Live Workshop — Lighting Control (The Egg Challenge)

In this live show Karl demonstrates how, by thinking outside the box and applying an understanding of light, it’s possible to achieve great results, even when photographing simple subjects. Consisting of theoretical explanations and practical demonstrations, this information packed show covers some of the essentials of studio lighting and how these can be applied for creative effect.

Throughout this show Karl demonstrates important theoretical concepts relating to light and colour that can be used to better control studio lighting, including how the size of the light impacts the hardness or softness of the light, how to mix hard and soft light and how to create completely shadowless light. Using a variety of modifiers, Karl also demonstrates how to easily create an affordable DIY alternative for projection attachments.

He then creates two different still-life setups: the first of which demonstrates the importance of colour; and a second, more conceptual shoot, that shows how narrative, emotion and anticipation can be used to create interesting still life imagery.

In this class you will learn:

  • Creative ideas for still life photography
  • Lighting theory & how to control studio lighting
  • Colour theory & triadic colour schemes
  • Creative one light setups
  • How to mix hard and soft light
  • How to create shadowless light
  • Using narrative, emotion and anticipation for creative conceptual imagery

If you have any questions about this class, please post in the comments section below.


  1. Really2 nice, can i replicate this idea and put it in portfolio or my social media mr.taylor?

    1. Hi, we encourage our students to practise the techniques and shoots shown but we’d also encourage you to interpret them in new versions with your own ideas. If you are unable to do that and you place an image on your website that is based on one of ours then it should have a text overlay in the corner stating that the image concept and idea are from Karl Taylor Photography.

  2. Hi Karl, great video. One question, basically all my lights are profoto B1 and D2, which don t have the bare bulb. But if not using any light shape can I get the same result as if the bare bulb when bouncing the all around fill light? Thanks

    1. Hi Carmo, I’m afraid the law of physics says no. You knew the answer to this yourself because you asked the question and it of course doesn’t seem logically possible that light can come out of something sideways when it has no where to exit. So what do you do? Well you add some sort of dome to the front that your light will hit and then spread out in all directions.

  3. Excited to be part of Karl Taylor Education. I just got the membership. Time to get out of comfort zone.

  4. Another fantastic tutorial! I learned so much and can’t wait to put some of the tips into practice on my next shoot.

    1. Thank you Oksana. I hope you enjoyed the website critique and I wasn’t too hard on yours. I just felt that it focused on selling a particular service very well but that it might be slightly overwhelming at first as there were several messages to take in simultaneously. I think if you can address the balance of those messages then it will be more effective.

      1. You weren’t too harsh at all! I really appreciate and value your input. It’s not often one gets honest & constructive criticism from a professional like you. I totally see your point, after your review I realized how overwhelming and confusing it may seem to a visitor and as I learned in sales “A confused mind says no” 🙂
        I have been playing around on Squarespace platform to see if I can get the video smaller but its imbedded from vimeo, I’m sure I will find another way. And repetitive things on the bottom are actually a footer for the website that appear on every page. I am slowly making changes while keeping your suggestions in mind.
        Thank you very much!

  5. Hi Karl

    At 16:00 , when you used a scrim / barebulb to get a softer shadow, what would have happened if you brought the scrim even closer to the egg and the bare bulb just inches from the scrim? I would assume the “ball of light” would have become smaller and would’nt then this behave as a pinpoint source and cast a harder shadow?

    If this is true then scrim/barebulb behaves in opposite manner to a soft box, because the later will cast a softer shadow as you bring it closer to a subject.


    1. Hi Amit the further the scrim is in front of the light source will always make the original lightsource appear bigger and therefore softer whether it’s a sof-tbox or a bare-bulb you are still increasing the size of the light. The closer the scrim is to the light then the light size will reduce and become harder and the gradient fall of will change too. Please watch this one

          1. I knew it! I knew it 🙂
            Karl, In these days of going crazy, If you are able to have more live shows, Photos sent to you and critique them, just to keep our sanity with Photography, Would be much appreciate it. You don’t even need to have guests flying to you.

  6. Hi Karl,

    Great tutorial! Inspiring as always.
    What kind of 3 way head do you use? It looks very solid and precisely adjustable. Manfrotto I guess, but which one?

      1. Thank you for you reaction.
        Ordered one right away and using it for al couple of days now. Really awesome and super precisely.

  7. Excellent video ! Thanks Karl! So much inspiration ! From Korea!
    I’ve been learning English too. ^^ Your English pronunciation is very helpful to keep me subscribing your education. But in Live Show, English subtitles (after live of course) would be fantastic merits to us who subscribe your channel in Asia.

    1. Hi Thank you, we are working on trying to get our subtitles completed more quickly but it is quite a time consuming process.

  8. Great show, Karl. The way you leveraged big things from the simplicity of an egg was fantastic. Very good concepts in that, thank you.

  9. First, sorry about the English…
    I see a lot of use of harsh light in food Photography recently.
    My question is:
    If I wanna take 30 eggs on the same surface.
    Putting the eggs in same equal gap between each other, how do I light the whole eggs scene with harsh and make a pin sharp shadows in all of them?
    I usually use bare bulb from a distance… but it’s not pin sharp
    Thanks a lot

  10. As usual, Karl, you are an excellent instructor and a true inspiration. I have so many more ideas now. Thank you!

  11. Excellent lesson Karl! I was not expecting to learn so much about lighting with a help of an egg. I am impressed. Quick question regarding these DIY white stands/boxes. What are they made of and what size are they? It looks like they are light yet sturdy. Thank you in advance for your answer.

    Kinds Regards,

    1. Thank you for your comments Bogusz, the boxes are made from thick MDF and painted white, they are about 40cm square and 80cm tall. We get a carpenter to make them.

  12. Hi Kar!. I litterally love this course. Your explanations are always clear and rich of ideas and hints. Very helpful

  13. I have to say this is one of the most intricate tutorials on shadow you have done and answered so many questions on ‘light’ over and above any previous courses I have watched. This simple egg matter has answered and completed a complete tapestry of light!

    Many times I have lit a product and compare it to a longer exposure with ‘natural’ light, wondering what I was missing, how to recreate that ‘natural light’ feel, and the questions how and why? From lighting interiors to products the time spent watching has had huge value to my understanding. On that note your recent course on business portraits on locations – Again, creating an overall light in a basement with no light, same theory – the simple egg. Genuine, honest, valuable and massively beneficial content in all your courses worth it every time. All the best to you and thank you for sharing such knowledge with us.

  14. I enjoyed this. You keep hatching up these eggstraordinary workshops!
    I notice the lower the power on my speed lights the shorter the flash duration, up to 1/42600 max at 1/128. So this high speed capture is possible with speedlights, close enough or possibly two ganged together at 1/8 power can give 5,000/s duration. After all its the flash duration causing the freezing of movement. A bit of faffing but possible to re-create in a dim studio with a 1.5s shutter speed.

  15. Very interesting workshop about an egg,, I have shot eggs before but this has given me more inspiration to try somethings differently.. Many thanks once again Karl.
    All the best

  16. Hello Karl,

    The extension/holding arm that you are using that holds the “flexible magic arm”(1:25:14 into the video, with you sitting and Ashleigh holding the egg), I cannot not find it on the Manfrotto/Avenger website. It has extended threads on each in, so that you can screw things on like the “magic arm”. Is the extension/holding arm made by Manfrotto/Avenger or by another manufacturer? Where can I find it?



  17. Thank you Karl !! This course is really great ! I love the simplicity of your approach, beautiful light, compositions.. everything is perfect !! Beautiful work, very chic 🖤 !! 🙂

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