Creative Portrait Lighting 3.0

Pick up some creative techniques for super-surreal portraits.

You don’t always require numerous lights and expensive modifiers to get creative portrait results. In this class, Karl yet again demonstrates this utilising a number of experimental portrait photography techniques.

Using just one to two lights and basic modifiers, plus a translucent surface in-between the lens and the model, Karl explores a number of perspectives and lighting effects.

From using long exposures combined with multiple flash bursts, to playing with silhouettes, shadows and reflections, Karl captures a number of surreal and atmospheric portraits.



  1. BastianLai

    Hi Karl,

    Very interesting Live indeed.

    I hope you can cope with my French-Glish as I got a question.

    Then I can get in hardware store around some transparent polycarbonate, plastic surface or acrylic but how can I make it frosted from one mentioned some window tinted material but not sure to find that around so any other solutions ?

    I mean its quite easy to find some acrylic panel but I haven’t found any with one side frosted.

    Or did you order that plastic frame frosted already ? Or are you doing it yourself? Or do you know a website where I can find that because I definitely want to give it a try.
    Or some DIY proposal.

    Thank you so much.

    Have a wonderful day & stay happy

    1. Hi, no problem my French is not as good as your english! You can buy acrylic already frosted or you can purchase it from the supplier with a frosted stick on material added to it. You need to find a ‘sign service’ company. That is a company that makes signs for buildings and businesses. They have acrylic and frostings and they can order specials. You can also buy direct from some of the big plastic supply companies, for example in the UK we often use this one:

      1. BastianLai

        Hi Karl,
        Thank you so much for your answer. Unfortunately the company you mentioned only deliver to UK.
        I am going to try to find something around.
        Btw, i easily found the acrylic panel but still not able to get a frosted sheet to stick on one side.
        Anyway, I also want to congratulate you for your online education quality, your video are really interesting , either the subject or the live quality and I want to how much I love your English language quality , your pronunciation is awesome and perfectly understandable for a non native English speaker. I worked abroad for more than 12 years and found it difficult sometimes to cop with the different English accent nationality either USA Australia etc etc so listening to your way of speaking English, with such a great pronunciation, is definitely a great value to me. Thank you so much.

  2. very cool setup

    i have 2 questions

    1. what background stativ is this?

    2. what material is the frost filter on the on side? whats he name of it?

    1. Hi Doris, I’m afraid I don’t understand what you are asking in question 1? In question 2 this is 5mm thick frosted acrylic avaialble from Sign Service companies or plastic supply companies. If you’re in the USA I believe they call Acrylic ‘Plexiglass or Makralon’.

  3. Hi Karl, just a thought … You were asked a question about mannequins and their rather unnatural surface that doesn’t correspond to natural skin. Coming in from the other direction, a cheap** option I found, is to use polystyrene. Yes, it has unnatural shapes and pits in the material’s texture, but using a few coats of paint these can be made to resemble skin quite well. Their imperfections allow different lighting positions to show or hide the texture which can be an advantage if perfect model skin is not likely to be available. Because they are cheap, painting the mannequins with different skin colours can be easily achieved to give many different options.

    The paint can be thickened very slightly to smooth further.

    You will, I’m sure know this, but others may not have thought of it.

    ** I accept polystyrene is environmentally an ‘challenging’ material, but with care they can be made to last a long time.

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