How to Photograph Legs

Give your photography skills a leg up with this enlightening tutorial.

Legs can be a tricky to photograph well, but can produce some really interesting results. In this class, recorded LIVE, Karl shows you his techniques for shooting elegant  shots of female legs.

He covers a variety of lighting setups, demonstrating how to create both contoured lighting and more mysterious, alluring spot lighting. You’ll also learn how to create pure white or gradient lighting for your background, and see what a big difference this one adjustment can make.

Using a variety of basic modifiers to light textures such as skin, tights and stockings, Karl illustrates effective setups that are affordable and easy to replicate. Even better, the techniques and concepts Karl covers here can also be applied to other types of photography.

In this class:

  • How to photograph legs
  • Lighting setups for photographing legs
  • How to create white or gradient background lighting
  • Photographing textures such as skin, tights or stockings
  • Effects of different modifiers

Questions? Please post them in the comments section below.


  1. Hello,
    Maybe pointless question but i can’t anything on web. Can i use focus 110 with godox light?


  2. Hi Karl,

    another alternative for the umbrella can be a normal cheap silver umbrella that you didn´t open completly. Some umbrellas reflect this lightdots in this case in a similar way.



  3. Crikey, Karl

    This one of the best tutorials I have ever had the pleasure of watching. So much information and so well delivered.

    If I wasn’t in Australia I would be knocking on your door for an apprenticeship!


  4. I’ve never used baby oil agian ever since I’ve been introduced to coconut oil – just like a moisturiser it leaves a nice shine before sinking in the skin.

  5. Hi Karl, I kept seeing this video but always thought it would not be as interesting as other ones on this platform However, I am very glad I watched it as there was lots of great info and the simplicity of it makes it very appealing to try. It also got me thinking that 2 sets of legs could get some interesting shapes while maintaining good symmetry. I just need to pluck up the courage to ask the Mrs if she could get one of her friends round so I can shot both their legs! 😬

    Also – I just wanted to ask if you have penciled in the review of the Godox projection in one of your live shows? I did ask about a month or so ago and you told me to pester you if I have not heard anything! Sooo this is me pestering you! 😊

    I am so keen on hearing your thoughts because I am really tempted to pull the plug and buy it. I don’t want to waste the money if its a load of rubbish and I can’t trust the reviews on youtube as they’re always paid promotions. I know you just say it as it is, and you wouldn’t guide us in the wrong direction!

    Cheers mate 🙂

  6. For what it’s worth, I would have liked to have seen what happened with the Para 133. I have one but that isn’t the only reason. Before I bought it, I searched for videos of it and other modifiers in use to help inform my purchase decision. I also have a beauty dish that I no longer use because I have the Para. If I had known at the time that the Para can do what the beauty dish does but do it better, I could have saved some money.

  7. Great video. Learned a lot. Watched with my wife. Every time we view your fashion / product videos she wants to know what boots is she wearing ? What shirt ? What purse is that lol !
    Very enjoyable entertainment.

  8. A very interesting and informative session Karl. Glad you showed the problems that can occur and also the different modifier effects.

  9. If you wanted to light the legs specifically in this way without the legs as the focal point of the image. For example a scene that includes the entire subject and potential other elements. Would you still place the “leg light” at camera position angled directly at the legs? Then add your additional lights beauty dishes, paras, snoots, soft boxes, etc to light the other elements in the frame. Or would you put the “leg light” on the same plane as the camera, off to the side parallel to the legs?

    1. Hi Phillip, it sounds like you are overthinking this a little? If the legs weren’t the focal point of the shot and it was something else like the upperbody or jacket or something then I would be dealing with the lighting primarily for that and taking the eye to that position. If I also specifically needed the legs to look similar to this and the upper body to look good then I’d probably be considering a bigger modifier that could give a similar effect such as the Para 222. Take a look at my work here on People / body / fashion and you will see that in each image the lighting is dictated based on the primary requirement of image and where I want the eye to look, or the overall mood that I’m trying to convey if that makes sense. If you have any questions please come back to me here. Cheers Karl.

  10. very good show simply lighting , with two lights love it .good one to set up at home
    your girls you asked and very nice legs well done to you all
    thanks again Frank

  11. DougHowell

    Hey Karl and team, you can buy a really nice ring flash from Paul C. Buff. It only costs like $300 or $400 bucks. I have one and it is really reliable and decently built.
    Oh, and you can get them in Europe and the U.K. now.

  12. The photo used to advertise the Legs Eleven workshop demonstrates contouring of the leg as it has the darkest lighting in the central area of the legs and a gradual lightening towards the edges. Indeed they are edged by bright lighting on the edges. This lighting style is the opposite to what is demonstrated in your live workshop. How did you light the advertising photo? Was there a main light source from the left side perhaps a para?

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