Light + Life


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Light + Life


Next class starts TBD
Registration opens TBD
Teacher Kellie Hatcher

Light and life define photography. They represent what is in front of the camera and, even more so, what is behind the camera. Instructor Kellie Hatcher believes this is why photographers seek approval for their work- out of the desire for their photographs to impact the world, even if just on a personal level.

Your work is ultimately an autobiography of yourself, so producing images that genuinely represent you as a person and artist is of the utmost importance. This four-week class covers all the aspects of light and how to capture it most beautifully without interrupting the moments unfolding around the camera. It is not easy to do, and is a learned practice, but Kellie will share with you her thought process with every image she makes.

This class will make your work stronger by showing you how to view and understand light in a room, showing you how your placement is everything, and teaching you practical tools for using compositional components to create the strongest images possible.

You will also learn to define your own vision by seeing what is right in front of you a little differently and therefore igniting revelations from within.

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WEEK ONE: The Art of SEEING Light: How-to create awareness of the ever changing light around you.

WEEK TWO: Exposing and Metering: How to meter your light to get the photograph you envision.

WEEK THREE: Composition: Making purposeful compositions and what to look for to make impacting images.

WEEK FOUR: How Kellie runs a session from A-Z: She will take you through every step, from the first email to how she conducts the shoot.

The Schedule

All participation and interaction for this class will take place in a private online forum. (Registered students will receive instructions on how to access the forum a few days before class begins.)

On the first Monday of class, Kellie will share Lesson 1 in the forum and e-mail it to every student. She will also be available during the week to answer questions and facilitate discussions in the forum as you read and work through your lessons.

Homework will be due on Sunday and critiques/reviews will take place the following Monday. Each week will follow the same pattern.

The beauty of this class and every other class at DEFINE is that you can read, practice, and participate throughout the week whenever it is convenient for you- from any timezone, anywhere you have Internet access, at any time of day. Most students spend 3-5 hours per week “in class.”

If you have any questions please feel free to email

Is this class for you?

This class is for students wishing to improve their photography skills by learning about all the different kinds of available light. In addition, you will learn how to make the most out of using natural light to produce strong images. Students need to have a confident understanding of how to shoot in manual. If you do not already, please check out Jessica's class, Auto to Manual.

Material(s) Needed

A camera with adjustable settings (preferably a DSLR or an advanced point and shoot), a computer, and natural light (any amount will do)



  1. :

    When I started Kellie’s class I had a pretty good grasp on metering light, or so I thought. Now I can walk into any scene and know exactly what I need to do to get the photo I want. My confidence has sky rocketed during shoots because I am less distracted thinking about where my settings need to be. I am free to interact with my clients. I see differently now too. I used to look for bright areas full of light. Now I look for pockets filled with shadows and highlights I have never noticed before. Kellie was an amazing teacher who was open and willing to share anything.


  2. :


    I truly cannot believe how much you packed into 4 lessons. It was so helpful. I only wish it was another 4 weeks! Everything you taught us was so concrete and your explanations and examples were fantastic. I feel like I have learned so much from each and everyone in this class as well. That is something that came very unexpectedly. What a bonus!! It is so reassuring to be amongst people who share the same goals. I know everyone was here to learn at their own level and that is something that is so unique about the Define School! I loved that I could do everything at my own pace and on my own time frame. I have kept my lessons very handy and know I will re-read them often! I am one step closer to my goals and for that I am eternally grateful!


  3. :

    I’ve always been one to look for and use only “good” light (as in basically coming from behind me lighting the subject directly) for my photos. But this class has taught me it’s ALL good! I’ve been finding myself noticing lighting situations that I would have run away from in the past and thinking “I need to go get my camera!” I really feel like I’ve learned so much and I know my photos are going to reflect that in the future.

    To be honest, I was really intimidated at first to show my homework to you and all the others in the class. I appreciate your patience with somebody who is just a hobbyist hoping to get a little better. I couldn’t have been more thrilled when you had such kind words for my homework this week. It really meant a lot to me. As the class winds down, I’m definitely seeing the world around me very differently and I’m *really* excited about photography again. I would absolutely (and will) recommend your class to my friends!

