Understanding Light: Natural Light Basics

with Elizabeth Blank & Danielle Awwad


$300 Full Participation | $150 Study Along

Learn how to “find the light.”

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


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

what you’ll get

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4 weekly lesson PDFs

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Videos that cover finding, using and manipulating natural light.


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


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

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

Study Along Students have full viewing access.



Welcome & Preassignment

Lesson One


Find and Identify the Light

Quality, Direction

Color and Intensity

Reading the Light

Soft Light and Hard Light

Lesson Two


Additive and Subtractive Light and the Tools You Need



Reflecting and Diffusing; The Science of Light

Making Hard Light Soft

Making Soft Light Hard

Natural and Dedicated Reflectors


Lesson Three


Working In Different Light– Open Shade

Covered Shade

Window Light

Direct Light and Backlight

Filtering the Light

Changing the Look of the Light

Lesson Four


Choosing the RIGHT light for your image

Understanding and Exploring Light Direction

Mood and Intent and why they matter

Styles and Profiles

as seen on instagram


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

read more reviews >

about your instructors

This textbook-model course offers students a dynamic learning environment due to the collaborative nature of the materials. Each run will consist of one instructor (Elizabeth Blank or Danielle Awwad) although the course PDF and videos will draw upon examples from both (as well as several other instructors) to illustrate specific points.

Elizabeth Blank is a newborn, child and family photographer just outside of Atlanta, Georgia where she lives with her husband and their three young children. Her work has earned international awards and has been published in both local and national publications. When she isn’t photographing children and families on dry land, she can more often than not be found in a body of water where she ecstatically documents the beauty of her subjects underwater. She holds a Masters degree in Education and truly enjoys being able to combine her background in education with her love of photography when the opportunity presents itself!

Danielle is a natural light photographer who focuses in the areas of fine art, lifestyle and environmental portraiture. She lives on a large hay farm in Michigan with her husband, three small children and many animals. Danielle is drawn to all types of natural light. She is excited to be teaching the course Understanding Light: Natural Light Basics for Click Photo School.

how it works


download weekly lessons

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

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chat online

Your workshop registration includes access to a private online forum for sharing and discussion. The classroom forum is open 24 hours a day so that you can learn and join discussions on your own schedule.

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study & ask questions

Study on your own time, and check in on the classroom forum for interactive learning. The instructor is present in the forum every day to answer questions and offer encouragement.

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complete weekly assignments

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


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


Study Along students have access to all materials and are able to view all content and conversation in the main workshop 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.



  1. Megan Dzwonkowski November 24, 2018 at 5:34 pm - Reply

    This class was a game changer for me – at the most basic level I now look for light and see the differences in light. I cannot say enough about Danielle who went above and beyond to answer questions, and explain nuances in detail This class provides so much information about using light to your advantage. I feel like I have a whole new arsenal of tools to make the best with the light that I have. And I now understand why I was having issues in some scenarios. I have taken two other CM classes as a SA. This was my first FP. Not sure I can ever do SA again. The feedback is invaluable. I am sad it is over especially because I had so many overcast days – I want to take this class in every season just for the awesome feedback!

  2. Amy Kattula July 31, 2018 at 11:44 am - Reply

    This class opened my eyes to the light around me. It helped me improve my use of light in photography and my appreciation of the beauty of light in my everyday life. Danielle Awwad takes the time to create extra videos to help elucidate difficult concepts. She ensure the course material is personalized to the level of each student. Well worth the investment.

  3. Lisa Dunham April 30, 2018 at 3:56 pm - Reply

    I LOVED this class! There is so much information and it has already made such a difference in my images. The information is well presented and thorough. Elizabeth is so thorough and thoughtful in her evaluations of your work. She has an amazing eye. If you are debating between study along vs full participant I highly recommend full participation to get the feedback. She answers every question with thought, examples, links, she really cares that you understand it. This was my second Clickin Mom’s course, my first was MME and this was a great second class to take.

  4. Kelli April 29, 2018 at 11:56 am - Reply

    If you are thinking of taking this class, stop thinking and start taking! This class was the most informative and photography-changing class I’ve had. I learned so much about finding and using light and I feel like my photos are finally starting to match my intention. Elizabeth was a supportive and involved instructor, who answered every question we posed as quickly and thoroughly as she could. Her feedback was invaluable! I can’t recommend this class enough!

  5. Merrilee November 5, 2017 at 12:44 am - Reply

    This was my first class on light and I learned so much more about it than I expected. Every week was packed with information and Elizabeth guided us through each concept, answering all our questions with thorough explanations, personal examples, and video. She was seemingly always available and eagerly offered plenty of helpful, friendly encouragement. It’s a foundational class that’s changed the way I see light forever and how I use my camera every day since. I’ve read tons on this subject, but nothing substitutes the feedback and interaction of a workshop, especially when you’re able to take it FP and pour yourself into it each week. I seriously learn more in a 4 week workshop than I do in a year on my own.

  6. Umbreen September 3, 2017 at 10:51 am - Reply

    I really loved this class. If you are looking for a class that will help you “see the light” both indoors and outside, this is definitely it. Elizabeth is a very supportive instructor, and she was also willing to dive into directions not in the syllabus based on questions asked by students. It is the first class I have taken, so I don’t have anything to compare it to, but I would definitely recommend it as a full participation course. My only regret is that it was just 4 weeks. I want more!

  7. Gina July 25, 2017 at 4:58 pm - Reply

    Understanding Light is a fantastic introduction to all things light! The materials (pdf’s and videos) were very thorough and really help to build a solid foundation for seeing and understanding how to use light. Elizabeth is exceptionally sweet and encouraging. I really felt like she cared about each one of us in the class, and that is a great feeling! She is more than willing to answer all questions and help you in any way that she can. She provides detailed video feedback on the weekly assignments that is very helpful. This is the class to take if you want to start building your knowledge of light, both indoors and out!

  8. Faigy July 25, 2017 at 10:58 am - Reply

    This class was by far the most eye opening class I have taken. My only regret is that it didn’t last longer. Elizabeth constantly encouraged us to ask questions, no question was too small and she answered in such detail. I have learned to see light in a whole new way and it has changed my photography. I highly encourage full participation in this class, the constant feedback is invaluable.

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