The Illuminated View: Manipulating and Exploring Light

with tarah sweeney

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february 6, 2017
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march 20, 2017
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Full Participation sold out.
Study Along seats available!

This course will help you begin to use natural light in new ways. We’ll cover direct light, backlight, dappled light, reflected light and learn how to control them by carefully choosing a shooting angle. You’ll also learn to find beautiful pockets of light, both inside and out. You will learn to use light creatively as we explore what makes light enhance an image and what makes light detract from an image. We will also discuss and practice nailing beautiful skin in backlight, dealing with highlights and blown backgrounds, as well as editing images in all kind of light – both in “good” light and “bad” light situations. No natural light situation is off limits in this workshop!

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Commitment
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4 weeks

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daily shooting encouraged

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4 hours of work per week

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this course has prerequisites

Prerequisites

To get the most out of this workshop, you should be shooting in manual mode and have an understanding of the exposure triangle as well as a good understanding of simple editing in photoshop, lightroom or elements.

Instructor

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Tarah Sweeney is a self-taught professional and successful portrait and wedding photographer in San Diego, CA. She is first and foremost a wife and mother to three little ones and she spends her days photographing their daily adventures.
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.

Categories

Shooting
Intermediate

• 4 Weekly PDFs (outlined in syllabus)
• Bonus PDF on shooting at the beach
• Behind the scenes video
• Through My Eyes video
• Multiple Editing Videos
• Instructor-Led Online Q&A for Each Lesson
• Personal Critiques of Weekly Assignments by Instructor

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: intro to light, background & separation, blown backgrounds, highlights on subjects, time of day to shoot, backlight – using light as a “prop”
 
Assignment: working with backlight

Week Two

Reading: direct light – full on/pocket light, rim light, reflected light, bounced light, controlling the power, using angle/composition to change and control light

Assignment: controlling light

Week Three

Reading: open shade, mid day, using shade and shadows, dappled light

Assignment: shade and shadows

Week Four

Reading: working in your favorite type of light, tips and tricks/troubleshooting, editing for your light

Assignment: perfecting your work

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.



24 Comments

  • April White says:

    The Illuminated view was very helpful and incredibly wonderful! I would definitely do the full participation because it pushes you to get out there and practice what she is teaching and her feedback is so great. I would highly recommend this to anyone struggling with light. You definitely won’t regret it. I enjoyed reading her critiques on everyone’s work because it allows me to see what I could personally improve on. Loved the class!

  • Emily Dowell says:

    This course is a game changer ladies. I feel like Ive grown so much in just a month. Yet Tarah provides so much material and new concepts that I will be referring to the course work for awhile to master what she has taught. Mastering light is a must if you want to become a professional photographer. Taking Tarah’s class is a must if you want to master light.

  • bobbie says:

    Excellent class with lots and lots of material. This class really showed me the ways to look for light and how to look at the light when composing a photo. I learned so much about a variety of light. I knew light was the essence of a good photo but didnt understand how to see it and what to do with it before I took the class. There is a lot to learn but this class got me started. I will keep on reviewing the pdfs and the great videos to continue on my journey using all kinds of light

  • monica holmes says:

    This was by the far the best photography class I’ve ever taken!!! I look at photography completely different now!! And now I’m so intrigued by light and how it manipulates an image!! I think everyone should take this class!!! It will give you a whole new passion for photography!!!!

  • Heather Mohr says:

    This class was amazing and definitely worth taking! It pushed me to take my knowledge of working with light to the next level and be more creative and intentional with how I use it. A favorite for me was learning that it is ok and possible to shoot anytime! I’m no longer confined to the golden hour! As Tarah taught us, most of life happens outside of the golden hour! I mean, that’s such a short time of our day – why miss moments? Tarah was also a very available instructor. I am so happy I took the class!

  • Elizabeth Hargrave says:

    Wow! What an amazing course!! I learned how to handle all kinds of light! Tarah was so engaged on the forum everyday. I was challenged, encouraged and inspired every single day! This course ignited my passion for photography!! If you are thinking about this taking this course, do it. It is not just a photography game changer but a life game changer.

  • Brittany Gunter says:

    This workshop blew my mind! I learned so much about light and manipulating it to get the images that I love! Everything from the videos to the tips and the PDFs were so very helpful and I can honestly say that I learned more in these 4 weeks than I have in the last year about photography!! My favorite workshop by far! I can’t wait to continue to practice and take the tools given in the workshop and make some beautiful images!

  • Pam says:

    What a great way to stretch your skills with light. Tarah was very encouraging, available, honest and wanted you to be you! Week 1 was getting a base to build on each week, after that was getting creative, learning your light, knowing light, what you should do in this light, picking a better location. Just so much information in this 4 week class, it passed by so quickly. If you are in a rut and shooting the same thing over and over, try this class to motivate and inspire you!

  • Jenny Rosenbring says:

    This class was such a gamechanger for me, I had no idea different kinds of light could be so interesting! I have learned so much!! I loved the materials and Tarah was so accessible, always answering questions and helping out. Her advice was really good, she really knows light inside and out. She also molded the class after what we wanted, and made extra pdf’s and videos, talk about going the extra mile!! I feel that this is a must-take class, you will not regret signing up.

