daily for the majority. Having Lisa’s teachings in your back pocket will make those captures so much more fun, interesting, professional, dramatic and intentional. I heard so many CMers sing Lisa’s praises prior to class but to work with her is truly beyond any great expectation I already had. I will take anything she wants to teach me and that the budget allows :-)

  • Hanna R (nycmri) says:

    This class has been one of the BEST classes I have ever taken. Lisa is a truly gifted teacher and photographer who explains the qualities and best uses of light down to a science. I can’t believe these four weeks have come to an end and I wish I could have taken this class years ago; it would have saved me so much angst! I finally understand the color of light and the types of light to look for and so many concepts have finally clicked for me. I feel like I have finally ‘seen the light’ and will never look at it the same way. Lisa’s CC was in depth and taught me so much and I’m thrilled to have waited to take this class in FP. The TA’s were great as well and added to the course; thank you Jodi Arego, Alicia Gould and Sarah Phillips! This class was above and beyond any expectations I had and truly the greatest investment I have ever made. Thank you Lisa!

  • Beth Alon says:

    This workshop was worth every penny spent as a FP student! Lisa’s PDFs are such a great reference. She is really thorough with her information but makes things so easy to understand. What helped the most was reading through each of the CC for each participant. She was really detailed with each student and put in so much time with each submission. I really think if you are ready to take this class, the extra money spent as a full participant is well worth it. Lisa was also very involved in the “off topic” thread and always had some valuable insight into what we were discussing. I have already signed up for another workshop she is teaching and cannot wait. You can tell how she truly loves to teach and really wants the best for us. She is amazing!!
    Thank you for everything, Lisa, as well as the TAs for all of their input!

  • I am so happy I got at least a study along spot for this course! It was so worth it!!! I love it and I was amazed how good the PDF’s were written! Super easy to understand, organized, clear….. It was really a pity I couldn’t get a full participation spot! Hope next time I’ll be more lucky. Lisa is a great instructor and an excellent photographer and I am very thankful to her for sharing so fabulous material!

    Thank you Lisa and all my best!

  • This was my second workshop to take here at CM, but my first that really focused on shooting. In a nutshell, this class is money well spent. I had been wanting to take this class since I first joined CM, but missed out on the previous run because it fills up fast. I hesitated signing up for full participation because I thought it would be nice to stretch my money further and take more workshops. I am soooooo glad that I decided to do full participation! Yes, it’s an investment, but the feedback from Lisa and the TAs, as well as the ability to discuss assignments with your classmates is beyond worth the price. I thoroughly enjoyed every single week. I can see such a difference in my photographs since taking this class. I learned so many things and plan to go back over all the materials again and again until I master all of the techniques Lisa taught us. The camaraderie between the classmates also helped to make this course what it was. Everyone was so supportive and constructive in giving feedback. It’s a great way to get various points of view on your work, which I found motivated me even more to work hard on the assignments.

    Lisa was so generous with her time and it really made it seem like we were in an in-person class, as opposed to an online class. The PDFs were so well organized and all her examples perfectly illustrated the techniques so that we could really grasp the concepts. I have read extensively about natural light, but I’ve never come across a guide that explained everything as well as Lisa does in this course. Instead of feeling confused, I felt empowered to go out and challenge myself, to approach the available light with an intent in mind and to really see light I’m working with. Lisa, I cannot say this enough—THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!! :)

  • Laura Falcon says:

    This was my second class I have taken at CM…the first one I did FP so I thought I would do this one as SA. I wish I didn’t because Lisa is such an awesome instructor!!! She is always there to answer anything…I have learned so much just from her CC for the girls in FP. I would have loved to have her CC mine but we have been moving so I haven’t been able to practice much anyway. Her PDF’s are great. I will definitely take another class with Lisa. Thank you Lisa for making this such a great class!!

  • Becca Herman says:

    I’m sad the class is over.

    NL101 is the very first photography related class that I’ve taken here at CM or elsewhere. Before this I’ve been reading everything I can find and practicing whenever I can and I had a good grasp on focus and the exposure triangle. Despite that, nothing about my own images impressed me. I decided that was because I don’t know enough about lighting or composition and set out to learn.

    I took NL101 full participation and while I hated writing that check I can’t imagine doing it any other way. The materials were excellent and well written and I know that I will come back to them again and again, but the thing that absolutely made the course for me was the availability and knowledge of the instructor and her willingness to share that with the participants. Lisa answered every question I had — and I had A LOT of questions. She held my hand as I tried things that were new to me and took the time to draw diagrams on my photos of my house to show me where I should place my model. At times I felt like she was teaching just for me, but she did the same for any other student who had questions or needed extra guidance or clarification or simply did get something that had already been covered.

