Soft Side-Lighting and Fill

Portrait setups don’t come much more simple and versatile than this one.

With a versatile two-light setup and using indirect light, Karl and Urs Recher demonstrate how to produce this flattering result, suitable for portraits, catalogue, fashion or dance subjects.

Using the most basic of modifiers, the pair show how to use the surrounding studio as a modifier itself. This setup is suitable for any size studio, as Karl and Urs demonstrate in this photography class. However, there are a few important considerations when it comes to lighting ratios, positions and model placement — all of which are clearly explained.

In this class:

  • Studio Lighting: How to set up multiple studio lights
  • Creative two light setup ideas for photography
  • How to photograph in a small studio
  • Photographing white clothes on a white background

Questions? Please post them in the comments section below.


  1. Another great video, thank you! You make a great team with Urs and your other guests throughout website.

    I have a question. I got a bit confused with the discussion about focal length and the distance of the model from the background. I don’t understand the relationship between them.

  2. Good class. Just in case you do not have a softbox or try something different in a small area. Many thanks for both of you and the model to share there expertise.

  3. Karl – I really like the quality of the light that you and Urs produced in this class. Do you think that the results would have been similar if instead of using reflected light off to the white walls on either side of the model you had a large soft box – say 120 x 180 on either side of the model?

    1. Hi Pete, they wouldn’t be quite as soft. Always think about the physics and what would be different so if you can get the 120x180s to be the same size as the white walls from the models perspective then that’s something (remember size of light from the subjects perspective, see lighting theory section) but the light also hits the ceilings and other walls and reflects back to the model in a way that they wouldn’t from the softboxes. This is partially to do with the inverse square law because your softboxes would have to be very close to the model compared to the walls which were much further away. Again see the ‘Lighting Theory’ section to learn more about the effects of the inverse square law.

  4. Hi Karl.
    I really found this tutorial very enlightening 🙂 You and Urs are a great team!

    Sorry if this is a dumb question, but there is some flash coming from Urs’ camera? What is the name of that little type of flash?

    Thank you.

  5. Hi, Karl found this tutorial very interesting, using white walls to emulate large softboxes and creating beautiful soft light on the model.

  6. hi guys really loving this course so far I’m learning so much about how to use light and how it affects different things in different ways

  7. I like how you show using the room around you instead of tons of expensive modifiers to get great results. Its useful for all budgets.

  8. Karl and Urs make a great team. This is another lesson that is different and produces beautiful results.

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