Moody Two-Light Control

Karl is joined by broncolor’s Urs Recher for this precise photography lighting demonstration. Together, they show what’s possible using just two lights.

In this photography class, Urs guides us through one of his lighting setups, where, unusually, he makes use of hard light to achieve this stunning beauty image. Throughout this demonstration he also reiterates the importance of precision and control.

In this class:

  • Studio Lighting: How to set up multiple studio lights
  • Two light setup for beauty photography
  • How to create hard light using a softbox
  • Using reflectors and fill light in photography

If you enjoy this class, you may also like to watch Soft Single-Light Portrait.

Questions? Please post them in the comments section below.


  1. Hi Karl,

    It is a great techniques and presentation for this lighting setup by positioning of a slanting softbox to create a sharp light towards the front face and the shadows gradually fall off behind both side of the face, correct me if I’m wrong, wouldn’t it be the similar results as compare to the previous topic ” male (Karl) portrait” and it is much easier to manage ? i meant what is the main differences in term of output of these two setup ? thanks


    1. Hi Alex, the main difference is simply the direction on the light and the direction of the shadows. In the portrait of me the light is perpendicular to my face but from above, so that shadows run down. In this example the light is perpendicular to Evie’s face but from the side so the shadow runs to the side. Also in this example the light is further feathered by use of the card flag and it is a bigger softbox slightly further away which will affect the inverse square law (please see our new video in the Introduction to Product Photography Section).

    1. Hi Afahmi, not exactly the same because the octabox has bits missing on the long edge but to some degree yes.

  2. Hello Karl,

    Hope all is well! I have a question regarding the final picture, the one just above the comment section. Was the backlight turned of for this shot? Or how did achieve the black? Because when Urs was shooting with background light on, I always saw a slight grey gradient.

    Thanks Karl, amazing video and high quality content as always!



    1. Hi Philip, that’s a very good question and tomorrow I’m going to check the files to see why this shot was chosen or if Urs has taken some with the back light off. I will come back to you soon.

      1. Hi Karl, I just love this set up and I am looking forward to taking some portraits photos once lockdown ends. I will be trying this one for sure! 🙂

        Just to follow up with Phillips question – Did Urs just turn the background light off for the thumbnail shot? He surely used flags as well, to get the contrast in the thumbnail image?

        1. Thanks Nathan, Urs is a bit of a genius with his creative portrait techniques! I had a look at the files and it looked like during filming Urs took options with the background on and off.

    2. Hi Philip, we’ve checked and for some strange reason Urs has chosen one of his test shots from before he put the background light on. We will re-edit the video and add some of the other shots and put them on the page too. This will take a few days to sort out as we are busy filming new courses at the moment. Thanks.

  3. I did like the birds eye view of the lighting set up. It really amps up the total quality of the production. Really enjoyed this episode. Thanks

  4. using same set ups and poses in these videos to shoot models for my photography page would this have copy rights issue

  5. Karl and Urs are the best photographers duo. I love the (unusual) way that Urs shapes the light and the knowledge and charisma of Karl. This series is -by far- my best investment in photography ever.

  6. Awesome detailed info that explains how and why the light works. Really loving these videos. The Karl and Urs videos are always interesting from both perspectives .

    1. Hi MizUniverse, his name is Urs Recher, he’s Swiss and a very knowledgable photographer and consultant from broncolor. I asked him to come in and demonstrate some of his unique lighting setups.

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