    Going into the course I felt stuck… like I had taken everything I knew and everything I had read as far as I could on my own. My images from the first week….? I shudder looking at them. The photos I took in the later weeks are some of my best work ever. If I could post before and after examples here it would probably sell the course!

    I’m not stuck anymore. I have light to work on now, and I know *how* to work on it. That, right there, was everything I hoped to get from NL101.

    Thank you Lisa.

  • Cathy F. says:

    What does it tell you that, at the conclusion of the class, nearly every single one of my classmates wrote that they were “so sad to see this class ending”? NL101 with Lisa is simply AWESOME. As other reviewers noted, it’s changed how I see light, and in four weeks, I have grown so much in the way I use light. Lisa’s materials and instruction are so clear and thorough, she responds to questions quickly, and her critiques and suggested edits were so helpful and encouraging. I would highly recommend doing this FP.

  • Becca Shapiro says:

    What a great course! When I signed up, I thought two things: Will a 101 level course be too basic? Will the instructors be available for questions, etc. I had no need to worry. I quickly realized that this course was actually quite challenging for me. Each week examines a particular concept in light (i.e. window lighting) and gives a few concepts to try

    And instructor availability was a big surprise too. I found Lisa responded to my questions really quickly (I never had to wait a full day). Her critiques were terrific. I walked away from each week knowing how my results measured up and how to apply the concept to other pictures. Or how to retake the pictures to make them better.

    I highly recommend this class.

  • Karen Morneau says:

    I absolutely loved this class! It is amazing how beautiful your pictures can be once you learn how to use the light. Lisa is an amazing instructor! She was so interactive and responsive. She always had great feedback which was so valuable in the learning process! Can’t wait to take NL 201!

  • Mari Huffman says:

    I just wanted to say…This was my very first course i took here at CM…and i was study along but i seriously LOVED every bit of it! The information Lisa gives is so to the point and understandable…She is very clear when she is instructing…I really wish i would have been able to do a full participation but of course it was sold out pretty quickly…If you are thinking of taking this class you should really consider it! I have been shooting professionally for almost 2 years and shooting in manual for 3 years…But i got to a place with my images where i felt i really needed to use light more effectively…When you start in photography there is sooo much information that you need to learn and absorb besides just learning how to use your camera…So much information that honestly i think you really never stop learning nomatter how advanced you are in your photography skills…So i was a little hesitant to take this class because i felt like i was way past beginner stages in my photography….But i decided to do it and i am so glad i did…Lisa covers so many topics and her PDF’s were so easy to follow along with and her critique is very honest and to the point and very professional…There were things that i already knew but there was alot of things i didnt know and it really helped give me that push i needed…i started to actually *see* the light and know the differences….She goes over a little bit of other extra information also that goes along with using light and shooting different lighting situations….She goes over showing you how to use different equipment when shooting in natural light….shows you the differences with metering…She is just a very awesome instructor and i would honestly LOVE to take another class by her….and i probably most likely will :)

    So nomatter where you are in your photography…if you are thinking about this class that means you must need some sort of refresh in your natural lighting skills…and you should def register for this class you will come out with so much solid information that is not confusing and wont make your head spin around like “what?”….You will feel knowledgable and ready to start shooting in natural light and my images have been so much more smooth and clear since paying more attention to my light….I give this class 5 stars :)

    Thank you so much Lisa!!


  • Kim Peterson says:

    I just finished this course as a Study Along, and while I wish I could have taken it full participation (signed up too late), it was exactly what I needed to progress in my journey of learning photography. As a study along, you can learn right along with the full participants if you do the homework and absorb the materials diligently. Lisa’s CC is superb (honestly, the best I’ve seen so far), and by reading all of her CC along with her answers to questions, you will learn right along with everyone else. I have seen a lot of questions in the CM forum about open shade and backlighting. Well this is the course that answers those questions in depth with course content and especially, with the exercises she directs you to execute in order to discover how to find and use your available light. You will look at light much more strategically after taking this class. Something I have done now is to go back through all of my own personal images that I have taken in the past 9 months and examine them in light of (pun intended) the content of this course to “see” what I was missing when I pressed the shutter release, and the good news is that now I know what I should have done. I am excited to be much more strategic from now on before actually pressing that shutter release.

