Introduction to Flash for Beauty Images


Lesson Info

Shoot: With Giant Soft Box

So the last setting that I want to do here is softbox behind the subject. I'm gonna use this same light stand here. Pull these apart. I'm gonna drop off this softbox. I'm gonna go to the big honkin' one. And for this one, I'm actually gonna have you end up standing. So, I know I said this earlier, normally I don't like the models to move equipment around and stuff, but if you wouldn't mind, maybe you can pull the stool off to the side. That would save us a minute or two. Cool. So the purpose of this look is to make an absolutely pure, white backdrop, okay? All the light's gonna be shining from behind her, so for her to be illuminated properly, we're gonna have to reflect a lot in front of her. (chuckles) And you see what's happening? That's pretty common with heavier lighting equipment. Make sure that your grip equipment is sturdy and metallic. This is made out of metal, but it still kinda falls forward, you have to really clamp it down. Okay. You're gonna end up standing right in fron...

t of it. So go ahead and stand in front of it, and then I'm gonna position the height properly here. I clamped it down so hard, there we go. Now I'm gonna raise it up... About there. All right, how does that look, team? High enough? Cool. Yeah. 'Kay, move that way a tiny bit. That was too much of a tiny bit, there we go, back. Yep, and now I gotta throw a flash in there. And I'm gonna build this shot so I'm gonna shoot it first with no reflectors so you all can see what that's gonna look like, and then we'll throw in a reflector or two up front. And because so much light's gonna be coming from the backside, I'm probably gonna have to be using metallic reflectors rather than white reflectors. 'Kay, flash goes back there. And I'm currently at an eighth power. And there, we've got a nice metallic reflector on that stand, so I'll just pull this one over. Rotate that around. Excellent. There we go. So we'll start, oh yeah, I was gonna take one without it, and then I was gonna bring it in. So this first one is just to judge the background exposure. And what I'm doing here is a great skill set for you to learn, and that is build your set, build your lighting step by step by step so that you understand what each one is contributing to the overall scene. So, that looks good, great. This first image will be just the background light. And so now what I'm judging is whether or not that background light is bright enough. And I don't quite think it is. I think I need a little bit more oomph coming off of that background. So I'm going to increase my ISO up to, let's go up to 320. Oh, is it 200? No, I'm just increasing my ISO. Yeah, I like that. Nice job. I think that'll probably do it for the brightness of the background. Okay, do you notice what happened? This is important. Do you see, it went from fairly crisp to somewhat ethereal. There's a little bit of a haze, and that's what happens when you go from the correct brightness to it's slightly too bright. There's this fine-tuning. We can get rid of some of that haziness inside of Lightroom. What I'm talking about is haziness on her face compared to this one, which is her hair is nice and crisp and all the lines are well defined. So the lighting that I want is probably somewhere in between those two. So rather than ISO 320, I probably would go down one stop, but just for the sake of time, I'm gonna live with it. And now I'm gonna pull in the reflector. So, I'll pull in one reflector like that. 'Kay, move that way literally one inch. Yep, perfect. Hey, you, (chuckles) that was good. All right, here we go. Super. So now we can see how much light that one single reflector brought in. That was a silver reflector. Cool. Not quite enough, and so to solve that problem, I'm gonna have you actually back up a little bit, kind of back almost to the, yep, right there. Gonna bring this even closer. That's one of the things you're probably all picking up on, is how close all this stuff has to be to get the looks that we're after. Nice, and again. Cool, and while that's loading, I'm going to pull over one other reflector. And you wanna be my reflector holder again? I know, you're getting a little comfortable there. 'Kay, right like that. Okay, where do you want me to stand? Yeah, right close to you, you and I are buds. I'll stay out of the way. Okay, bring it in a little closer. Right there, nice. And I'm just shooting right through this little gap here. And the other side of this reflector is white. I should probably go silver, but eh, I'll go with white. Cool, all right, back out just a tiny bit. Great look. Okay, thank you. All right, you can grab a seat if, or yeah, you can grab a seat over there if you want. Cool. That actually turned out pretty good. So what are the good parts of it, what are the bad parts? Well the good parts, it's kind of got even lighting, we've got a little more sculpting here, see that? That's from the silver reflector. This side over here's the white reflector, so if I really wanted it much brighter over here, I'd go back to silver. The background is really white, which I like. But it's not quite bright enough on her face, and so to do that, you just really need more silver. Kinda like that old skit, more cowbell. We need more silver. (hand thumping) Sorry, it's a joke. That only I get.

When your client requests a beautiful image to mimic a fashion look, you’ll need the lighting skills to take on the challenge. Join photographer Mike Hagen as he helps you grow your flash lighting toolkit to create that glamorous look. Mike will teach:

  • How to incorporate flash in order to create the mood
  • Using light shapers
  • Various modifiers like softboxes, reflectors and umbrellas

Learning to use flash allows you to control your environment and be more experimental with the images you create. Expand your portrait business and make your client happy by mastering your flash.



  • Practical, informative, affordable instruction that’s easy to understand and leaves you excited to jump into the studio with a single flash and whatever you have on hand .. soft boxes, umbrellas, v flats or even a bunch of cheap reflectors. Mike is a superb instructor. Highly recommend.
  • Really good. Superb teacher. Bought it. Worth the money.