Studio Light Made Simple

with nicole everson

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December 15, 2016
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January 9, 2017
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Full Participation sold out.
Study Along seats available!

Learn how to use studio lighting to create beautiful natural-looking light in any studio setting. We will start with the basics, breaking everything down so anyone can understand even the most technical side of studio lighting. We will cover equipment, lighting ratios, perfect exposure, creating a mood, shaping with light, and so much more. We will experiment with several lighting patterns and learn how to achieve your vision with your studio lights. We will cover the subtle differences in lighting for several ages, including maternity, newborn, baby, and child.


4 weeks


daily shooting encouraged


4 hours of work per week


this course has prerequisites


​Studio lighting has lots of different equipment, and depending on your style of photography and how much you want to invest there is a wide range of possibilities. The minimum you will need for this class is a lower wattage studio strobe with stand, and a large diffuser, but of course the more you have the more you have to play with. Nicole is happy to give you specific suggestions.



Nicole Everson is living her dream in Florida with her husband and three little girls. She runs a successful full time studio photographing what inspires her. Nicole has developed her style, blending both classic and documentary images to capture real moments and genuine emotion in her subjects. Naked baby butts, out of control tickle fights, or the romance and chemistry a bride and groom share; these are the things that inspire Nicole. She is driven to capture her clients in a way that preserves what is special to them for generations to come. Nicole is a self-proclaimed dork, and loves to have fun whether she is out shooting, teaching a workshop or hanging out with her family you can bet Nicole will be laughing. Nicole has struggled with several learning disabilities since she was a child and because of this she has a unique way of breaking everything down in such a way that everyone can understand. Her portfolio is available here.

The following photographers also participate in discussions and provide assignment critiques as teaching assistants:

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



• 5 PDFs with 118 pages total
• 704 minutes of video that includes behind the seems of Nicole working, screen captures, and Nicole walking through studio lighting step by step

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


Learning the formal lighting techniques and how they can be modified to fit your style. Compare different light modifiers to achieve your desired effect. Digging into how light travels. Learning how your camera settings affect your image. Understanding how to get perfect exposure. Focusing on how to photograph maternity (any adult). Hair light.
Assignment: Experiment using highlights and shadows to highlight the focus of the image while hiding your subjects trouble areas. Creating movement and depth. Understanding the histogram.

Week Two

Reading: How to achieve soft light. Different angles of light. DOF. Single light setup. How to properly light newborns.

Assignment: Soft light / Harsh light. Focusing on how to photograph newborn.

Week Three

Reading: Creating mood with lighting. Picking the best lens. When to use a reflector. One light and a reflector setup. Focusing on how to photograph babies.

Assignment: Create different moods in your image with lighting and set choices.

Week Four

Reading: Finding your style. Editing studio photography. Learn how to discover new lighting. Using multi light setups.

Assignment: Experimenting to find your style. Focus will be photographing adults or children.

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, the instructors is 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 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.


  • Nina M says:

    I took Nicole’s class during its first run almost a year ago. The materials were immensely helpful to get me to start shooting in a studio light set up. Nicole’s videos are very detailed, and feedback is excellent! We had wonderful TAs as well who contributed tremendously to the class. I love portrait photography, and not feeling limited by presence of the natural light is so incredible. Nicole teaches to create lighting on your subject that looks natural. Big thanks, Nicole!

  • Kristin Ryan says:

    I just can’t say enough about Nicole or this class. If you need to learn studio lighting, this is the perfect course ! Nicole teaches in a way that makes it feel less technical (and, therefore, less stressful !). It is a great fundamental course. It truly exceeded all my expectations. Nicole gives you her full attention and really pours her heart ands soul in helping you reach that next level. My business has grown IMMENSELY since taking this course. Register today, you won’t regret it !