  • Christine says:

    Highly, highly recommend this workshop!! Finding any light other than flat light never made sense to me until Lisa’s course. The course materials just explained it so clearly through examples and diagrams and Lisa was always available on the board for the many, many questions that the participants had. Her feedback and that of the TAs was so helpful and supportive. I really felt this course took me a huge step forward in my photography for I am looking at light in such a different way now! So glad I took this course, now I am looking for more natural light workshops to push me further. Thanks to Lisa and CM!!

  • Kristy Dooley says:

    Everything about this workshop is amazing…the material, the organization, the assignments, LISA!, and her incredibly thorough CC. So glad i decided to take this class- I know I’ll use what she taught me for a very long time. :)

  • Lorie Hall says:

    First of all, let me say that all of the CMs workshops that I have taken have been the best educational tools I could have ever asked for. Every one has been worth every penny I’ve invested in it and more. Each one has provided me more information and knowledge than I was hoping for when I signed up for them, and this workshop was no exception. I saw this workshop advertised in the CMs Post that came to my e-mail. I thought, maybe this will be the workshop that will finally make color and light make sense to me. When it began, I became discouraged and thought I just don’t get it, this is not what I wanted. Was I ever wrong. I decided to struggle through it and to get what I could out of it. WOW, by the end of the workshop, I could not believe how it all came around and made sense. Some how Lisa and the other mentors worked miracles in my life. They were so patient with me and even allowed me to re-do an assignment because life got in the way for me during one of the weeks. I FOUND my style and love by the end of the workshop. I really didn’t realize it until I had a couple of weddings to shoot after the workshop. Once my photos were downloaded and I saw my work, I asked myself, who took these photos and how did they do it? It was me! I am not doing it perfectly, but I am doing it so much better than I have ever done it before. I have had more comments, loves and likes on Facebook and in person than I ever have on any photo shoot before. I have even received many WOWs! My very heart and soul rejoices as CMs workshops, and this amazing workshop, have helped to make my dreams come true and I am now able to express ME in my photos. I highly recommend this workshop to you! Please contact me personally if you need any more convincing that this is the workshop for you! Lisa and mentors…thank you from the bottom of my heart!

    • Alicia says:

      Do you reccomend this class after I finish the shooting 101–Best darn dslr with Lynn? I am trying to figure out what workshop to do next, there are so many :)

  • Dana says:

    This class was an eye-opener for me. I am now seeing the light in a way that I never did before. Lisa’s lessons are well written, and easy to read and understand… I didn’t have any trouble grasping what she had written. Her CC was helpful and encouraging. Also, Leah, Sara and Monica were very helpful with their CC as well. This course definitely had an all star cast of instructors. I can already see the difference in my photography…. pre- NL101 and post- NL101.

    I would recommend this class to anyone looking to learn how to utilize natural light! Thank you to Lisa for an amazing class!!!

  • Erin says:

    This class was a phenomenal experience and I loved every minute of it. Lisa is a patient, wonderful instructor and her thoughtful and thorough feedback was priceless. The lessons were well laid out and easy to digest and Lisa never hesitated to post further explanation if it was needed.
    It has completely changed the way I see light, from the color of it to the way it falls on my subject, and my shooting has improved greatly because as a result. I would definitely consider this class a “must have” for any aspiring photographer. You won’t regret it!

  • Katrina says:

    Intro to Natural Light is an incredible workshop! Lisa is a fantastic instructor and the materials she provided gave me an in-depth understanding of light and how to use it to create stronger images. Before this workshop, I had never been able to “see” light or its effects very well, but as I worked through the four weeks of materials, critiques, q&a’s, and other feedback, I found myself able to recognize various types of light, to better see the color and quality of the light around me, and to evaluate how lighting in various situations would impact my photography.

    It’s hard to say enough about how thorough and helpful the lessons were, but even more than that, I have to emphasize that Lisa is a very gifted teacher. She went above and beyond every week — answering questions (quickly!), offering highly detailed feedback, and providing a variety of resources to help participants truly understand the material.

    If you’re on the fence about taking this workshop, hop off that fence right now and sign up! It’s definitely worth it!

  • Lisa says:

    This is an awesome class and opened my eyes to actually “seeing” the light. The materials were great, the instructor and assistant instructors were awesome. They really cared about making sure you understand the material and concepts.

  • Kristen says:

    This class completely changed the way I see light, both in general and the way it falls on my subject. And my use of light is now so much more intentional in every shot I take. The material in this class is fabulous in helping one to understand natural light both inside and out and how to manipulate it to get a more interesting image. My photography has definitely changed for the better after taking this class and I have come out of it with some of my favorite all time images, some of which are already on my walls!