  • Angie Kuna says:

    I just love Tarah Sweeney’s work, and I was so excited when I saw that CM was offering this brand new class! I wrote to Tarah ahead of time, telling her that my main concern is that I don’t have many of those gorgeous fields around me. She reassured me that I could find great light anywhere, and she was SO enthusiastic about her upcoming class, so I decided to take the plunge! And I’m sooo happy that I did! There were so many new things she taught me (like dappled light and pocket light and how to retain details in the sky!!), and got me out of my comfort zone big time! Her PDFs were full of such great inspiration and knowledge. She was so open and available throughout the entire course, answering any and every question that we had for her, really nothing was off limits. She would even create videos to help better answer some of our questions! Really, she’s just an amazing person and teacher, and you will love her too!

    I’m a hobbiest, so I shoot a lot of lifestyle/unposed shots of my girls, and Tarah was great with sharing a lot of her own lifestyle work with her kids, so we could see how she uses light when there isn’t a field or beach with posed clients. This was a huge plus for me!

    If you are at all interested in improving your use of light in photography, do not hesitate to take this course!

  • Hannah says:

    It’s freeing to realize that you can shoot any time of day, in any light, and still produce beautiful images. Tarah demonstrates that, encourages that and gives you honest feedback to help get your images where you want them to be. I loved this class!!

  • In four weeks you will be taught about all kinds of light (backlight, dappled light, open shade, rim light, harsh daylight, overcast light, etc) and how to embrace these different kinds of light situations to enhance your photography.

    There were so many eye openers in this course, it really pushed me to go out of my comfort zone and try new techniques (both in photography and in editing). Each week we were provided with a PDF filled with practical information. Next to that each week she included some video tutorials about light, how to edit different kinds of light, or behind the scenes during a shoot. Especially the videos are super helpful as it’s easier seeing how things are done than only reading about them.

    Tarah is an amazing teacher, who is very open and generous with her knowledge. She was super active in the forum and really took the time to answer all questions asked. She went above and beyond to make bonus videos to clarify subjects or answer questions that came up during the course (She made 11 bonus videos and various additional pdf’s during the course!). And then I haven’t even mentioned all the sneak peeks and behind the scenes on Snapchat. Her critiques and motivation were very honest, motivating and helpful.

    This class was wonderful in so many ways! I highly recommend it to everyone who wants to learn about different kinds of light and how to use them to improve your photography. Thank you Tarah for 4 amazing weeks! Look forward seeing everyone in the FB alumni group.

  • This class was excellent. I am such an admirer of Tarah’s work, but this wasn’t a workshop about replicating her photos, it was about using light as tool to make our own creative vision a reality. Her down-to-earth style and in-depth knowledge was the perfect combination to equip and encourage. The reading materials were full of information that you can grab onto and implement right away. And on top of that, she threw tons of videos at us reiterating every point made in the PDFs and more than answering questions that came up daily in the Q&A forums. She didn’t hold anything back and her constant presence in the forums was superwoman-ish. Thank you Tarah for filling me with knowledge and inspiration, your enthusiasm is contagious :)

  • Olga Levien says:

    Seen the light is one of the most important skill for every photographer. Thats why this class is so important in your photography journey! :) I highly recommend this workshop to everyone who want to discover the light, se it everywhere and capture beautiful moments with full control of the light. Tarah is amazing teacher and give everything what she know, what she love, what she passioned about. She 100 % inside the workshop – comments, answers for questions, support, huge amount of bonus materials, editing videos, everything what you can ask for! Thank you so much for this time together and unforgettable experience! It was only first run of this workshop, but its already was great and special! Now practice, practice and practice and capture the light, details and moments!

  • Terri says:

    I took this workshop as a SA and I’m kicking myself for doing so. Having an active 4 year old doesn’t leave much time for full participation, but I really wish I’d just sacrificed for the 4 weeks and took it. Tarah is simply amazing. The amount of detail she puts into her PDF’s is beyond exceptional. In addition she put together numerous videos for further explanation, and several bonus videos throughout for additional examples. Her portfolio speaks for itself, it’s colorful, creative, beautiful, and filled with real life-connections and joy. You will walk away with an amazing knowledge of light and how it works. I’m already seeing significant improvement in my photos and am aiming to achieve some beautiful art pieces based on all the wonderful information Tarah shared with this group. I followed all the full participation students throughout and Tarah never missed a question-she answered everyone! Her critiques were honest and offered solid advice. You will not be disappointed in this class.

  • Kate says:

    I just finished The Illuminated View (SA)!

    This was my first workshop but I think it was a really active one! There were a lot of posts–and Tarah logged in the most. No question went unanswered, no practice picture went without a comment. Even if the question wasn’t about light–Tarah answered them all! I can’t imagine a more present instructor. She put her heart and soul into this workshop–all of it. She was quick to upload additional bonus videos to illustrate whatever was needed or wanted or what was being discussed. Of course, you will get out of it what you put in to it, but Tarah leads you there and turns you around until you see where she’s pointing. The class materials start at the beginning and add on so that you not only know how to shoot in different types of light, but so you can see what different light looks like before you shoot. I learned so much about light–I know I will reference this information many many times!!

