Photographing a model in motion – Falling girl

With this highly stylized lighting look producing an emotional evocative image, Karl walks you through every aspect of the lighting and the concept to completion. He demonstrates the careful control of lighting styling, choice of outfit and how careful preparation will lead to a stunning result.

As part of our first fashion photography course, Karl set out to capture the image of a falling girl. This shoot with Deborah Frey demonstrates the entire process, from various lighting tests to outfit changes and posing adjustments. Using a simple light setup and creative problem solving Karl demonstrates how, with careful control of lighting and meticulous planning, it is possible to achieve stunning results that require minimal retouching.

In this fashion photography class you’ll learn the following:

  • Choosing an outfit
  • Creative problem solving
  • How to control shadows with different lighting
  • How to freeze movement with flash
  • What is mirror lock up mode and when to use it
  • How to get maximum effect using minimal lights

If you have any questions regarding this course use the comments area below.


  1. That was a very good and helpful tutorial, Karl. Thank you! May I know what focus system did you use in the camera to have your model always in focus when falling? I dunno about the focus modes in your camera, but I’m using SONY a7rIII.

    1. Hi Afahmi, thank you. I always use manual focus for this because the model is always falling in exactly the same place so with your camera fixed on a tripod it remains the same. Do a test on the position, get it sharp, then put it in MF.

  2. Karl, great shoot! Deborah was fantastic! I have a couple technical questions that I may not have caught the answers too. You were shooting at 80/85 mm medium format, equivalent to a 50mm lense in a 35mm camera?. Clearly the detail in the image had to be F8.0 or higher. Iso? Shutter at 250? To capture the motion at a standstill? And your Para 133 pole setting? Mid? Thanks. Great tutorial. Thomas

    1. Hi Thomas, all of our courses when you are logged in have an equipment list on the right hand side of the page a little lower down, here you can find each piece of equipment used and it’s model number etc. On that particular shot it was f8 but you never really need to consider the shutter speed when using flash in a controlled environment such as a studio, simply because you can block or reduce all ambient light so the shutter speed becomes irrelevant, all of the freezing of the model falling is achieved by the duration of the flash burst. Of course outdoors the shutter speed becomes more important as you are using this to reduce the daylight exposure. In the studio my shutter speed could have been 1/60th or 1/250th (it was 1/320th on that shot) but as long as it was fast enough to cut out my modelling light then it would be sufficient in the studio. The Para I think was also shown in the video and it was in the mid focus position. All the best Karl.

  3. Pimer trabajo que veo tuyo en la plataforma, y quiero felicitarte Karl, un gran trabajo!, con muchas ganas de seguir viendo todos tus trabajos, saludos

    1. Hi, it’s only a modifier that you put a light into, so I can put a studio flash in it or a broncolor LED or or a broncolor HMI.

  4. Bonjour Monsieur Karl est il possible de réaliser un shoot comme celui-ci en extérieur?

    1. Bonjour, qu cest bon questionne et oui cett possible. Mais vous plus bon sur jour avec nuage pour le protection du tros beaucoup lumieire du soleil si avec flash.

  5. Can you shed some light on the Studio Two-sided White wall and how is it constructed. Is it made of Plaster of Paris?

  6. Hi Karl, I really enjoyed this session, just wondering when you merge the images do you do this manually by merging and erasing part of the scene or using luminosity masks or another way? also great courses I have just finished all of the portraits sessions now onto the Fashion course! Thanks

  7. Hey Karl sir

    I’m the great fan of your work sir. After a long time of waiting final today I join your online course class. Today is a happiest day of me. You are amazing sir.

  8. Hi, Mr Taylor

    Signed up today , and this was the first content that I viewed . I must state that it was an out of the box idea followed by the flawless execution .

    1. Hi Aaron, I would highly recommend you first watch the lighting theory chapters especially No.1 in the Portrait Section.

  9. Hi Karl
    Could you, please explain what delay do you mean? I’ve tried to make pictures with mirror and without and couldn’t notice any delay although I did still image. May be the delay is visible only if you do motion picture? I’m not picking on, just try to understand and after your lessons I try to do some tests to see how it works) What situation/set should I shot as a test to definately notice the delay?

  10. Hello Karl, I just signed up for 2 Yrs your education. Several years ago I purchased your 4 DVD Series. I elected for just the DVD version without the education certificate.

    Amazing work! I appreciate the invaluable resource of technique and knowledge you offer so freely to anyone who wants to learn. It is an understatement to say you have talent. You create amazing art! I hope some day to gain the knowledge and opportunity to apply it. I am looking forward to the time of further studying your work!

    1. Thanks Robb, we look forward to you enjoying the platform and of course if you have any questions you can leave them in these comment sections on any of the modules.

  11. This was always one of my favourites. Karl really opened my eyes to the world of commercial photography. Now I’m dreaming of getting a Hasselblad and doing some great work myself.

    1. Hi Jupiterfry, whilst a Hasselblad renders a beautiful resolution and tonal range you can still make great pictures with 35mm cameras too.

