Male Portraiture with DIY Canvas Backdrop

Master the art of male portraiture with tips and tricks from a seasoned pro.

Are you ready to elevate your portrait photography to the next level? In this portrait photography workshop, recorded LIVE by legendary pro photographer Karl Taylor, you'll learn how to capture stunning portraits of male subjects.

From working with and posing your model to crafting the perfect lighting setup, Karl demystifies the entire process to help you overcome the most common challenges that photographers face. Learn how to choose and position the right modifiers to achieve your desired style, and optimize your camera and lighting settings for the best results.

Even better, the simple canvas backdrop used in this class is one you can easily recreate yourself. (Check out Making DIY Canvas Backdrops for tips!)

Whether you're a beginner or an experienced photographer, this workshop is designed to take your skills to new heights. With Karl's expert guidance, you'll gain the knowledge and techniques to transform your portraits into works of art that stand out from the average.

In this class:

  • Creative lighting techniques for male portraits
  • Problem-solving in studio photography
  • Using studio flash, strobe lights, and lighting modifiers
  • How to optimize camera and lighting settings for best result

If you enjoy this workshop, check out Portraits of People Wearing Glasses and Two-Light Portraiture.

Questions? Please post them in the comments section below.


  1. Hi! Karl. Thanks for your show. Right now I cannot afford Continuous Lighting which you have used liberally in your studio portrait exercises. Could you shoot with only off camera flash and get equally good results? Thanks.

      1. Thanks Karl. I realise you have a Flash inside your Softboxes in addition to the continuous light that is lighting the scene.

  2. Thanks for the great explanations. Really eye opening was the last lighting setup to see the dramatic effect it has on the face when you simply turn the modifier from horizontal to a vertical orientation.
    Cheers Markus

  3. Great class, Karl. A handy refresher – it shows how I’d forgotten a few techniques from previous shows. One thing I’ve never picked up is your focussing technique for hand held portraits: do you manual focus and then recompose if required or auto focus using one of the camera/sensor’s focus point and then recompose? When shooting wide open there’s little dof to play with so any recomposing risks losing focus. Personally, I’ve tended to drop back to f5.6 or so to improvement my hit rate, so I’m interested to know what’s the best technique for wider apertures.

    More than happy for you to answer this in the follow-up show, if that’s convenient or you feel it might be beneficial for others answered then.

    Pleased to see you back to shooting stills rather than the trendy videos/cgi 🙂

    1. Hi Barry, I was mostly using the AF in this show but it works best when the modelling lights are on full brightness. I set my focus square in the area I think I’m going to compose the eyes in the shot and then move it accordingly. I had to switch to MF a couple of times as the modelling lights were on low because I was shooting full aperture and they were having an effect on my shots. Modern focusing systems such as Sony’s can eye detect very accurately and the camera I was using here will be getting an important upgrade soon on the focusing.

      1. Many thanks for your quick reply, Karl. It’s helpful and to some extent reassuring as that’s how I’ve evolved/stumbled into shooting. I also switch to manual at times, but struggle with strain on the unused eye so I have an eye patch handy – which can have the benefit of breaking any tension:-)

        I’m still on old fashioned DSLR as … well … I too am old fashioned …

  4. David

    Great workshop! I’d like to see more similar ones. Full length dramatic lighting for fashion etc… Paolo Roversi-type lighting.

    So, I don’t have a strip box but I do have the Broncolor 150cm, 75cm, and 60x60cm soft boxes. Can I use the 60×60 for the edge light? It seems to wide… I suppose I can tape some black cloth on it to make it thinner?

    Thank you!

    1. Thank you. Yes the plan is to do another workshop with Sev in January/February that will cover full length lighting and poses. The work of Paolo Roversi is quite broad and varied with a lot of post production techniques applied to achieve those looks, if you have a particular lighting look that you are interested in please email an example image to with the subject line attn: Karl for live show and I will show you how to create it.

  5. Watched on replay & thoroughly enjoyed it, cant wait to try some of the set ups now, great as always well done Karl & the team.

  6. Hi Karl,
    I forgot to ask this: Do you use any makeup for male model shots? Like a powder to reduce shine?
    Many thanks,

    1. Hi, yes if it’s a professional shoot even for males their would be a make up artist, mostly for powder and base layers.

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