Legs Up Fashion Shoot

Imitate strong sunlight in the studio.

As Karl sets up the lighting in this fashion photography class, he combines the bare-bulb key light with fill lights bouncing illumination off the ceiling and cove. The goal is to achieve vivid lighting and strong shadows to really make the image pop.

Model Suzannah wears stylish crocodile print as she poses against a pastel-coloured floor and backdrop. Karl works meticulously to ensure Suzannah holds just the right pose, with her legs extended up as she reclines with her handbag by her side.

Shooting tethered, Karl repositions the key light and makes exposure, focus and focal length adjustments to get the shot just right.

This class offers a great demonstration of how to achieve stunning sunlit fashion images without setting foot outside the studio.

In this class:

  • Lighting ideas for fashion photography
  • Imitating sunlight in the studio
  • Creating strong shadows
  • How to shoot with a bare bulb
  • Benefits of shooting tethered

Be sure to watch the follow-up post-production class, in which Karl demonstrates his step-by-step retouching and editing process: Legs Up Fashion Shoot | Post-Production.

If you enjoyed this class, you might also like Theatrical Light Fashion Shoot and Sunlit Shadows Cosmetics Shoot.


  1. Hi Karl, I’m a new member. I’ve been a fan for a while now. Your content has always been great.

    I wanted to ask if you have a tutorial for how you constructed the rolling wall?

    In particular how you constructed the base, wheel assembly and mounted the wall on to the base.

    Thanks, David

    1. Hi David, I don’t have a class on that but I can describe it as best as possible. So it is a square metal frame with feet sticking out either side for the wheels, it was welded together by my local metal work shop and they fitted the wheels from the local hardware store. I had them make the metal frame to the correct dimensions so that it matched two 4 ft by 8ft MDF sheets , giving me an 8ft x 8ft square. Inside the metal frame is screwed a wooden frame with thick peices of timber so that we can screw the MDF to that. We also screw the MDF in such a way that it hangs down lower than the frame and almost touches the floor. I just sketched it all out and gave it to the metal workshop guys but unfortunately I didn’t keep the sketch but it’s not too complicated. The only thing is I wish I’d gone for it to fit 3 x 8ftx4ft panels and then it would have been more useful for other stuff including bigger backgrounds or as a bigger reflector panel for car shoots.

      1. Thank you Karl, and Happy New Year! I used your feedback and created a version in my studio. The MDF was a little hard to come by -for some reason the thinner versions were all sold out in the Dallas, Texas area. I ended up using the Hard Board for the panels. Thanks Again!

  2. Stephan Jarvis

    Nice class, Karl. Quick question, why did you have the bare-bulb key light pointing more towards camera rather than the model/wall? I’m sure the answer is obvious but I’m a bit thick!

    1. Hi Stephan, that’s actually a very observant question. If viewed from the side the flash tube is smaller/thinner which will create a harder sharper shadow from my models legs.

      1. Stephan Jarvis

        Thanks for the explanation! Will keep that in mind the next time I get a chance to practice.

    1. Hi, this was the HCD 35-90mm zoom lens. I was using it at 75mm focal length which in full frame 35mm would be about 50mm. I was also at f16.

    1. Hi Edel, yes if you have the same type of umbrella but you will probably need to put a dome on the end of your speedlite so that the light can come out sideways and not just forwards.

  3. Another great video on being creative and other tips. If I go to rental studio, try some of your techniques.

  4. swisselle

    I love how you show us the whole workflow, share your thoughtprocess and how you got the shot in the end. Sometimes I feel like being one of your junior assistants when watching (I’m just the lazy one in the background not helping hehe), because I learn – next to set the light and pose the model – what to watch out for, how to look at scenery and how to correct something what is off, I wouldn’t noticed being off in the first place :-D.

    And yeah… having Suzannah as a model is a huge plus. A real gem, gorgeous inside and out 🙂

    Intrigued by your movable set. What material was used for the floor? looked quite bendable/lightweight and I guess it’s not the same material used for the wall.

  5. bgbphoto

    She’s got legs of steel to be able to hold that position for this long. What a great result with such a simple raw light. I also love the reflection of the necklace.

  6. I think your model Suzannah is a gem how patient she was !!!! What amazing team you have Carl.
    Look forward to the editing.

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