    Thank you again – this has been a great experience!.


  4. :


    I wanted to say thank you for teaching this class! It was just what I needed. You are an awesome photographer and amazing teacher. Your lessons were so easy to understand and I had countless “aha moments” while reading them and working on the homework. I have been in business for about 2 years now and your class was a great refresher and helped open my eyes! You have changed my vision and how I see light forever. I have already recommended it to some friends who were asking about it!


  5. :


    I cannot believe how blind I have been to my own home light with shadows… whereas I used to avoid them like the plague, now I’m embracing them!


  6. :


    One of the main reasons I wanted to take your class is because I kept seeing light like I had last night and I just didn’t know what to do with it – how to get it on camera like I saw it in my head. So THANK YOU for teaching me how!


  7. :


    This class has been incredible for me! I know there’s always more to learn with photography, & while I already grasped metering & know about framing, this course still really opened my eyes & got me thinking before I take my photos. I’ve really been focusing on framing the past few days with my kiddos & it’s just refreshing to have images turn out the way I visualize them pre-shot 🙂 so thank you very much!


  8. :


    This class has really made me look at perspective and “see the light” differently. I know photography for me is a work in progress, but these little stepping stones will lead me to my goal one day. Thank you!!!!


  9. :


    I’m no longer intimidated by harsh light and am actually excited by it and the contrast it creates. I’ll never look at light the same way! Your style of giving critiques also made the learning process very easy…it was completely painless and yet still very informative. Everything just came together perfectly for me in this class, so truly, thank you! I’m excited to take everything I learned and continue to apply it to my photography.


  10. :

    I graduated from film school in December and promptly decided I preferred photography and being behind the camera shooting to directing. While I took cinematography and lighting classes in my program I had pretty much used my camera exclusively for shooting films. It had been some time since I’d really focused on photography. I was feeling a bit unconfident on a whole and wondering if I was completely mad to start developing a photography business post-film school. So I decided to take Kellie’s class and learn hands on how to properly meter using my camera rather than an external light meter.

    I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoyed the class and how sad I was to see it end. The month flies by. The exercises Kelly provides helped my metering and thus my confidence in what I was doing jump by leaps and bounds in a very short period of time. Additionally, she and the other members of the class are wholly supportive of your work and what you are doing. You have all these people doing the same thing you are doing and they are all in your corner cheering for you. I could not have had a better experience for my first online class and I cannot wait until the fall classes start to take another course. I am so glad to have found the Define School and that it has instructors like Kellie.

    — oh and FYI, I have an MA and an MFA degree and I have taught community college for the last eight years so it would be an understatment to say that I have high standards for classes and programs. I cannot say enough good things about Kellie’s class or The Define School.

  11. :

    Kellie is beyond an amazing teacher, she gives so much of herself to her students…seriously we all loved her and were so sad to see this class end. i wanted it to be a game changer for me and it has been. i can now shoot in any light situation and feel completely comfortable. i am leaving this class with new inspiration (many new master photographers to study), the knowledge to know how to shoot and capture beautiful light, and the ability to control the light in my images. i feel very grateful to have learned all of this from Kellie.

  12. :


    I thoroughly enjoyed this class. It exceeded my expectations and I learned so much more than I thought I could or would. You are a wealth of knowledge and so inspirational. I have to push myself to try harder and really practice all of the skills you taught us. I am always juggling so many things and feel like there is not enough time in the day to get it all done. Life is busy, but photography is quickly becoming my outlet and this class helped me see so much.
    Moreover, you engaged the entire group to converse online and support one another at all levels. It was difficult at first because I am a beginner, and I felt like I was in the wrong place, but that quickly changed after we completed our first assignment. I learned that we all had so much to learn. You helped me to get out of my comfort zone and develop my skills.
    I am still practicing and will continue to re-read the lessons and conversations in the coming weeks.
    So thankful I took the plunge and completed this class. I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to learn more about seeing light and pushing themselves to use light to create beautiful images.
    Thank you so much! I hope to keep in touch with you and continue to learn from you and all the other wonderful teachers at Define.

