THe Magic of Light

a field guide to understanding the best of the light around you

with Summer Murdock

NEXT SESSION: 1/27/20 TO 2/16/20


Class Overview:

I have a profound sense of wonder and awe for light. At the risk of sounding cheesy, I would argue that light can turn something ordinary into something otherworldly. It has the ability to amplify emotions and connections in images and speak straight to the heart. Light can be the factor that takes an image from good to awe-inspring. 

So if  light is key in creating interesting images, are we really in control of it? Do we walk into a situation and really SEE the light and know how to use it to it’s fullest potential intentionally? The Magic of Light will push you to slow down, open your eyes and really SEE the light around you with fresh eyes. Happy accidents are awesome, but to really be in control of your craft, you should be able to walk into any situation and use the available light to it's fullest potential. This class will encourage you to think outside the box and experiment with all kinds of light both indoors and outdoors. We will cover hazy backlight, dramatic sun-flare, rim light, heavily shadowed light, full sun, overcast, available artificial light, and more. 

The Magic of Light will push you creatively as well as give you new technical knowledge and confidence that will help you let go of any fears about controlling the light around you and help you get the images that are stuck in your head out into your camera. All light may not be equal, but you really can make an interesting image in any kind of light.

What You Will Learn:

  • explore how to slow down, be inspired by light and see it with fresh eyes

  • learn how I utlize my in camera meter to get great exposures and spend less time looking at the back of my camera

  • simple tips to help you focus in backlight

  • understand how to create varying degrees of haze and control it with intention vs luck

  • explore how to achieve dramatic sun-flare

  • identify the specific conditions that create dramatic rim-light

  • I will share my light based outdoor location scouting system

  • explore the important role shadow plays in relation to light

  • learn how to best utilize the light after the sun goes down

  • explore how to get creative through manipulating exposures

  • identify some practical tips to make the most of overcast or flat light

  • learn to embrace full sun. Life doesn't always happen during the golden hour

  • explore ways to use artificial light in creative ways

  • studio lighting

  • off camera flash or any created light

Class Mechanics:

This three week online interactive workshop will include:

  • daily interaction from me answering any questions you might have about the materials presented

  • video lessons to supplement each of the 12 written lessons

  • weekly assignments due each Sunday with individual feedback from me on each assignment via screen capture video

  • 3 bonus assignments to help reinforce the lessons (detailed feedback will not be given on bonus assignments)

  • editing videos will be provided where you will be able to watch me edit a few images in different lighting scenarios but please note - this is not an editing class. The focus of the class is to create good images straight out of camera

  • silent students will be provided a section of the classroom to interact with one another but should not ask questions outside that area or submit assignments

  • alumni students will be allowed to submit assignments in a group thread for brief group feedback from me as well as ask questions and participate in group discussions.

  • an informal, live Q&A where all active & alumni students in the class will have to opportunity to chat, interact, and ask questions live.

  • silent students can to submit one question for me to answer during the live Q&A

  • a recording of the live Q&A will be presented for the silent students and the active and alumni students who could not attend the live meeting

  • at the conclusion of the workshop, a 240 page digital PDF will be provided containing all the lessons presented during the course with the option to purchase the printed version for an additional cost

  • all class members will be invited to join a private Facebook group after the class ends

  • an opportunity to participate in the Magic of Workshop alumni monthly collaboration that you can see HERE

Student Reviews:

“I don't even know where to start honestly.  I was super intimidated to take this class but have been trying for years unsuccessfully to get in.   I wondered if I should just give up and take something that is easier to get into and quit trying.  I'm SO glad I didn't.  By the third day I told my husband if that was all I learned the whole course I would have been happy with my money spent.  I've never had a problem seeing beautiful light I see it everywhere, but this course gives you specific things to do with your camera as well as your subject to get the shot you want.   It's been the difference between trying a bunch settings and angles to get that lucky shot that you wanted and creating a shot with purpose and accuracy.  The shot you saw and wanted to happen will happen because you MADE it happen rather than you just got lucky.  The class is more than just light.  It is about knowing your camera better, how to compose with purpose and for me the unexpected thing I learned was shadows.  I've focused so much on light I didn't realize how important the shadows were.  This class is worth the wait and I can't wait to see how my work changes as a result of this class.”
Kristi Eckstein

To read more testimonials from past students go HERE.


A DSLR or mirrorless camera and a firm understanding of shooting in manual mode


Active Seat $350 |  Silent Seat $275  |  Alumni Seat $150


Please message me with any questions or for an alumni sign up link.

To learn more about the different types of seats offered, go to our FAQ section. Alumni Student? We’d love to have you back. You can find sign up links in Summer’s Magic of Light Alumni group on Facebook.