Shaping The Light with Karl Bratby

Posted on July 30, 2014

On Saturday 26th July 2014 I travelled to Nottingham to attend a workshop run by local photographer Karl Bratby. The workshop was to be called “Shaping The Light” and be in his studio and based around learning to use natural and studio flash to get the most of of your images.  A lot of the top professional photographers use only one light to create their images and when done correctly can produced stunning results and this is what Karl was going to be teaching us.

Karl’s studio was absolutely amazing, based on the top floor of an old converted victorian factory it was surrounded by huge glass windows with oozes of light flooding in. If Carlsberg did studios then this is what they’d come up with. Along with myself there were 5 other photographers taking part in the day and after everyone had arrived and we had all made our introductions Karl put us to work. This wasn’t going to be one of those workshops were everything is set up for you and the model put in place and you just push the shutter, oh no right from the word go Karl asked us where we thought in the studio had the best natural light coming through and told us to grab some props and compose a scene.

This now would be a good opportunity to introduce you to our model for the day, Stephanie Robson. A quick hi from everyone to Stephanie and Karl put us back to work and told us to direct Stephanie to get ourselves used to communicating and building up a rapport to put yourself and the model at ease to get the best from your images. We all took turns to direct and shoot Stephanie before moving to another part of the studio to compose another natural light composition and again start gaining a better understanding of what we were doing. I must say throughout this Karl was giving great advice when needed and answering questions that came up as we progressed.

Once completed we stopped for a quick drink and biscuit break as it was extremely hot in the studio and we wanted to make sure Stephanie and ourselves were properly hydrated.

In the afternoon we then moved onto learning how to set up a one light portrait. Karl explained about the positioning of the light to the model and how using various soft boxes/beauty dishes and reflectors can dramatically change the outcome. We learnt about how to use a light meter correctly to gauge the drop off of light at certain distances and how to know exactly where the hot spot was to place your subject. As the afternoon went on we learnt more one light set ups and then progressed on to two light set ups.

I have to say a massive thank you to the rest of the participants who made it such a great day to be involved in and to Karl for being such an excellent teacher and a great all round guy. Also the day would not of been complete without the truly beautiful Stephanie and the wizard with the make up brush, Charlotte.

Instructor – Karl Bratby – KarlBratbyphotographer

Model – Stephanie Robson – Facebook – Twitter

Make up Artist – Charlotte Akosua Ayoola – Facebook – Linkedin

All shot using the Fuji X-T1 camera and the 56mm f1.2 & 35mm F1.4 lenses.






4 Responses to Shaping The Light with Karl Bratby


July 30, 2014 at 10:43 pm

Hi Richard
what a great write up on the course with Karl and crew, just to let you know i enjoyed it very much
too -:) .
your site is also amazing,!! i hope you learned from Karl as much as i did it was great to meet you, and the others
anyway have you had any contact from anyone else on the course yet?
hope you got back ok and your family meet went ok
cheers for now



July 31, 2014 at 7:43 am

Thanks Rusty. And lets keep in touch and plan that morning out doing some landscape stuff together.


Karl Bratby

July 31, 2014 at 5:40 am

Thanks for the kind words Richard, was a pleasure to teach you some new skills on a great day with a nice bunch of amazing photographers..



July 31, 2014 at 7:44 am

Thanks Karl. Was a great day and I look forward to meeting you and Stephanie again soon.


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