Photo Critique: Fashion and Beauty 2

In this live show, Karl reviews fashion and beauty images submitted by members, sharing his thoughts and advice on how to take stand-out images.

This live show will provide an opportunity for members to receive feedback on their image, understand what makes an effective picture and watch as Karl demonstrates effective retouching techniques.

He demonstrates how, with simple adjustments, an image can easily be improved, and explains the thought process behind creating a striking image.

If you enjoy this critique, you may like to check out Photo Critique: Fashion and Beauty 1.

Questions? Please post them in the comments section below.


  1. I know its been a week or so since you did these but I just returned from work and was able to sit and watch. I was excited to see that my submission made it to your desk and even more excited to hear your comments. Always nice to get a thumbs up on lighting from someone you respect. I am an award winning action sports photographer and shoot a lot of lifestyle images during the course of the year. I get 3 months during the winter at home and I use them to learn. I really enjoy your explanation of lighting in studio. You have confirmed somethings I thought I knew but really taught me a ton I had no idea about. Home made scrims are next level!! Also the use of flags has done a lot for my portrait photography. Although the image i submitted was just one massive softbox. I have since shot more images using some of your techniques and I have become much more efficient with lighting set ups for a specific look. Anyhow thanks again. I can’t wait until this winter to catch up on some more of your courses.


  2. Hi Karl. Thank you for your detailed response. This certainly makes much more sense.

    So it is clear then that both beauty and fashion shots are essentially just “product” shots where a model is used solely to enhance the product so that the viewer can visualise what that particular product will look like in use and a portrait shot by contrast is personal and is only about the person.

    Once again, thanks for a great show and excellent learning experience.

  3. Karl this was another excellent critique. The critique alone is worth the monthly fee. If people only understood what you provide for what we in the states call, starbucks money. It is ridiculous the amount of material you provide for anyone wanting to explore photography.
    Your portrait section alone is the most comprehensive photography lighting tutorial foundation on the internet, period. It should be understood and mastered even for those who will use only natural light, because the principles of light, shadow, and falloff and how they come together to make the best image, remain constant in any situation.
    Add to that all the other tutorials you provide and the whole package materializes as one of the greatest gifts available to the growing photographer in modern times.

  4. First timer for me watching the live critique…albeit, a couple of days late!
    Really interesting to see others work and their styles and have feedback on each image.
    Your suggestion on my image that the background would work better if it is was grey or white was exactly the feedback I was looking for.
    I changed the background in PS and the image looks much better.
    Thanks heaps Karl.


  5. Hi Karl thanks very much for your time to do this live. We always learn from each other and from your experiences of course.
    My portrait which was the first was based on the lighting set up that you and Ers showed. 2 small boxes from left and right with a small card above the model and another bellow.
    Thanks again for everything.

  6. Hi Karl. Thanks for your super critique.

    Regarding the vignette of knees on my shot, please could you elaborate a bit more on that as I am assuming that you are looking for the face to be brighter than the jeans to draw attention to it. Although I understand the principle, I am a little confused with this particular comment as the brightness of the forehead in my shot is actually lighter than the jeans on the RGB scale but do agree that they still appear to be brighter to the naked eye nonetheless.

    I used the identical setup as Light Source #25 with a 120×180 soft box, model sitting on box and foam board on a C-stand above. In Urs’s shot her knees appear to be the same brightness as her face but her white shirt is much brighter which creates a high point of contrast.
    I also understand that a single light source with reflectors and the model so close to the soft box, as is in this case, becomes very difficult to get the balance right so your suggestion that I use vignette to reduce the brightness on the knees is a good solution but because my model has much darker hair than yours, I am afraid that applying the vignette makes her hair then appear too dark. So in my case therefore, would it perhaps be better to rather apply a graduated filter effect or brush mask brush over the knees to sort the problem out and if so, would a drop of about a 1/3 stop of brightness be sufficient?

    Secondly, you mentioned that my image (and many others that were on the list) were actually portrait shots rather than beauty shots. I understand that beauty requires some polishing of the skin but please could you explain in more detail what constitutes ” fashion and beauty” and then what the differences are between them and a portrait shot as this seems to be a common problem for many of the members including myself.

    Thank you once a gain for a very informative session. You are a very good teacher indeed and we are all privileged to be part of KTE.

    1. Hi Peter, yes just a bit of burning in on the knees or local adjustment brush so the apparent brightness looks a little less in this area. In relation to beauty and fashion, the term ‘beauty images’ usually relates to images that are promoting beauty products, such as hair, skin, cosmetics etc and these images are usually upper chest to top of head sometimes tighter, they are usually have a more polished post production aesthetic too such as these: or ‘fashion’ is usually more indicative of the clothes or the style and can sometimes be part of an editorial with a bizarre narrative – see Daria’s work as a good example, she’ll be on the live talk show soon I hope that gives a better description of what I meant. All the best Karl.

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