Beauty-Style Advertising Photography

How do you get those cover girl-style shots that we so often see on the front of magazines and billboards? In this class Karl creates a classic beauty shot, explaining and demonstrating the lighting and considerations for these types of images.

Unlike portrait photography, which uses soft light, classic makeup cosmetic images use hard light. Throughout this session, Karl explains the three important considerations for making these shots work, before demonstrating two different lighting setups step-by-step.

The first setup uses just a couple of lights as Karl explains his modifiers and accessories and how he uses fill light to control the density of the shadows. For the second setup, Karl uses the simplest lighting — a bare bulb light — as he shows you how to create hard shadows across the model’s face.

Class objectives:

  • How to photograph beauty images
  • Creating hard light
  • Lighting setups for beauty images
  • How to control shadows

Following on from this shoot are several tutorials on how to retouch beauty images, where Karl demonstrates techniques such as adjusting colour, using burning and dodging, using the liquify tool, eye enhancements and more.

Further related classes you may enjoy include:

If you have any questions about this class please post in the comment section below.

NOTE: This class is available with English subtitles and automatic translations.


  1. Hi Karl,

    Great tutorial . Would this shot be possible with a dslr camera with max shutter of 200 as you had yours at 500? I’m guessing it would have been a case of increasing aperture and flash power?

    Many thanks

    1. Hi Craig, yes absolutely. Remember not to confuse shutter speed with exposure when using flash, in this instance i could have used 1/60th or 1/200th or 1/500th and it wouldn’t make any difference on exposure because I was using studio flash. Please watch the first 15 chapters on studio lighting theory in the ‘Portrait’ section on the course ‘Light Source’ this gives you the solid grounding you need for everything to do with studio flash.

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