The Emotion of Light

George Eastman, founder of Eastman Kodak, the company that popularised photography once said:

“Light makes photography. Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography.”

It was a little under half way through my photographic career that I came to realise how accurate this statement was. A knowledge of light is fundamental to our understanding of photography but it goes beyond that. Light isn’t just a physical property of transmission, reflection or refraction, it is also an ‘emotion’ and by that I mean it induces emotion in a similar way to music.

How does it do this? Well part of it is imprinting, in that we become familiar through culture to certain styles or moods that light conveys and part of it is actual science in that the human brain is pre-programmed to perceive visual stimuli in a certain ways for survival reasons.

The bottom line of all of this is how can this influence our photography? How can we use this knowledge to harness the power of light to create better images?

In this unique workshop I will be answering those questions (and more), through a series of presentations as well as practical lighting demonstrations.

In this live photography show you’ll learn the following:

  •  Human visual response to light
  •  Theory of color — juxtposing & complimentary colors and their effects
  •  Directional light and its impact
  •  How to control shadows
  •  Using negative fill to control light
  •  Simulating sunlight with a single light
  •  How to control light in small studio spaces
  •  Using reflectors and flags
  •  Lighting modifiers & their effects
  •  The best modifiers for soft light
  •  How to work with & balance multiple lights
  •  Four different lighting setups for effective portrait photography

This photography class is a must-watch for those wanting to understand the emotion of light and how to use it to best effect. More information on the theory of light can be found in Chapter One of our portrait photography section.

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


  1. Hi, is the light grading possible to obtain with an acrylic sheet instead of Lee’s sheet of diffusing material (paper?)? Thanks for this great course!

    1. Hi, yes it is but large acrylic sheets can be difficult to handle. You’ll see me use acrylic sheets as diffusion on smaller product shots on this platform.

  2. Hello,

    thank you for your great courses!
    Which RAL color is the dark grey background?

    Best Regards

    1. Hi Philip, I don’t know the RAL but I can tell you it was most likely Valspar Paint X98 Grey Shingle R215B.

  3. hi, thanks for all the tips and knowledge you are sharing in all your courses…really best courses ever…i’m new in photography and I would like to know please what is the difference between using soft light with flash and using soft light with continuous light? and when should we use soft light or diffused light with continuous light instead of flash

  4. Thankyou sir i am a great fan of you and your photo work. Your lessons are awesome thanks for the very informative lighting setups. lots of love and respect towards you sir.

  5. Hi Karl, thank you for archiving the live show and make it available for viewing. I would like to request a feature for the video player to allow playing speed option. It would really help to be able to watch some videos at 1.5x speed. Awesome tutorials, top notch in quality and information!

  6. Thank you so much for this education Karl. I’m astonished at how much energy you put into the show.

    Apart from being fascinated by all the technical stuff and in awe of how impressive your studio, your lighting equipment and your team around you are, the big takeaway for me was, “How we perceive is more important than how it actually is.”

    I’m a bit late getting into this live show series and I look forward to the next learnings.

  7. Amazing Karl. Such energy and so well thought through. Loved the crazy visual perception examples. Big thanks.

  8. Thanks Karl
    Learned lots of tricks and techniques from this show
    thank you and whole of your team

  9. Hi everybody ,, this Muhannad Fakih ,,, I’m new subscribert to karltaylor education !!

    That’s amazing , fabulous , priceless , gorgeous !!! Wonderful !!

    Apart from the unusual live shows you have the ability to access all learning DVDs of Karl Taylor , which will make you the best photography by his new ideas and new inventions ,and techniques !!

    Even if you don’t have the same tools !! It’s enough to understand very well logically and practically straight of-word all these techniques and be your DIY invention how to make the best shoot !!

    All respect and appreciation for you Mr Karl Taylor ,, keep going on , you are the best ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Always !!!

    That was Amazing show that I have never ever learn a much of data and informations of photography basics and advanced in light likethis !!!

    This is really priceless video !!!

    Thanks again !!

  10. The gift that keeps on giving. I was wondering if there was a way for members to download these videos? I remember Karl mentioning in one of his rants that these videos will eventually ‘cycle out’ once more are added to the list and I would really like to be able to have them with me permanently (although i do understand if it’s not possible to make them downloadable).

  11. Hi Karl,

    I joined later than this was shown but so looking forward to the next one, im really excited to see and hear Alex Wallace, his story is inspirational to a developing enthusiast hoping to to pro in the future. I have bought some great gear and starting to get my head around it gradually.

    Your previous workshops and courses have helped enormously so i am expecting great things from the monthly subscription, not been dissapointed thus far its bloody brilliant.



  12. Missed the live show but have since watched it back….loved it, very informative& even though i don’t have a studio just a large long kitchen diner feel that some of the lighting set ups especially under the portrait section can be tried out & tested, i have a lot of the modifiers shown & a couple of Ellincrom BRX500’s plus a couple of cheaper strobes so cant wait to get a model in to give some of them set ups a go. well done Karl & team, i look forward to the next live show on the 25th. Keep up the good work!!

    1. Thanks Colin, we have Alex Wallace guest photographer on that show, this show is one of the Talk shows where I interview guests. We are looking for members work to critique on the show so if you have an image you’d like critiqued them please email it through the contact page on the website. Ideally we are looking for commercial shots or landscapes similar to the work on the blog page about Alex. It should be a fun show as we will be reviewing industry news too. Each month our plan is to do one Talk Show and one Live Photography demonstration show. As we grow more members we may even be able to add another monthly live show. If you miss a live show they will remain in the archives for about 5 weeks.

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