Creative Portrait Lighting 1.0

Science, lighting and narrative come together in this illuminating workshop.

You’ll learn how to creatively control light and use simple everyday props to build impressively layered sets for portrait photography.

For a slightly more technical setup, Karl demonstrates how to incorporate a prismatic lighting effect and shows how this can be combined with carefully controlled pockets of light to create a moody and dramatic feel.

Photographing his model Brittany, Karl explains his concept for the shot and how he used items such as sheets of acrylic, offcuts of material and basic items from around the studio to create an interesting set. Working through his lighting setup, he then shares a number of tips for achieving a specific lighting look and advises on how to balance multiple lights.

In this class:

  • Portrait lighting setup ideas
  • How to create prism lighting effects
  • Techniques for creating small pockets of light
  • How to create a set for photography
  • Using flags to control light

This is the first of three creative portrait lighting live shows. You can watch the second part of this series here or take a look at our live show schedule to see the dates for the next one.

Other portrait photography classes you might enjoy include:

If you have any questions about this show, please post them in the comment section below.


  1. Gary Stasiuk

    Just to get this on the record, what are you using to get that green. It is quite a lovely emerald colour. Looking at most of the large sheet gels I have collected, most shift the colour to blues or oranges and I only have a few ranging into a lemon yellow and a lime green. I’m always hunting for inexpensive ways to accumulate gels I might use in scenarios.

  2. I hope my question is not that silly… Shooting with color gels, how do you set your camera, I don’t believe at Auto White Balance… Probably at 5500K or something else ? Thank you Karl !

    1. Hi, yes when using flash without gels the colour balance of flash is around 5500K-6000K depending on the brand. So I set my WB to flash or 5800K. Then let the gels do what you need and adjust the choice of gels and not the colour temperature of the camera.

      1. Just to say that I already made a test shoot with colour gels but I was not happy with it because my camera was at AWB ! I’m quite sure the AWB killed the effect of the gels ! The colour was washed out, that’s probably the reason ! Thank you Karl to give me that confirmation !

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