Forming Graduated Beauty Lighting

The main focus of this class is using scrims as lights instead of softboxes. Something you can build yourself, a scrim can be an economical alternative to a softbox. This is quite a precise lighting set-up requiring a lot of control, but it gives a lovely and more graduated wrap-around effect on your model than you would get with a softbox.


  1. Hello Karl, great videos. I would like to recreate the scrims. The paper is transparent architect’s paper? Did you string it twice per scrim (back and front) or just once?

  2. Do you mind the light spill of the wooden type floor? I used to shoot in a studio that had the same flooring and I have to admit that I got quite some spill creating a kind of contamination making the skin tones more orange.

    1. Hi, yes I much prefer my current studio white floor as it’s also easier to use as a bounce. But in saying that if you have an odd coloured floor you can cover it with white or black fabric.

  3. Karl, the lighting is exceptional. The control you demonstrate with the modification is a masterclass. Are those scrims are old school using tracing paper on both sides before Lee 216 days?

  4. Hi Karl,

    Fantastic tutorial as usual.

    Could this look be achieved by just using diffusion paper either side instead of a scrim?

    So my diffusion paper would be hanging down (either side of the model) with the bare bulb lights either side.

    I would be grateful for your thoughts and advice

    1. Hi James, almost but I need to put it horizontal so that it was bigger relative to the sunglasses which are spherical and therefore going to reflect more of the surroundings (the scrims).

  5. What are the dimensions of the scrim frames? Also, have you ever thought of including information on some of your home made tools, like this one and the stands for the poly boards in the download section? Thanks! PS, love it when you make Vicki laugh in the videos!

    1. Hi Gary, thanks. The scrim frames can be whatever you like in length, they are limited by the width of 1.5m which is the width of the roll. I generally go with about 8ft long, but I also have smaller ones too. The Polyboard stands I have made by my local metal workshop, just measure the thickness of the board and get them to make something up accordingly. Some people have used bike stands too.

  6. Hi Karl..loving all your online tutorials…instead of just showing the final image at the end it will be nice if we could see the shot immediately after you click it (untouched)… when u show the screen using video camera it doesn’t really give us a clearer idea..

    1. Hi Lal, in nearly all our videos we do this, this particular video is an older one. When you move onto the new courses such as ‘Lightsource’ you will see the screen and raw images.

    1. Hi Robert, no photoshop, the purple colour on the lenses is the reflection that you often see on camera lenses or high quality glasses. It is caused by the anti reflective multi coating that is added to lenses.

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