Stunning Two-Light Beauty Set
Karl demonstrates all you need to know to capture incredible beauty images with just two studio lights. The setup he demonstrates is simple but effective.
As Karl walks you through his shooting process, he starts with a simple background light before positioning his key light and adjusting its power settings. He goes on to explain why positioning the camera, subject and lights correctly is crucial.
In this portrait photography class:
- Studio Lighting: How to set up multiple studio lights
- Two-light setup for beauty photography
- Basic modifiers for studio lighting
- How to control light in a small studio
- Portrait photography tips
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Karl, I don’t have a tri reflector. What can be used instead? Thanks
Hi, A big piece of foamboard for about $15 cut and scored to allow it to crease and bend slightly and then some sheets of aluminum baking foil placed on top. You can then use it as a silver or a white at your choice. You’d just need to configure a couple of lighting stands to hold it in position.
That is a good idea .. I am having a tough time finding a decent tri-reflector locally. I actually have some material I scooped up and have been saving to make something that is better than using aluminum foil. I found a material you use in your car to reduce heat.. usually you place it silver side out, inside your window to bounce the sun and heat out. It looks just like the silver crackle liner from inside a softbox and is about 50cm x 170cm.. plus it is resilient. I wanted to find some kind of hinge to make it work, but gaffer or duct tape would work in a pinch.. although I like the idea of a stiff or clicking hinge. Plus I was looking for a good way to secure it to a light stand.. like it has a ball head. Thanks for the ideas!
I tried to copy the set up in my home studio
and encountered a problem that I hope you
might be able to resolve for me.
I positioned the backlight with a medium grid
about half a meter away from the background
and positioned the model about half a meter
in front of the backlight.
The backdrop is dark gray, muslin material.
When I take a shot of the model just to make
sure the light comes up at and around the shoulders
like it does in your video, everything works fine.
However, when I turn on the key light, which is
a rectangluar softbox, the backdrop gets a blueish
tone of colour.
Can you explain to me whay that happens and
how to correct it?
Hi Ralph, if everything is OK before you add your key light then it is of course the key light that is the problem and likely that it is not close enough to your model and because of the inverse square law it is still having a significant effect on your background. Please watch this class on inverse square law – https://visualeducation.com/class/understanding-inverse-square-law/
Many thanks for your super fast reply.
Actually the the problem arose when
I put the model in fron tof the backlight.
Without the model the backdrop was
grey with a nice gradation even with
the key light.
However, you pointed out something
which I overlooked. In trying out what
you showed in the video, I didn’t take
into account that you are using a wider
softbox than I did. So obviously it has
to come closer to the model.
I will try it out again tomorrow.
And yes I have watched your video on
the inverse square law – twice – but for
some reason I overlooked it this time.
Will get back to you.
Do you use a DIY tri-reflector? If yes is it because most products available have some kind of flaw that you are avoiding with these self made panels? If yes 🙂 how to make one to get the best possible effect?
Hi David, the tri-reflector I use is one I purchased many years ago?
I like the content but it’s quite frustrating with all of the back and forth manually adjusting the power of the lights. Why not just setup your lights on groups (group 1 = Key, group 2 = Fill, Group 3 = BG) for example and then because you are using the standard Elinchrom transmitter that you can just adjust the power to individual lights with 1 click = 1/10th stop. Or just get a Elinchrom EL-Skyport so you can see the power of your lights on your transmitter. Much more efficient. Just a thought and it will save a LOT of time in your videos so energy can be focused on instruction vs adjustments.
Karl.. I notice you almost always use a ladder to gain a 10-40 cm height over the eye line of the model. Obviously, nothing is universal, and the resulting slightly top down angle creates great results. Do you have anything more to add to this point other than it being a great angle?
Hi, I find often on beauty shots (upper body to head shots) that I’m either at models eye line or above it. For me that just works, the eyes open up a bit and it just looks a bit more fresh. However that’s not always the case. On fashion shots they are usually 3/4 to full length and I’m shooting from lower to make the model look more imposing and powerful. We have a big series of new fashion and beauty shots coming over the next 12 months or so where you will see these variations.
Are you shooting exactly even with your model’s eyes, or are you slightly above? thank you
Hi Shana, in this shoot and most head shots I shoot from slightly above. In fashion shots I often shoot from below to make the model and clothes look more empowering.