The Art of Finding Light: Photography for the artist in you
4.4 (647 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
4,210 students enrolled

The Art of Finding Light: Photography for the artist in you

Spotting great lighting is not a gift, it is Skill. Become a photographer who knows how to find great light.
4.4 (647 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
4,210 students enrolled
Created by Adam Marelli
Last updated 10/2014
English [Auto]
Current price: $13.99 Original price: $19.99 Discount: 30% off
5 hours left at this price!
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This course includes
  • 1.5 hours on-demand video
  • 63 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • Learn 3 powerful lighting schemes used by artist and photographers that do not require any fancy equipment.
  • Learn how to light a picture like Vermeer and why his Girl with a pearl earring has captivated audiences with its simple, natural light.
  • A step by step guide to three lighting schemes that you can practice in your own backyard and how Claude Monet used to take the same approach.
  • Examine how french portrait painter Jean August Dominique Ingres used one lighting scheme in his paintings to become one of the most sought after artists of his time.
  • We will compare lighting used for models to the lighting for street photography, as I take you through my projects and shoots from around the globe.
  • Learn how to use architecture to find light in any city in the world.
  • The artists covered in this episode are Michelangelo, Claude Monet (Impressionism), George Seurat (Post-Impressionism), Jean August Dominique Ingres (Neo-Classicism), Honore Daumier (19th Century French), Rogier van der Weyden (Early Dutch), Johannes Vermeer (17th Century Dutch.)
  • It is recommended that photographers watch A Room for Improvement episodes No 001 "The Art of Seeing" and No 002 "The Art of Figure to Ground."

Have you ever heard a photographer say, “Oh the light there is perfect,” and not understood what they meant? Do you feel like you have trouble finding good lighting while you are out with a camera?

Spotting great lighting is not a gift, it is Skill. It is a learned art, one that artists like Caravaggio used to become one of the greatest artists of the Baroque era. From generation to generation every famous photographer of the 20th century used these techniques, which can be found on the covers of Vogue to National Geographic. Claude Monet and Michelangelo did not “hope” for good lighting, they knew exactly where to find and now, you will know where to look too!

This course looks at finding light, anytime, anywhere in the world. Whether you are on the streets in Berlin or inside of your friend’s home...creating pictures that glow is something that you can practice and master be knowing where to look. This is a comprehensive solution to lighting that does not rely on “post production” or “expensive equipment” to make great photographs.

A Room for Improvement is the first photography program that starts training your most important tool, Your Eyes. While most of the photography world is obsessed with gear and post production, the real secret to taking amazing images is learning how to see like an artist. Join artist & photographer Adam Marelli as he shares the tools, lessons, and training that classical artist use to bring images to life. As a trained photographer, painter, and sculptor Marelli combines twenty years of art eduction into simple to follow lessons that you can do in your own backyard.


  • This course is divided into 8 lectures that are a Master Class in Finding Light.
  • Lecture 1: What did we learn from The Art of Figure to Ground.
  • Lecture 2: Studying teeth will not reveal the mystery of a smile.
  • Lecture 3: Three types of artistic light.
  • Lecture 4: How Caravaggio used the streets of Rome to light his paintings.
  • Lecture 5: How to practice on your own.
  • Lecture 6: How Claude Monet used a church to find the best light.
  • Lecture 7: Why Vermeer always had perfect light.
  • Lecture 8: The Assignment.
  • The lectures are designed to be watched in order, but you are free to skip around if you like.
  • Each course is approximately 45 minutes, with downloadable images from the lecture, and an assignment designed to highlight the tools from each lecture.

Marelli uses his own work and the famous artists who influenced his work to reveal "how artists work" and "how they learned to see in a completely unique way." For centuries these concepts were reserved for artist guilds and apprenticeships, but for the first time they are being put in a language available to photographers.


By the end of this program, you will understand why photographers always say that "the equipment doesn't matter." Learning to see like an artist is one of the single most fulfilling steps on the way to becoming a better photographer. In addition to improving your own work, you will be able to walk into any gallery or museum in the world and know, with full certainty, whether you are looking at a great piece of art or not.

Who this course is for:
  • We will focus on Natural Lighting, without any flashes, strobes, or reflectors.
  • An interest in understanding how artists and photographers find light.
  • What it means to have "good lighting" and what to look for and what to avoid so your pictures are not blown out and over exposed.
Course content
Expand 8 lectures 01:24:30
+ The Art of Finding Light
8 lectures 01:24:30

In part 1, we will review the lessons learned from your assignment from episode No 002, and see why "Finding Light" is the next logical step.

Preview 03:45

In part 2, we will look at the magical qualities of light that can be hard to put into words, so lets look at some of the artwork that has inspired me over the years.

Preview 13:45

In part 3, we explore three types of light that artists have used over the centuries. They come in the form of Relief, work that glows from the inside, and light that falls on the subject. Once you understand the type of light you are using, it becomes easier to find it while you are shooting.

The 3 Types of Artistic Light.

In part 4, we will take an in depth look at how Caravaggio studied the light on the streets of Rome to transform his paintings from common Renaissance knock offs to Baroque masterpieces.

How Caravaggio used the streets of Rome light his paintings.

In part 5, we will look at the three lighting schemes: Frontal Light, Back Light, and Side Light along with examples for artists who built entire careers on these techniques.

How to practice on your own.

In part 6, we look at one of the fathers of Impressionism Claude Monet. In order to build his skills Monet would often paint the same exact subject at different times of the day. This allowed him to understand how and when to find the best lighting for his painting.

How Monet used a church to find the best light.

In part 7, we will use Johannes Vermeer to see how architecture holds the secrets to finding light. I show examples of my own work where the architecture reveals hot spots for successful pictures.

Why Vermeer always had perfect light.

In the assignment you will receive a summary of all of the lessons we learned with a list of exercises to practice your new techniques. After completing these assignment Finding Light will feel automatic.

The Assignment.