  12. Very impressive idea, I loved it for the simplicity, and the possibility to look the entire workflow is a great thing.
    It’s to consider one thing, for play with lights like you do is needed a big infinity wall and high ceiling to simulate a real natural light, obviously this is only a little part, without creative ideas and a clear idea of the realization all gears and stuffs is nothing.

    Great job, love your works, regards from Sicily !

    1. Hi Niro, that’s a broad question but most wedding photographers would work with one or two bodies and lenses, my choice would be a 16-35 and a 70-200 f2.8

  13. Hi Karl,
    I’m new to photography and new to this site and I’m loving it!
    Can you explain the line you mentioned in the beginning ’18 ml equivalent to a 50 on a 35 ml format. If this is in another video,pleasen supply the link.
    Second question, whats the minimum Mega pixel needed in a camera if the images will be used for large commercial use?
    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Malky, thank you and I was referring to the fact I was shooting with a medium format camera instead of a 35mm camera, therefore the focal lengths of the lenses give different results so I was giving a comparison of the medium format lenses to the 35mm equivalents. As for MP I’d say at least 22mp with good lenses.

  14. these are not only photographs.. you are creating amazing piece of an art. i am leaning a lot from you Karl. the way you explain each element is wow. Thanks a lot is very little world. just speechless.

  15. Totally amazed by how this shot was composed. I am looking forward to learning more and do more in the world of photography. Thanks for the inspiration and your compassion for photography. Blessings!

  16. Oh I remember the “shadow” technique from your older tutorials a few years ago, there was I think glass of water falling from model’s hand etc… So cool…

  17. Dear Sir

    I would like to give you special lots of thanks to you. I am Rukesh, from Nepal. I got a chance to learn from you, itts because of your online reasonable course

    Best Regards

  18. Great video….simple idea made look simple and easy withal the right gear……ahh well…I can dream Karl….one day

    1. Thank you David, I think you could also achieve a decent result with something like a deep focus umbrella and a honeycomb grid on a standard reflector for the background. It would take more work but still be possible to get a good result. When you look at the results we achieved in ‘Light Source’ in the ‘Portrait’ section this was all done with more basic modifiers to prove what is possible.

  19. Once again great work Karl, a question please? I am shooting a dancer next week in her dance studio and I am after some movement shot, jumping etc. I aim to use a low power to freeze the action as I cannot use HSS with my studio flash heads but what I would like to know please is: I will be using a 1.5m Octabox should I use the two diffusers, just the outer diffuser or none at all? I would like a little shadow to be cast on the studio floor, so I aim to have the boom stand and the light source high and angled down at 45 degrees. Sorry for the long question. Rgds Gary

    1. Hi Gary, the level of shadow you get will be dependent on how far the softbox is a away from your subject. For dancers I’d prefer a crisper look so I’d consider using it without the diffusers as it will be a harder light source with more contrast, you will also get more light out of it so you can use it more easily on the lower powers. In the future I’d consider something like the broncolor deep focus umbrella if a para133 is out of budget. Cheers Karl.

  20. What can I say, you are amazing Karl. Your attention to detail is unique and I feel I am learning so much every time I watch you create a shot.

    1. Thank you Paul, that’s our goal here at KTE so glad to hear your enjoying the program, please spread the word to your photography friends!

  21. Awesome Karl, loved the way you done this shoot…this inspires all of us to be really concentrate on light positions…power and all…just i thought a flying balloons might be much more effective to that moment…

    1. Thank you Lal, I did try a test shot with the balloons in the air but I felt it was distracting from the model and i wanted to concentrate everything on her and the fall so I decided to go with the balloons on the floor, but of course these things are all personal preferences.

  22. beautiful! i have this muse i’ve been shooting and this would right up her alley! i’d LOVE to try this out! 🙂

  23. thank you Karl for Fashion episode. i would like to ask you:
    could you take this techniques with high quality by your 5Diii as well (and Not by Hasselblad)?

    1. Hi Art, yes of course but obviously there would be some difference in tonal range and resolution on close inspection on large format print or examination.

  24. having bought your specific courses previously and learning so much I’m thrilled to have signed up for the monthly subscription. This is an amazing shot, just shows the 12inchs behind the camera are what makes the shot, not the kit.

    Can’t wait to see so much more Karl, I have a well paid but stressful job that I want to leave so I can progress into my obsession which is photography, pleased with my progress thus far and a lot of it down to your workshops just hoping your tutorage and inspiration gets me along with lots of practice to where I want to be.

    Cheers dude


  25. This was an awesome shoot, and very informative. I remember watching the video, and thinking I will ask if you used mirror lockup, and two seconds later you mentioned that you did. 🙂

  26. Excellent work and choice of model! Worked with Deborah before and absolutely loved her performance.

    1. Thank you Marco, yes Deborah was one of the hardest working models that I’ve had the pleasure of working with. She was as enthusiastic as I was about getting the result which is always a pleasure.

  27. I have been inspired by you over the years Karl, just viewed this for the first time since signing up. Very interesting set up. You must be very strong !!!!! Thanks for making this available online and at great price too.

  28. I am so excited to have signed up for your education package. I have just watched this for the first time and it was amazing. This is going to be so inspirational and will give me the extra push to move forwards with my photography. Thank you Karl you are so generous with your knowledge and skill, a true Gent.

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