Falling Girl: Photographing a Model in Motion

Want to create an eye-catching and evocative image like this one?

In this fashion photography class, Karl walks you through every aspect of his process, from conceptualisation and styling to lighting and capturing the shot. He demonstrates careful control of light, thoughtful choice of outfit, and meticulous execution, with stunning results.

In this fashion photography class:

  • 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

Questions or comments? Please post them below.


  1. Hi Karl,
    Been with you for over 3 years I think, I learnt so much from you already..
    I just wish to ask you why the balloons? Do they have a symbolic meaning that you added them to the shot?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Aby, thank you for your support. Yes they do have a symbolic meaning, in this case the image was depicting the end of something, release, exhaustion or similar and the title of the image was ‘The Party is Over’ which can have numerous connotations associated with it and I felt the baloons on the floor would indicate the end of something as that’s often where they end up when things have finished.

  2. Gary Stasiuk

    Hey Karl. I love the way there is a theme running through your work of macabre moments.. of falling ladies mostly.. perhaps you need to thrown in a falling good looking business suit as counterpoint. lol.. just a thought. I regret not having a para in my arsenal to capture that crisp punch.. well.. I regret not have a large studio as well, but I am working on that. To the question: Is that wind machine rather pricey? A rental? I recently picked up a smoke machine and was surprised just how inexpensive it was.. I had always made the incorrect assumption it was something costly. I could use a fan in a pinch I suppose. Is there something about the pro wind machine that gives it any advantage of which I am just unaware?

    1. Hi Gary, thanks for your comments. This wind machine was particularly costly as far as they go and it’s a lot more powerful (and noisy) than a large fan. There are other choices though too, for example if you just want to move a little hair then a hairdryer on cold mode full blast works. A large piece of polyboard flapped by an assistant or garage/mechanic supply stores usually do these giant floor standing fans in a cage that have quite a bit of punch. The one I use is here – https://www.essentialphoto.co.uk/product/pixapro-studio-wind-machine-with-heavy-duty-floor-stand/ but this sort of thing might be good but not quite as directional – https://www.sealey.co.uk/product/5637189516/18-industrial-high-velocity-floor-fan-with-internal-oscillation

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

      1. You’ve reached legendary status for your ability to write in french. That’s an art form by itself. 😉

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