  • Joyce says:

    This class was the BEST! I wish I could take it again and again and again. Tarah is an amazing photographer. But she’s an even better teacher. Her PDFs are chock full of information. Her videos are comprehensive. And she’s extremely engaged in the class. She doesn’t hold any information back; nothing was off limits. It was great. Take the class! You won’t regret it.

  • Kerry Lee says:

    I just wrapped up full-participation in the very first run of The Illuminated View and it was an awesomely fun experience. Tarah was beyond generous with her time and the course materials she provided everyone. She was incredibly present in the forum and was alway available to answer questions or provide some needed feedback. She created loads of additional materials and videos for students when we needed a little more assistance on a topic. The materials were beautiful and inspiring to look through. If you are looking to expand your knowledge about using light and lots of different types of light, I would definitely recommend this workshop. I finished the course feeling inspired, pushed out of my comfort zone (yeah…that’s how we grow!!), and with a new confidence ready to tackle types of light I previously would have avoided at ALL costs! I would recommend this workshop whole-heartedly!

  • Lisa says:

    Hands down one of the best workshops offered. Tarah is an awesome, giving instructor and an inspiration. This class is an absolute “must take”.

  • Jen Paskey says:

    Take this class! I would snatch it up as full participation. I took it as a SA and it was great but I do wish I had done FP because it was just one of those classes that I wanted to get the most from and, as with all SA, you’re limited. I learned a ton about light and how to embrace it and a lot about myself as a photographer. Take it! You won’t regret it!!

  • Laura Boggs says:

    I signed up for this workshop on the last day because I kept going back and forth about whether I should because of finances. Light is something I’ve been struggling with, so I, obviously, decided to go for it and I can’t tell you how glad I am that I did. This workshop went way beyond just a step-by-step “how to use light” guide. There was so much emotional depth; Tarah poured her heart into this and it shows. Tarah talks a lot about light and photography and moments that reach into her soul and that’s absolutely what this workshop did for me – cheesy as it may sound, I felt her words and her passion about light and photography in my soul and it was like a breath of fresh air in my stale photography journey! People talk about game-changers all the time on this forum and this hands-down was a game-changer for me. I see a definite shift in my work from the time I started the workshop to now. I also feel a definite shift in my whole frame of mind towards photography.

    The PDFs were so beautifully done and were full of so much information and amazing examples illustrating the concepts, both SOOCs and final edits. Tarah showed us not only what to do, but what NOT to do, which was really helpful for troubleshooting purposes. All of the videos (shooting videos, editing videos, so many awesome videos) provided were SO helpful and so well done. Tarah was SO open with all her knowledge and went out of her way to quickly create additional videos and PDFs illustrating concepts when students needed them. She is a fantastic, encouraging teacher and she really, truly cared about seeing everyone succeed. I only wish I had been able to take the workshop FP so I could have gotten personal feedback, but I still learned SO MUCH as a SA!

    I very highly recommend this workshop! Seriously, don’t hesitate to take it. I got sooooo much out of it and it reignited a flame for me and I’m really sad it’s over! I still have a really long way to go in my journey, but feel like this class has given me the confidence and knowledge to move forward in my search for good light!

  • Molly says:

    I cannot say enough good things about this workshop. I have been missing something in my photos for a really long time. I was so discouraged. When I really thought about what was missing it was my use of light. I was stuck in a rut of boring, safe, not very magical, flat light. Full midday sun was something that terrified me and I avoided it. When I used backlighting in the past I would use it in all of the wrong ways. I completely let it take over my image. Dappled light was a lighting situation I never even looked into because it seemed so complex.

    Tarah made everything make sense! Her feedback was quick and extremely informative. She remained so active in the daily share threads from week one through week four. She was so generous with the amount of information, bonus videos, critiques, bonus pdfs… it was so obvious she poured her heart into this workshop. This by far was one of the most helpful workshops I have taken since I learned how to shoot manual. I have made so much progress over the last four weeks and I know that by continuing to re-read the PDFs and re-watch the videos I will continue to grow long after the course has ended. I definitely recommend this course!

  • This course helped me more than any single course I’ve ever taken. It was incredible!!!! I love Tarah’s style and the way she conveys information in her videos and materials.

  • The Illuminated View was my first full participation class. I was hesitant to spend the money because who wants to get into their lens fund?? ;) However, totally worth it and I highly recommend. Tarah Sweeney does not hold back at all. Her PDFs are simple to read, packed with information, and with amazing picture examples. The videos give you greats insight into how to shoot into the light that she is shooting, as well as how to edit for that light. I was also extremely impressed with how present Tarah was on the forums. She was so timely, generous with bonus infos, professional, and yet so down to earth! If you’re on the fence, I promise you won’t be disappointed – the class covers so many different types of light that even if you feel you’ve mastered a few, there’s so much more to learn. I feel confident now that I don’t have to wait to shoot for the “perfect light,” but that any light can be perfect, you just have to know how to use it. Tarah will give you those tools!!

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