The Language of Light: Understanding The Zone System for Digital Photography

with Kris + Lauren Penland


all materials are downloadable & yours to keep

Learn the secret of perfect exposure!

Did you know that light has a language? It’s called The Zone System, and it’s not just for film! The Zone System is a perfect tool for any photographer (in any genre) who wants to grasp the advanced concepts of exposure. Learn the basics of The Zone System and how to use your camera’s meter to correctly expose in ANY lighting scenario including difficult light such as harsh light, back light, and low light. Then dive into creative exposures and how to expose based on your vision for a scene. You’ll see how Kris + Lauren control their exposures in difficult lighting scenarios, see the important role that mood plays in image-making and learn what to consider when making effective and intentional artistic decisions. Finally, you’ll see Kris + Lauren’s process for editing images and how The Zone System relates to the decisions they make in post-processing.

what you’ll get

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An eBook covering The Zone System, light, and how to put everything together to start executing your vision

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Outdoor Shooting Video

Outdoor shooting video covering harsh light, back light, and flat light

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Indoor shooting video covering direct light, back light, low light, directional side light, fall off light, and creative ways to use these different types of light


Editing videos showing how Kris + Lauren apply their knowledge of The Zone System during post-processing Hand edits of color and black and white images as well as direct light, back light, flat light, fall off light, directional side light, silhouette, landscape

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Exercises to get you thinking deeper about your own work and to put The Zone System into practice in your own work right away​

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Submit questions to the Presenter anytime during the program's duration, and receive a copy of the recorded Q&A video at the end of the breakout's run.

what you’ll learn


The basics of The Zone System + your camera’s meter, how to put The Zone System into practice and expose properly


Learn all about dynamic range and how (and why!) to think about it when making decisions


How important it is + how to start visualizing scenes


Understand how versatile and diverse light is, Learn how to use The Zone System to manipulate light and when to manipulate light


​Learn how to expose in difficult lighting both indoors + out


Learn how important establishing a mood is and how you can use The Zone System to manipulate mood


Learn how The Zone System plays a role in Kris + Lauren’s editing process

about your presenter

Kris + Lauren Penland of Sea + Rhythm Photography are family + newborn storytellers, photography educators, new podcasters, and Offset artists living and adventuring in Alaska with their 3 daughters. They have a passion for documenting their family and inspiring others to do the same. You can view more of their work and learn more at



  1. Bethel Richardson January 28, 2018 at 5:36 pm - Reply

    This breakout has been completely awesome. I really was both entertained and informed by reading the PDF and watching the videos. I think this breakout is nice for both beginners and advanced photographers. This is my first breakout and I can definitely sense why so many people buy these..I am definitely a fanatic now too.

  2. Umbreen January 28, 2018 at 3:57 pm - Reply

    Wonderful breakout. The shooting and editing videos are such a bonus. I picked up a few Lightroom tricks that are going to change my editing a lot.

  3. Kristina G January 27, 2018 at 8:10 pm - Reply

    This is the first online class I’ve ever taken, and I have to say I lucked out! The amount of information and personal help and questions answered has been unbelievable. So glad I found this, I’ve been looking for ways to improve my photography and this is definitely going to do that!

  4. Susan Deshpande January 27, 2018 at 6:51 pm - Reply

    The Language of Light is a super great breakout not just for beginners and intermediates. Sea and Rhythm Photography has always touched me with their work so I was really anticipating this breakout. The PDF was so stunning!! Thanks so much, Lauren and Kris, for sharing the awe-inspiring language of light!

  5. Amanda January 26, 2018 at 1:52 pm - Reply

    I’ve been very impressed by this breakout and the amount of information for only $25! Sometimes breakouts are only filled with pretty pictures and but doesn’t have the information you were hoping to find. I must say that this does not disappoint. 12 videos filled with information about editing whys and hows along with 4 shooting videos. If you want to see how to enhance your photos, this is the breakout for you!

  6. Tina Fisher January 26, 2018 at 10:52 am - Reply

    I’ve come across The Zone System before but it never really stuck or made sense to me until now. Kris & Lauren have done an amazing job at breaking The Zone System down! I feel the system here eliminates the need for “chimping”, it’s the concreteness I’ve been looking for! Thank you for this simple and easy explanation! Wonderful breakout!!!

  7. Missy Knight January 24, 2018 at 3:56 pm - Reply

    Light is so fascinating to me! I feel like no matter how much you know, there is always something else to learn from others about how they look at and work with light. This breakout is no exception. Lauren and Kris have filled this breakout with tips and tricks for shooting in different types of light. It was refreshing to read, watch, and listen to their take on how they handle different tricky lighting situations.

