17. Simulating sun and shadow

This section covers a variety of single light setups, showing how you can achieve a variety of looks with the most basic of studio lighting setups.

After demonstrating how to simulate sunlight using a single point light source, Karl builds on that and demonstrates how to creatively combine shadow and light to produce a stunning result. He shows you how to easily combine shadow and light in this single light set up and shares some key tips for producing controlled shadows even in the smallest of studio spaces.

In this photography class we cover the following:

  • Creative portraiture using one studio light
  • Working in a small studio
  • Controlling light in a small studio
  • The physics of light and how that influences shadow
  • How to create a sharp shadow from a large light source

Note: This course is available with English subtitles.


      1. Hi Stephen, I would have explained that during the shooting, however this is not really a question that is important and often one that actually adds confusion. To understand why make sure you are fully up to speed with the first 15 chapters of this particular course and if there are any questions thereafter then comeback to me. Cheers Karl.

    1. Hi Doris and thick black card would work. I was using a type of card called black ‘foam board’, if you are trying to source some it is commonly used by picture framers and sign makers.

  1. Great video! Would it be possible to achieve the same contrast in her face, only using black flags (or black foam boards) isolating the model from bounce lights, instead of darkening all walls in the studio with fabric?

    1. It would work to an extent but I’d put black fabric on the foam boards as I find even black ones bounce light back in. You will still get light coming in from front though because this area won’t be shielded so a black studio would be more effective.

  2. A great lesson, indeed. I see the picture, however, with a slight rim of light running down the head, neck, right shoulder and back of the model, somehow separating the figure from the dark background. What do you think?

  3. Hi Karl,
    I noticed that you were directing the model to twist her shoulders forward. I’ve seen that a lot with fashion poses.
    Could you explain why this is?
    (Sorry, this question may not be appropriate for this lessson, I just noticed it during this lesson)

    1. Hi Kryn, more often than not there is no specific reason other than I’m looking for shapes, lines or curves that look aesthetically pleasing. There is also the element of unusualness to a pose that if controlled correctly can look interesting and arouses curiosity in the viewer. The ultimate goal of any photograph is to retain the viewers interest because without that the picture is a failure. As such myself and many photographers will utilise various techniques from subject to colour to content or whatever we can to make the image more ‘interesting’.

  4. Some beautiful photography in this tutorial. Very inspiring ideas. Great advice using a black fabric curtain system in a studio. I’m going to definitely experiment with technique.

  5. I JUST signed up for the class. very well done
    What if you don’t have a big studio, can I use 4 x 6 blackboard to block the reflection and will I get the same result?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Stanley, yes and I suggest you watch the videos on this course starting at number 1 going forwards as it will cover this concern and any other you might have. I guarantee that come the end you will no more about studio lighting than you realised possible.

  6. Karl you really got my attention
    thanks for the extra effort at making sure we understand what you are explaining

  7. Hi Karl i am today the first time on your education. I am from germany and try with my simple english to ask something. Why do you have no information about aperture and the flash, like f 8.0 or so? Thanks Reinhard

    1. Hi Reinhard, thank you for joining us. In many of the modules we do where we feel it is necessary but in cases like this one I may mention it during the video but the primary focus is on the technique and understanding light. The power of the light information would be of no use to anyone unless they used exactly the same light, exactly the same modifier and exactly the same distance and exactly the same size space and color walls. The aperture required should be a creative decision based on depth of field. I encourage you to watch the first 15 chapters of this section to really change your understanding of how this all comes together.

    1. Thank you Giuseppe. Also don’t discount starting this course at Chapter 1 as there is a lot to learn that you may think you might not need to. Most people who do this particular course say Chapter 1 opened their eyes to some new thinking.

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