Two-Light Harsh Fashion Lighting

The lighting may be harsh, but the results are easy on the eye.

Harsh lighting can be difficult to control and requires a certain discipline to produce the best results. Here, using just two lights, Karl demonstrates how to correctly use a harsh light source to best effect.

The final result is a moody, dramatic fashion image requiring precision and attention to detail. Watch as Karl guides you through the setup, explaining things to consider, possible modifications and why you shouldn’t shy away from harsh light when it comes to fashion photography.

In this class:

  • Studio Lighting: How to set up multiple studio lights
  • Two-light setup for fashion photography
  • How to achieve dramatic lighting using two studio lights
  • Grids and their effects

Questions? Please post them in the comments section below.


  1. Hi Karl, how would you modify this lighting if you wanted to put more emphasis on the necklace. Maybe that would take it to the realm of product photography more so….but looking at the photos, that is what came to my head. So asking.

    1. Hi, the lighting is always modified to suit whatever is the main subject. You will see many other classes here where different moods, objects or poses are considered the main subject and the lighting is modified to suit each of those scenarios.

  2. Awesome tips as always. Used to do a lot of Fashion Jewelry shoots for my website. I will get out my lighting next week and do a self-portrait also to update my social media.

  3. Love the hard light look. I think it helps the model has a great face structure to handle that harshness too. Great video, Karl!

  4. HI Karl, Hope you’re doing well. Amazing Video as always love how precisely you explain the details. If I may Ask what can we do if we don’t have the honeycomb grid for the hard light as in this case which is used as a main light.. Look forward to hear from you. Thanks 🙂

    1. Hi, thank you. You could use other modifiers that reduce the light size such as a snoot or a fresnel but the least expensive option are honeycomb grids.

    1. Hi, both lights have good clean flash output so overall you wouldn’t notice much difference there. My preference for bron is the faster flash durations and and the choice of modifiers.

  5. Hi Karl, I know this video is an older one now, but i do have a question in regards to your retouching the harsh hot spots on her face. The end result looked great and i know i struggle with removing this sort of issue. Can you please elaborate on what you did?
    Cheers =)

    1. Hi Levi, this isn’t an older one this is actually a fairly recent one from our course Lightsource? Maybe it looked similar to another shot we did. The retouching techniques on this are exactly the same as I use for everything and are covered in the ‘Photoshop for Photographers’ course in the Post Production section. There are also some other more advanced ones covered in that section.

  6. I really like the catch light with this set up., it’s a small point like the sun. You got some amazing shots from such a challenging set up. After bare bulb this is the most available use of studio lights as they are normally sold with reflector dishes, but it is also the most difficult to get right as everything is so precise. I’ve avoided using reflectors, except with umbrellas for family shots, because I’ve found them so difficult. But there’s a voice in my head that says “Pracrice the hard stuff.” After watching this I certainly will. Thank you again for your brilliant teaching skills, you’re the type of teacher I respond to, and these courses must be amongst the best value for money I’ve had in photography.

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