    All the best,
    Mary Ann

  13. :

    Kellie’s Light + Life Class added significantly to my ability to shoot in manual mode in three important ways; I have a better understanding of how to shoot fast moving children, I am consistently looking for the best possible light sources and I am taking time to compose better pictures. Now I can confidently get my settings to where they should be and hand my camera off to someone else to take my picture, and that is really fun!
    Kellie, thank you for making me feel so comfortable and I loved your videos!

  14. :

    I just wanted to say that your class gave me the confidence to take those great shots I’d only been dreaming of. Light + Life was a chance for me to slow down in my every day practice and actually see what was in front of me. Thank you so much for your input and effort. I really appreciated this class, and I truly feel it has been a jumping off point for me as an artist.

  15. :

    I always had a love for light, but the way Kellie helps you identify it and train the way you see it; it is like opening up the world to all these beautiful little pockets that had otherwise gone overlooked. The light itself has a story to tell and this course teaches you how to use light to help tell your stories.

  16. :

    I really loved the L&L course and I now feel far more prepared to face any type of lighting situation. I’ve also become aware during this course that I need to remind myself to shoot intentionally, and take lots of care when composing my images.
    The framework of the course suits me really well, as I love to learn through practising and getting out with my camera in hand. The homework feedback was fun and informative, and we had a chance to learn through looking at others’ work too, which I find really helpful.
    I’m looking forward to becoming part of the Light and Life fb community, and continuing to grow and learn with all of the talented photographer friends I’ve met through Define.

  17. :

    Oh I am so sad my time in this class is coming to an end! Absolutely loved Kellie and this class. Kellie was so inspiring! Because of this class I now recognize light differently and notice light in ways I didn’t before. This class has truly changed how I see the light. So thankful!

  18. :

    this class was absolutely amazing! kellie is a fantastic teacher who answered every question with not only an explanation but with examples (pictures & videos).
    it was here metering section though, that was my “aha” moment and in 4 short weeks i already see a huge improvement in my photography.

  19. :

    The first thing you notice about Kellie is her effusive personality! She is as authentic in her roles as teacher and photographer as she is as a person, and this is the foundation with which she begins her amazing class! I always felt like I was speaking to someone who truly cared about my educational growth and my future in photography. She is extremely thorough in her lessons and equally thorough in her responses on the forum and videos replies – made not just for critiques but also for the most poignant questions that require the extra effort. This was my first Define class and I found the online forum format truly fascinating and extremely engaging. I have already signed up for more classes!! I have to thank Kellie for making such an incredible first impression on me as much for her wonderful, light-enfused, absolutely eye-opening teaching as her very personable kindness, and the true inspiration of her beautiful photography. Thank you Kellie!!! You are amazing! :o)

  20. :

    I have taken a number of online classes from a couple different places, but this is the first time I’ve become an active participant and I owe that all to Kellie. She is so warm and open and generous with her feedback and praise. Her kind spirit creates the perfect environment in which to open up, stretch, and learn. I think Kellie has nailed the content of her class and gets down to what a lot of us want to know: from the way she specifically meters, to the email templates she uses when she gets an inquiry. And the video critiques are SO helpful.Thank you Kellie! This class has given me new photography friends AND new confidence in my work. Loved it!

  21. :

    I signed up for Light + Life not really knowing what to fully expect. I have taken previous classes based around light and this time I was looking for some fresh inspiration and motivation. I am SO glad that I went for it because Kellie is truly a great teacher and she cares about her teachings and her students. You will see this in everything that she does in the class. I have learned things I didn’t even know were important in an image! She has opened my eyes to so many new things….and as someone like myself who is somewhat experienced with natural light photography I now realize that I still have so much to learn. I am so thankful to Kellie for those ah-ha moments I’ve had….where I was wondering how I didn’t know this stuff before. But now that I do, I can meter my light more efficiently, I am recognizing lines and shapes that make images stronger, and I can compose my images in ways I had never thought to before! I now have the tools to take my photography to a new level. I could go on and on, but the bottom line is you will NOT regret taking her class! She is amazing!

  22. :

    I thoroughly enjoyed Kellie’s class! Her lessons were clear and well laid out; she answered questions promptly; and, was open and generous with her advice and feedback. I would strongly recommend if for those interested in taking their photography to the next level!

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