  • Nicole L says:

    This was my first “official” photography class. I was anxious initially, hoping that I would be able to bring at least one thing out of this course and into my studio. Well, I did just that and then some! I honestly can not get over the difference between my images before the class and after the class. I had no idea how harsh my lighting was until I took this course. I still refer to the study materials 3 plus months after the course. It is worth every penny. I would take this class again in a heartbeat!

  • Rachel Healey says:

    This class was amazing!!! And one of my favorites…if you have ever wanted to learn Studio Lighting….take this class!!!! Nicole make’s it so easy to learn everything- you do need to be afraid of studio lights anymore:) Not only was the material detailed and well thought out- Nicole’s insight and expalnation of everything was amazing!!! She is so helpful and patient with every student….loved this class and fell in love with studio lighting!!!

  • Dawn McCormick says:

    You won’t be afraid of your studio lights after Nicole’s class! Just like shooting in manual may have seemed difficult at first after Nicole’s class you will see that using studio lights is possible for all of us. I had had my lights for a few months and was trying to learn it on my own when I saw the course registration for the first run of this class. I immediately signed up. Having Nicole’s pdf’s videos and feedback took me to the next step in my use of studio lighting. I love the consistency and patterns of light you get with the strobes- you will too once you feel comfortable with them- which you will after taking this class! While Nicole is primarily a newborn/maternity/toddler shooter the class is for anyone- I don’t shoot any of those things but everything we did can be applied to any subject. Highly recommend.

  • Melissa Hubiak says:

    This class was awesome! I debated taking it because it didm’t seem as “exciting” as some of the other shooting classes. But I am SO glad I took it! First off, it wasn’t boring at all. There is not that much technical information covered. Just some of the basics. It is mostly about controlling your light, making flattering light, using different modifiers, getting white balance and exposure right. She focuses a lot on newborn, maternity and boudoir and I learned a lot about those genres, more than just the studio lighting aspect. I haven’t had a lot of time to practice since the class but I feel confident that I can shoot someone in the studio now! In fact, the other day I needed an updated headshot so I set up my lights and got one I liked, amazing! You really will not regret taking this class and the equipment you need is pretty minimal. If you are on the fence, do it! And if you have studio lights but don’t totally know how to use them, do it! You will be so glad you did.

  • Franca says:

    This course is a great way to get started with studio lighting. I knew absolutely nothing about it before I started and now I am comfortable with a one light set up and I am so proud of the portraits I have been able to achieve. I took the SA course which was great,but for those that have a lot of questions FP might be for you. Nicole and the assistants were great at answering questions. I would poke around the FP forums and find all the answers to my question there. Highly recommend this course!

  • Wow!… is all I can say about this class! Nicole makes everything so simple to understand and she has such detailed videos. I have been doing studio sessions for a while, but my lighting was not consistent and I really didn’t understand why. Now that I have it right in camera, I don’t have to spend near as much time editing. I would highly recommend this class to anyone who wants to do studio sessions or has any struggles at all.

  • Kellie Llewellyn says:

    I took Studio Light Made Simple during the January/February run and LOVED it. The information in the PDFs and videos if very informative and Nicole’s feedback is awesome and insightful. I had bought a Profoto B2 light and had never used it because I wasn’t comfortable enough to try it by the end of class it started to feel second nature. The pictures of my kids that I took using studio light are some of my favorite now. Once you learn how to direct the light the results are amazing and living were the weather is mostly cold and dark half the year this makes photography a lot easier for me. If your wondering if you should take this class…DO IT! You will not regret it.

  • Kristin Ryan says:

    This class was an absolute “game changer” for me ! Living in an area where I can only shoot outside for about six months of the year, I wanted to learn studio lighting skills to stay busy during the winter months. Taking this class far exceeded my expectations !! With Nicole’s thorough material, patience and extreme dedication to each student – I now feel very confident before each studio session. Nicole has a gift for teaching which is obvious in how she explains things. I now understand the importance of color balance, lens choice and exposure settings being right before each session, but also feel confident when needing to adjust during a session. Since taking this class, I am now booking more studio sessions than outside !

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