Soft, Warm and Glowing

With four lights and some standard modifiers, Karl shows you how to achieve the wonderful soft, classic beauty portrait image below.

Using predominantly edge lighting with a fill light, Karl clearly explains the positioning and power of each light and how to find the right ratio and balance of lights. Aiming for a moody portrait image, he also highlights the importance of taking creative control to achieve the desired final result.

In this class:

  • Studio photography: How to shoot portrait images
  • How to shoot creative portraiture using four lights
  • How to control exposure of studio lights
  • Creative edge lighting studio setup

Questions? Please post them in the comments section below.


  1. I knew it would pop up, Karl’s least favourite gear – the light meter 😉.
    Honestly I thought about getting one myself for quite some time to get the “correct” exposure, but you are absolutely right Karl, it’s about the right exposure.
    I’ve heard from one photographer that he actually carried a light meter with him and every now and than checked if his assumption about the light was right, just to get a better feel for light. But he also said he never used it during a shoot, and for the same reason you don’t. He doesn’t want to limit his creative freedom.

      1. Thank you Karl. I have been a member for some time, but several things at work and some private issues prevented me from watching the videos, so I still have a number to watch. But I can definitely say they are super helpful.

  2. Really nice result. I am really starting to see the subtle differences you stress in terms of intentionally adjusting the “volume” on the light to achieve a result. This is a great example. I try to digest at least five videos a day as I run through this library of demonstrations. The slow part is putting it into action.. where usually only one a day can be fully tucked under the belt. Loads of food for thought. Thanks.

  3. Thank you. One of my favorite setups, but I learned a lot from this video. I too fall victim to the light meter too often long time habit going back to my film days. I also need to get a monitor up to view instead of the back of my camera. Great job, big help.

    On another note I have a setup with the stobe coming from the back camera-left lighting the back of the head. I then have a large white foamboard in front reflecting that onto the face. The quality of the light I get from that is what I believe you created here being a darker than your meter.
    Than you.


  4. Karl the same results can be achived by using the Rim Lighting technique by using 3 lights instead of 4.

    1. Light for the background to create a ball of light and seperation from background.
    2. Using a peice of cloth on the reactagular softbox to crate rim light on the model.
    3. Use one more light from the front.

    Is my aproach right ?

  5. amazing setup !
    I haven’t used an umbrella for a long time but this look made me want to try it again.

    amazing as always Karl, I want you to know that you really really inspire me every time and I’m talking about you everyday that you are my true inspiration in lighting and photography.

    There is a huge difference if I’m watching you than anybody else because you ( inspire me ) first and then I learn from you , I knew you since 2010 I think and from that time I’m following you and learning from you and recommending you for everyone I know.

    I wish you the best and I’m greatly appreciated for your continuous inspiration.


  6. Hi Karl, I notice you shooting on a ladder frequently, is that because the model is tall, or are you shooting slightly down on her?

    1. Hi Erik, a bit of both and I’m also quite short 5ft 7, (1m 70) so a model with heels on is too high for me at ground level plus being on the ladder I can go up and down until I see what looks good, without the ladder then I don’t have that option.

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