Natural and Artificial Lighting: The Basics and Beyond

with Ian Spanier

February 17 and 24, 2024

Saturdays; 10:00 am – 1:00 pm (Mountain Time)
  • Tuition $495.00

Course Description

Join lighting master Ian Spanier for a new online educational experiences—a LIVE demonstration workshop spread over two Saturdays in February. Learn to unlock the power of using both natural and artificial light sources to elevate your images as well as building a new skill set. Designed for beginners and experienced photographers alike, this interactive photography lighting workshop dives deep into the art and science of understanding and manipulating light to capture stunning images that leave a lasting impression.

On the first Saturday, Ian focuses on building a solid foundation for understanding natural and artificial light to include:

  • Fundamentals of Light: Lay a foundation by exploring the basic principles of light, its properties, and its impact on photography. Gain insights into the true understanding of light, setting the stage for more advanced concepts.
  • Natural Light Techniques: Delve into recognizing and harnessing the beauty of natural light sources.
  • Artificial Light Sources: Navigate the world of artificial lighting, from continuous light sources to studio strobes. Understand the characteristics of different artificial light sources, their color temperatures, and how to modify and create a signature style to stand out from the crowd.
  • Lighting Equipment Essentials: Explore the wide array of lighting gear available to photographers. Discover how each tool contributes to crafting the perfect lighting setup. Using a light meter, and why it is the essential tool for all photographers.
  • Lighting Techniques and Setups: This demonstration gives you the tools to elevate your skills in more advanced lighting techniques. Dive into high-key and low-key lighting setups, three-point lighting, and Rembrandt lighting. Understand how to shape light to flatter subjects, highlight textures, and create captivating visual narratives.

On the second Saturday, Ian focuses on building a strong knowledge base for on-location studio lighting to include:

  • Introduction to an On-Location Studio: Understand the advantages as well as the challenges of on-location studio setups. Explore different types of on-location shoots and an essential equipment overview.
  • Location Scouting and Planning: Learn how to evaluate locations for different types of shoots. Develop a plan for the lighting conditions and the use of artificial lighting, if required. Ian’s tips and techniques when walking into any location and making the lighting work for you.
  • Lighting Techniques: First Ian reviews using the natural light on a location, then explore the benefits of using strobes and light modifiers. Ian examines portable lighting equipment and finishes with managing challenging lighting situations.
  • Essential Equipment and Setup: Selection and use of backdrops and how to make the best use of what the location offers. Lighting, tripods, stands, and grip equipment essentials. Setting up tethering and wireless communication.
  • Posing and Directing Subjects: Communicating with your subjects for natural poses. Tips for working with models, clients, and non-models.


Both Saturdays include live demonstrations of the topics listed above, delivered in Ian’s relaxed and easy to understand teaching style. As you listen and watch, you have the opportunity to ask questions of Ian.

Whether you are just getting started in photography and eager to grasp the basics of lighting or an experienced photographer looking to refine your lighting expertise, this workshop promises to illuminate your photographic journey like no other online class. By the end of these two Saturdays, you will have a solid foundation in all aspects of natural and artificial lighting and be able to start using these techniques at home with your own gear.

Additional Information

Advanced Amateurs, Professionals
What You Should Know:

No previous lighting experience is necessary.

Special Notes:

Class will meet 10:00 am – 1:00 pm (Mountain Time) on Saturday, February 17 and Saturday, February 24 (two online group sessions). Enrollment is limited to 18 participants.

Zoom Video Conferencing software (available for no charge from will be used to facilitate the class sessions. Further details will be emailed to registrants.

Santa Fe Workshops always aims to produce a high-quality experience for our online attendees. That said, variables including regional and local internet provider speeds, traffic on Zoom's servers, and your own computing hardware can contribute to a less than ideal streaming event. While we do our best to minimize the impact of these variables, they are outside the control of Santa Fe Workshops.


View Withdrawal and Transfer Policies for online programs.

For the convenience of participants, recordings of each class session are posted privately for one month after the end of each session. Santa Fe Workshops takes the recordings down after one month to protect the intellectual property of our instructors.

Lighting, Portraiture
Ian Spanier

Ian Spanier began taking photographs at six years old when his parents gave him his first point and shoot camera. After majoring in photography in college, Ian worked in publishing as an editor, but making pictures never left him. Having only known 35mm, he taught himself medium and large format as well as lighting.

Ian’s first full book of published work, Playboy: The Complete Guide to Cigars, is a collection of his photographs made in six countries spanning two and a half years. His second book project, Local Heroes: America’s Volunteer Fire Fighters, came out to critical acclaim in the Fall of 2012. His personal project, “Right Next Door,” has been featured on Huffington Post as well as The Daily Mail and his latest project, MoTo is now a multi-award winning series.

Ian is a Westcott Lighting “Top Pro,” as well as a Brand Ambassador for Spider Holster, CamRanger, ThinkTank, Hoodman USA, and True Classics. His added affiliations with V-Flat World and Sekonic bolster his reputation as an expert in his field. He lectures regularly for Canon, B&H Photo, and PPA.

Although he works anywhere and everywhere, Ian left NY for the sunny coast, and now lives in Los Angeles.

You May Also Like

The Art of iPhone Photography: From Capture to Edit

with Pei Ketron

March 19 and 21, 2024

the WORK of art

with Lori Vrba and Tobia Makover

March 23 and 24, 2024

Exploration of Personal Style

with Oghalé Alex

March 28 – 31, 2024

Photo Editing Essentials

with Andrea Wise

April 27 and 28, 2024

Serving as Witness to Your Life: A Photographic Practice

with Ibarionex Perello

February 6 – 27, 2024

iPhone in the Landscape

with Sue Bloom

April 8 – 18, 2024

The Creative Alchemy of Fine-Art Photography

with Thibault Roland

March 11 – 28, 2024

Craft and Vision in Still-Life Photography

with Tara Sellios

April 18 – 21, 2024

Botanicals and Plant-Based Printing Processes

with Anne Eder

March 20 – April 17, 2024

NOW WHAT: Strategies for Mid-Career Photographers

with Aline Smithson

February 20 and 22, 2024

Explore the Landscape Within: A Creative Writing Workshop for Photographers and Writers

with Elizabeth Jacobson

February 26 – March 14, 2024

The Artistry of Android ICM Image-Making

with Stephanie Johnson

March 19 – April 5, 2024