  8. Jane S January 24, 2018 at 1:48 pm - Reply

    The Language of Light Breakout has simplified the zone system extremely well so that you can go out and shoot straight away with new tools to help nail your exposure. Lauren and Kris have been amazing! Thank you!

  9. Melissa M. January 23, 2018 at 6:26 pm - Reply

    I am so excited about The Language of Light! I have been shooting manual for a few nows and just couldn’t seem to find my style. I know what images I have been drawn to and as well as ideas of how I want images to look like but could never achieve them. After reading through this breakout and viewing the material provided. I am excited to so say achieving what I want images to look like just got a lot easier! Kris and Lauren’s have made the zone system easy to understand and apply. This breakout has been by far the best I have purchased! I highly recommend it!

  10. Svetlana Dimitrova January 23, 2018 at 1:34 pm - Reply

    Very well put BO that clarified some aspects of exposure and metering in an easy to understand way.

  11. Annmarie Kopey January 23, 2018 at 1:13 pm - Reply

    The Language of Light is the perfect definition of the zone system and this break out makes it so easy to grasp. Highly recommend.

  12. Ashley Vanerio January 23, 2018 at 5:27 am - Reply

    This breakout is exactly what I’ve been looking for – not only is the topic so relevant to all photographers (new and experienced) looking to take their lighting to the next level, but the price makes it a no-brainer. You get amazing material to walk through the concepts and reference (even after the course ends), as well as two awesome instructors who take the time to review and comment on students questions. I highly recommend this course!

  13. Nivea January 23, 2018 at 5:16 am - Reply

    Kris and Lauren have made learning an intimidating subject so much more easy to understand. If you want to learn helpful metering tips and tricks to speed up your workflow and lessen your setting “fiddling” then get this breakout!!

  14. Nathan Johnson January 22, 2018 at 9:42 pm - Reply

    I can’t say enough good things about this. Kris and Lauren have worked hard on creating a process that is educational and easy to apply to your work. They create stunning photographs and truly inspire me to improve my work. Anybody looking to take their photography to the next level should check this out! They have step-by-step from before to the *click* to post-process that takes all the guesswork out of how good photographers function!

  15. Lucia Vaquero January 22, 2018 at 6:03 pm - Reply

    Lauren and Kris have pushed me to expose in camera differently from what I have been doing until now, at the same time they guide you along the zone system and embracing the different lightning situations. All this, without stopping the creative juices from flowing!
    It’s really worth it! Still live until Friday, so join us in!

  16. Candace Kieluk January 21, 2018 at 7:20 pm - Reply

    I have been shooting in manual mode and practicing the zone system faithfully for about one year now, however, I was still questioning “correct” exposure in difficult lighting situations, therefore always shooting in flat light. Thank you to Kris & Lauren’s breakout, I am ready to step out of my comfort zone and break the rules to get the images I so desire –I find myself now anxious to try difficult lighting situations that I have always tried to avoid. So many ah-ha moments in this breakout, I’m not sure where to begin, but what really resognated with me was how Kris & Lauren get you to ask yourself specific questions and what to look for before taking the shot to help you achieve your vision in camera AND specific tips where you should spot meter in diffucult lighting situations. I find so many photographers/instructors share their settings and histograms but fail to share “how” they got those settings and why. This breakout is completely the opposite, no stone is left unturned, you will learn the how and the why in great detail throughout the pdf and the numerous videos provided. Thank you Kris & Lauren for sharing your knowledge with us all, I hope you offer more classes in the future as your teaching and instruction are second to none! Thanks again!:)

  17. Wendy January 21, 2018 at 12:19 pm - Reply

    Enrolled on a course re: the Zone System online a few years ago, but gave up half way through because it went over the top of my head and was so dull and boring! So when I started reading the pdf accompanying this breakout by Kris and Lauren, I couldn’t believe how simple it actually is when explained properly. If you have ever struggled with proper exposure and want to cut down on editing to correct such in LR and PS, this has got to be the Breakout for you.

  18. Lindsey W January 20, 2018 at 10:22 am - Reply

    I can’t believe how much was packed into this course. I have always wanted to learn more about lighting but had never eve heard of the Zone System. I did a lot of research before purchasing a course and this one seemed to fit what I was looking for. I learned SO much from this course. Some things were re-freshers for me, but seem to be sticking more now than before but most of it was 100% all new to me. I’m so excited to take what I have learned and put it into motion and create some beautiful, meaningful photos. Lauren was quick to respond to questions and give feedback. It was so encouraging to have the feedback (even if it was corrections) She did it in a manner to encourage you to try again, rather than “you were wrong” I will definitely be watching for more breakouts by them! This was a 5 star breakout for me!!! Thanks so much!

