Warm and Cold

Why choose between warm and cold light when you can make the best of both?

In this four-light setup tutorial, Karl explains how to seamlessly and effectively combine warm and cold light. Using rim lighting with a simple fill light, Karl demonstrates how to get the best effect from each individual light.

In this class:

  • Portrait photography
  • How to shoot creative portraiture using four lights
  • Colour and the emotion of light
  • Warm and cold light
  • Photographing with colored gels
  • Using reflectors for portrait photography

Questions? Please post them in the comments section below.


  1. Karl, absolutely love your courses! I am learning so much. Rather than the scrim to defuse the blue light, could you have gelled a light within a softbox?

  2. I am glad I found your company about 3 years ago. Learning a lot from your courses. Easy to understand and you learn at your own pace.

  3. Great tutorial, Karl! Really like this look. Feels more cinematic to my eye which is something I particularly like to implement in my images.

  4. I understand that by angling the rim light up will intense the light from bellow more than above and maybe slightly soften it. It was not clear why did you tilt it upwords but maybe that is the reson. However, if we leave it straight to the model, would it make much difference ?
    Maybe it is small details but I admire your knowledge in light and would love to know every variation you do in light and why did you choose it, that helps me alot in understanding the light physics more.

    1. Hi Kamal, please can you let me know at what time in this video you are referring too and I will come back to you.

        1. Hi Kamal, in the video I mentioned that I wanted to increase the lighting on the jawline (and side of the neck) so I repositioned the light so that more strength of lighting would hit that part and yes it is small changes such as this that will make a difference in softness, reflectance etc.

  5. Karl, . . . great chapter, this, but for those of us on budgets could this same arrangement be done with the Godox AD200’s or would that have just been too little power ? Aside from plain aesthetics is there a particular or technical reason for the blue gels versus red or amber ? Is there a particular reason for using an umbrella here or could a softbox or octalight served as well ?
    In a time long ago (1970’s ), and yes . . . a “land far away” . . . I went to a six-day seminar in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, with the then-leading Playboy photographer, Ken Marcus. The week was dedicated to teaching the techniques for doing the monthly centerfold photos . . . all of the lighting, set designs, an entire day on makeup alone ( ! ), the posing, facial expressions, etc . . . and the magic that they created each month is what you present here, and it is solid gold. I thank you ever so much for these updates and reinforcements.

    1. Hi Norseman, thank you for your feedback much appreciated. In answer to your questions:
      1. Yes AD200’s no problem, they are only 2 stops less powerful than an 800 light on full power so all you would need to do is put the ISO up by two stops. Often we’re not using lights on full power either.
      2. Mainly aesthetics of the warm vs cold feel on first glance of the final photo without the video most people wouldn’t consciously notice the gel colours on the model which was intentional it’s just the subtle introduction of the warm vs cold. If you’d like to see more aggressive use of gels then please see this video – https://visualeducation.com/class/colored-gels-fashion-shoot/
      3. You could make this work with a softbox but the light would be a little less ‘focused’ to the face than with this particular modifier which is better suited to ‘beauty’ shots and less expensive than say a Para 133.

  6. Hi Karl, In Video “05. Relationship of shutter speeds and apertures to flash” at the time stamp 26:23 … There is a backdrop. could you tell me which backdrop that is a drop me a link where i can find it. Same applies to the wall mounts.

  7. A beautiful look and setup. I have gels but have not used them. Love the hint of blue and also the use of a strip light to help create three dimensionality. Looking forward to trying this one.

    1. Yes Martin and it’s quite effective. If I could only choose out of the basic modifiers it would probably be my preference for fashion work.

  8. Love it. Slightly colored complimentary lighting works great for additional separation of features.

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