Studio Photography: Lighting and Set Creation

Working on a shoot for a client, I show you one of my lighting setups for a lifestyle shoot and how, with some creativity and a few different props, you can completely transform a set to get maximum use from it.

Often clients ask us to work on location, but the reality is we actually have far greater control when working in our own studio. For this shoot I created a number of different sets for each different lifestyle shot. I used a reversible background, various props and different lighting setups to completely change each scene. This gave me an even greater level of versatility and control than I would have had on location; all that was needed was some planning and creativity.

In the end I was able to make six different sets, including an artist’s studio, medical practice, living room and hallway, each with a different lighting setup to create completely different images.


  1. Hi Karl,

    Hope all is well. I have a bit of a strange question for you. I practice and work out of my small windowless basement studio. I mainly use battery powered strobes (Godox AD200s – no modeling lights) Lately, when I have been studying my portraits… I notice that the pupils of my subjects are large and I’m losing color in their eyes because the iris is reduced to a small ring around the eye. I turn on the room ambient lights but they are not strong enough to make any real difference. My goal is to have a bright enough light to reduce the pupils of my subjects but not effect the overall exposure of the image itself. I also don’t want to cast any strange conflicting shadows if I use a dedicated constant LED light source.

    Just looking for some advice on how you would go about solving this issue? WWKD? (What would Karl Do in this situation?)

    Apologies for the long question and I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

    Many thanks,


    1. Hi Ted, yes you really need some lights with modelling lamps or you have to have some light in the room to reduce the pupil size. There isn’t really any other way other than shining a torch at them but that would be distracting and impractical.

  2. DougHowell

    I’m glad I found your education channel. My photography has improved to the point I dreamed of, now I’m gonna surpass them. This is the first time I have seen this particular video! How did I miss it? I don’t know. But wow there’s a lot of information packed into this five-minute video.

    1. Hi Yannick, we rent them from furniture stores. They usually also have the plants and accessories as part of their showroom displays.

Leave a Comment