  19. Meagan Gumpert January 19, 2018 at 10:13 pm - Reply

    I have had so many ah-ha moments with this course already! The Zone System is finally clear to me and I am looking forward to putting this into practice!! Thank you, Lauren and Kris!

  20. Amanda Rigelman January 19, 2018 at 6:54 pm - Reply

    I literally just downloaded this amazing compilation of teachings. I love how thorough and well put the information is laid out. I have learned so much within the first how of this class and I am so eager and ready to learn more. I would highly recommend this class and can say without a doubt, that these authors and contributors know what they are talking about. Very very great!

  21. Ashley January 19, 2018 at 2:04 am - Reply

    I am in awe that this is a breakout and not a workshop or something. There is so much information packed into this breakout. It’s almost too much! I am a breakout junkie and feel that this is the best one I have participated in yet. Totally worth $25.00.

  22. Melanie Crawford January 19, 2018 at 12:06 am - Reply

    I could not be more thrilled with this inspiring and informative breakout! I was introduced to the concept of spot metering and the zone system in a prior workshop, and the breakout materials have helped to really expand my knowledge of the system, giving tons of gorgeous examples and tips on how to approach metering for different lighting scenarios. I am still working my way though the many included videos, and those I have watched so far have been incredibly helpful. This is my second time purchasing a live breakout, and the active forum is such a valuable bonus! It provides great motivation to complete the exercises described in the pdf (and to see other participants’ work on the exercises), and it’s so helpful to then be able to discuss them with the instructors and other forum members. I highly recommend this breakout, it’s the best $25 I’ve spent in a long time!

  23. Shannon Gray January 18, 2018 at 3:24 pm - Reply

    This will be my first class with clinkinmoms. So far I’m only on my first day of this class but loving all the information so far. Seems like a lot of material for $25. Easily understandable and beautiful examples of topics they are discussing. Can’t wait to dive in more!

  24. Marybeth January 18, 2018 at 1:57 pm - Reply

    I definitely recommend this for someone looking for a better way to nail exposure!

    The zone system was introduced to me about four years ago, when I first started shooting manual. At the time, it seemed too overwhelming to learn (on top of everything else) so I just skipped over that information. I didn’t realize how valuable this information was. I actually have wasted a lot of time trying to find the right exposure, missing out on key moments. In the past year, I resorted to using my LCD preview as a way to get proper exposure. Ugh. Through all my reading and studying, I just never found anything that made it *click*. Struggling with exposure became a norm for me. Everyone takes like 8 test shots to find good exposure, right?
    Then I heard about the language of light. I saw it as an opportunity to learn something different that would change how I approached exposure. I feel like walked away with more knowledge than I expected. This breakout not only breaks down the zone system and teaches it in an easy way (I was totally like, “Duh! Why didn’t it make sense before?!”) but is chock full of information on how to look at light a little differently, and use it to your advantage. I also loved watching the editing videos and realizing how much easier my workflow could be once I started nailing things.

  25. Paola January 17, 2018 at 4:54 pm - Reply

    It was só great to be able to learn about the Zine System. I love this Breakout!

  26. Sarah Joos January 17, 2018 at 3:00 am - Reply

    In the past I have been taking a lot of photography classes. At first more technical classes later the ones that give you a creative push. So just going of the description of this breakout I might not have bought it. I love Kris and Lauren’s style. So I was curious how something so technical could help them with their emotion driven work. I was not disappointed. I knew how to use the zone system but it never really clicked. I had all the technical knowledge to get a perfect exposure but I almost never used it. Most of the time I just love to trial and error until I get the wanted creative result. Sometimes it drove me crazy, because I had so much work editing. Especially if my favorite exposure wasn’t the one that was emotionally best… I’m working on my 3th 365 project so I could use all the help there is to keep my editing to a minimum. This breakout has really helped me do just that. I know where I’m going emotionally, creatively and now I know how to get the right exposure for that really fast. So even if you feel like you have all the knowledge, Kris and Lauren will help you make the connection between knowledge and your artistic side.

  27. Katie D January 16, 2018 at 11:15 pm - Reply

    I’ve been shooting in manual for several years and have taken *many* photography classes, yet had never explored the Zone System… I’ve been missing out! This breakout made it easy to understand and thoroughly explained the concepts with such beautiful imagery. And with a PDF over 90 pages, many awesome videos, and creative exercises… it seemed more like a study-along workshop! I’m amazed that this breakout is only $25; it’s a tremendous value and I highly recommend it!

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