Stunning Two-Light Beauty Set

Two lights are all you need to produce perfect portraits like these.

In this easy-to-follow portrait photography class, you’ll learn how to capture incredible beauty-style portraits images with just two studio lights, using a setup that is as simple as it is effective.

As Karl walks you through his shooting process, he first shows you how to set up the simple background light. Next, he demonstrates how to position your key light and adjust its power settings to achieve the right exposure. As the shoot unfolds, he also explains why positioning the camera, subject and lights correctly is crucial.

In this class:

  • Studio Lighting: How to set up multiple studio lights
  • Two-light setup for beauty photography
  • Background light for portrait photo
  • Basic modifiers for studio lighting
  • How to control light in a small studio
  • Portrait photography tips

If you enjoy this class, check out Enchanting Two-Light Result.

Questions? Please post them in the comments section below.


  1. Hello Karl! I have learned a lot using this platform and I still have a lot of content to see and put into practice. Watching this series of videos has encouraged me to buy my second light to put these videos into practice. Currently, I have a 300w light (Godox MS300) but I would like to ask you about what light you would recommend me to buy? Speaking in terms of power. I was thinking of buying a light identical to the one I have but maybe it would be convenient to buy a more powerful one? If so, would you recommend going for 400w? 600w? If it helps, I want to specialize in portrait and product photography.
    Likewise, if you have any advice for when I want to make the leap to more lights, I would appreciate it.
    Thank you!

    1. Hi, great to hear you are enjoying the platform. It’s always better to have more power if you can afford it because you can always reduce the power but you can’t increase it if you don’t have it, so it really comes down to your budget as more powerful lights are a little more expensive.

    1. 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.

      1. Gary Stasiuk

        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!

  2. Hi Karl,

    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?

    Many thanks/Ralph

      1. Hi Karl,

        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.


        1. David

          Hi Karl,

          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?



          1. Hi David, the tri-reflector I use is one I purchased many years ago?

  3. Hey Karl,

    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.

  4. Gary Stasiuk

    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?

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

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