02. Location soft lighting

Karl and the team are in Paris for this shoot as they use some soft studio flash in the daytime to fill in the shadows and balance out the exposure of the image a when a reflector just wouldn’t be enough. Using just a scrim and two studio lights you too can create stunning images like this.

NOTE: This photography class is available with English subtitles.


  1. Karl, just wanted to let you know that I find it helpful that you post or mention the camera settings (aperture, shutter speed, ISO).

  2. Hi Karl,
    I’m using the same setup as you for the most part – 85 or 50 mm 1.2 Canon lenses on a 1DX or 5DM3 body. Briefly….at 4:23 in the vid, you look to be about 5 meters from the model. So, my question is this: when you are shooting wide open at 2.0 or 1.8 for example, the small screen LCD on the camera to check DOF is not really a great gauge — how do you know what distance is right to keep her in focus. She could pose slightly at an angle, and then you lose her arm or leg or whatever, if you are too close and wide open on the lens. So, are you at 5 meters from the subject to frame the shot? Or are you there because any closer to the subject would start losing the DOF? Thanks in advance for any insight. Keep up the good work, un saluto dall’Italia. Matt

    1. Hi Matt, I’ll be completely honest with you: I don’t give it anywhere near that level of thought. I frame my shot, focus, shoot a few and then check. If i’m moving or model is moving too much I’ll try and be more careful or switch to a tripod. Not every shot is pin sharp so I shoot plenty. If I notice there is a real problem then I’d stop down a stop but if not I just carry on shooting. I’d say i’m more fluid with any given situation, I shoot what I want or hope to shoot and then adjust as necessary.

  3. Hi Karl- one of the things I love about your photography is the colors. Deep, saturated colors. I am having trouble achieving this especially outside. My colors are more flat in general. I am thinking about adding polarizing filters and ND filters to my kit. I do mostly lifestyle portrait photography. Do I need to watch out for anything specific in buying the filters? Some people say never to use a polarizer filter on people because it makes their skin look strange. Can you speak to that? You excel using them so any advice is appreciated. Thank you! Rocky

    1. Hi Rocky, I often use a polariser to saturate outdoors and yes it can give a ‘weird’ look on skin, but not always a bad thing. The use of Grad filters also helps tremendously on bringing colour back to the sky. I also generally shoot slightly underexposed which gives better saturation than shooting to light.

  4. Hello, love what you do Karl, I wish that you would explain the steps you use to achieve or determine the exposure for a shot such as this.

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