Karl and Ash Talk Lighting Control

Light, and a good understanding of light, is one of the fastest and most powerful ways to improve your photography. But once you understand light, the next thing to think about is how to control it. This is exactly what Karl and Ashleigh sat down to discuss in this magazine chat show.

Starting at the very basics, the pair took a closer look at what light is and why it has such an impact on our images. Understanding how light relates to mood and emotion then allows us to deliberately invoke certain feelings in our images, but it’s up to us, as photographers to know how to do this, which is what Karl and Ashleigh then focussed on.

Together they explained (and demonstrated) how direction of light, strength of shadows, density of shadows and the size of the light can all be used very deliberately to craft different results. Karl also showed how different modifiers can be used to change things like hardness or softness of shadows while also looking at examples that compared results created by professional modifiers and more budget friendly alternatives.

This information packed show covered a number of important concepts and clearly demonstrated why lighting control is so important.

Topics will include:

  • Why light is important
  • Mood and emotion in photography
  • Lighting considerations (direction of the light, size of the light etc)
  • Types of modifiers & their effect
  • DIY modifier alternatives
  • How to identify light

Other live show replays that you may find of interest include A Guide to Lighting Emotion and The Emotion of Light.

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


    1. Hi, Ash was with us for 3 years and also worked as my first assistant and was an excellent assistant who predicted exactly what you might need very quickly. Unfortunately though she moved on to a new job in marketing at a bigger company.

  1. Hi Karl and the team. I have a question about the sun. And I am only a few mimutes into the video so appologies if it is answered in the show. But as a small point light source from our perspective, how come it gives different strength shadows throught the day and year? Is it just a case of various types of cloud cover acting as diffusers? Or is there some other physics at work? Adam

    1. Hi Adam, on a clear day at the same time of year the shadows will be identical. Of course at different times of year and depending which hemisphere you are in the sun will be higher or lower in the sky which will result in longer or shorter shadows and with different density of the shadows themselves. Slight variations in atmospheric moisture can also create a faint haze that softens shadows slightly even though the sky looks relatively clear.

  2. Hi Karl! It’s probably not so related question about this live show but since it’s latest live show, here I am. So I was wondering, if clients want finished shots as PSD(with all layers), should I give it to them? it happened to me occasionally . They said they might change something each time for different purpose and for some clients, they said their superior is so pick about retouching so we could retouch forever.

    1. Hi Jeongun, I would say it depends on the client. I work for a few big companies who have an inhouse retouching team and I know I can trust that they know what they are doing. There are other clients that I would be very reluctant to give layered PSD files too as they could mess them up.

  3. Hello, Lovely show. Both on the educational side, and yet entertaining.

    I was a bit confused about your answer to one of the viewer questions, the person who asked about having trouble controling light in the homestudio.
    I have always been told and heard that if you can only pick one background or one color for your walls to go with 18% grey, because you can make that any color you want in camera with the right light, with gels or in post. But you only spoke of Black and white.
    What is your take on 18% grey studio?

    1. Hi, thank you we enjoyed this show too. 18% grey is a pure neutral midgrey tone (often used as a background) it is on the scale between black and white (black and white also being neutral) White will of course reflect more light, black less and 18% grey somewhere in between. Therefore if you want the ultimate lighting control i.e. no bounce at all then black is the only way to do it, but working in a completely black studio can also have it’s disadvantages which is why we recommended the options in the show.

  4. great show love it thanks again , just to say system out their GODOX projector and inserts for shape light . take care thanks

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