    If for no other reason, take this class because Lisa is a phenomenal instructor and goes above and beyond with her thorough critique and detailed feedback. She has a unique way of making each person feel special in their own way and celebrates each person’s successes while at the same time giving instructive and motivating feedback on how to improve. She helps you to develop a critical eye that goes beyond just the aspect of light.

    Thank you Lisa, and to the TAs, Monica, Leah, and Sara, for an amazing workshop. I am so thankful to have taken this class and to finally feel like I ‘see’ the light!

  • Kami says:

    Everyone who develops an interest in photography has read or heard that they need to learn about light, but that admonition is so vague and it’s difficult to know what that means. Natural Light 101 helped to make that idea concrete. Lisa is simply an amazing instructor. She explains concepts so clearly and succinctly, and is constantly seeking ways to make the material as accessible as possible. She opened my eyes and I think that she changed the way that every class member sees light. Moreover, the effort that she puts into teaching is impressive. Her feedback on each and every assignment was incredibly thorough and helpful. I would encourage anyone and everyone to take advantage of her instruction and sign up.

  • Stacey V says:

    This was my first workshop with Lisa and I was absolutely floored by how responsive she was throughout the entire class. Her thoughtful, detailed feedback is so far above and beyond, I’m not even sure how to characterize it. This is the first workshop where I have felt like I needed to download EVERYONE’S threads because she sprinkles diagrams and how-to videos throughout her critiques in order to help her students improve. The course content is practical, highly technical and, at least in my opinion, essential to seeing light in a way that I hope I can translate into my photography in order to take my work to the next level. I have been putting off learning photoshop and might just have to give it a shot, if only to have another class with Lisa. If you want to guarantee yourself money well spent, take this class!

  • Amanda Cross says:

    I truly feel this workshop has given me the tools to go out and take pictures that will have that special something that makes them stand out from regular snapshots. I now look at things so differently and I love it:)! I was totally blown away by the cc’s that were given and how I not only learned from my own assignments, but everyone of my classmates as well. Lisa was able to explain “seeing the light” in a way I could understand and if I didn’t she would keep trying with videos and pictures till I did! I also appreciated getting extra feed back form the TA’s on things I wasn’t even seeing that will allow me to get even better. I am leaving this class(wishing it wasn’t over already) ready to go out and practice the things I have learned and will never forget the concepts that I learned this month! Thank you Lisa, Sara, Leah, and Monica for giving of your time and knowledge to help us on our photography journey. Oh yea, be prepared to want to go straight into another workshop as soon as this one is over because you want to keep building on what you have learned. I am headed to PS 101 in June to have Lisa turn me into a PS goddess:)!!

  • Erin Fields says:

    I am having a hard time putting in to words how much I loved this workshop, and I’m sad to see it end! There are just so many concepts I learned about light and how it affects an image that never even dawned on me before, yet make such a HUGE difference. I firmly believe that this class has changed how I “see the light.” Lisa is a phenomenal instructor. CC was always prompt and incredibly helpful. If she found people were struggling with a particular concept half way through the week she would take the time to go out and take additional pull back shots to illustrate the point. Often times it was these extra tutorials that provided the light bulb moment for me, so thank you SO much Lisa!

  • Kara says:

    This workshop exceeded my expectations, and they were high after taking other workshops from Lisa. She is an amazing instructor and cheerleader. She provides so much information in this class in an organized and easy to understand fashion. I know that I will refer to the lessons from this class frequently. Lisa, Leah, Sara, and Monica provide extensive, thoughtful, and valuable feedback that only adds to the value of the workshop. I am so much more comfortable shooting in different lighting situations and my photography has grown after just 4 weeks. Some of the assignment photos for this workshop are now some of my favorite images. NL101 was one of the best investments I’ve made in my photography journey and I enjoyed every moment of it. You will not be disappointed.

  • Julie Kiernan says:

    Wow what a great class with one of of my favorite instructors. Lisa’s PDFs are so thorough and while filled with information, they are still very easy to understand. Her diagrams and tables are especially helpful and I will refer to them after the class often. Her CC is so detailed, thoughtful and helpful. I learned something in every class members lesson submission just by reading all of Lisa’s CC.

    If you want to really learn to “see the light”, how to position your subjects for the light and to use Kelvin to improve your WB, this is the class for you. The golden hour, haze and silhouettes in the last week was just the frosting on the cake.

    I loved this class. Thank you Lisa, Leah and Sara.

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