Demo: Key & Hair/Rim Light Setup


Introduction to Using Multiple Flashes


Lesson Info

Demo: Key & Hair/Rim Light Setup

The next lighting arrangement I want to do is the key light with, I think I have rim? Yeah, key light with rim light. Okay, I'll throw this down here, grab my key light. We're going to basically do the same thing with the key, no significant changes here. Key light just about like that. A lot of times I like to actually kind of put my head next to the subject's head just to get a feel for whether or not it's all aligned properly, and I'm happy with that. Also, I like hanging out with my subject, you know, being close. (laughs) Next is the rim light or the hair light. So you need to make a decision. What side do you want that rim light to hit? Now, let's say you're standing just like this, okay? So, the key light is over there, if I put the rim light on this side, the rim light is actually going to spill around her body. And it's not going to really be a rim light anymore. It's going to be more like a full body light. So maybe what I'll do is I'll have her turn this way, go ahead and ro...

tate like that. Oh, cool. Now, the key light is lighting the front of her body, and the rim light is literally just going to be this here. Let's see what that looks like. You want the rim light, or the key, the background, the hair light to basically be out of frame, but not so far away that it loses it's effectiveness. So there's a little bit of a balance here of lining it up and I may have to change it in just a second. Typically also, we have this pretty high. And I only use a six foot stand on this one I probably should've used an eight footer, but that's okay. And I shine that just about like that. Power. The key light if you recall, is at 1/16 power, typically for the rim light it needs to be equal or brighter than that key light. So I'm probably going to put this at 1/8 power. So again, that one is at sixteenth, I'm going to put this at 1/8, because you really want to separate her from the background and that's what this allows you to do by pumping a lot of energy through this. It'll provide good separation. So there we are, 1/8 power. Time to take a picture. I'm still at ISO 400, and I'm at F56, and now you get a feel for the size of the studio you need, you know we are eight, 10 feet away, and I'm backed up another ten feet, so we're about 18, 20 feet from the backdrop. Okay, one, two, three. Okay, a totally different look, huh? Just completely different. Different feel, the background has faded away, because we've moved away from that backdrop, see that rim light over her shoulder, and the hair? That's pretty cool, that's a nice look. I used an umbrella for that, so the umbrella softened it, made it look nice and gentle. See how the light wraps over her shoulder a little bit? That's what the umbrella gives you, because it's basically, the light is emanating from a low position and a high position. So, how do you feel about this photo? You want it brighter? Darker? Personally, I would go maybe a little bit lighter. Okay, she wants it a little bit brighter. A little bit happier, and I agree with you. It looks a little bit intimidating, and you don't strike me as that type of person. So how do I do that, well, I'm going to how do I make her less intimidating looking, I'm going to increase the power on this just a little bit, but also I'm going to move it so it's more in-line with the camera. And that will reduce the shadow off the side. So we will bring this up, not too much, I'll bring it up to 1/16, or it's going to end up being 1/8 minus a third, which is 1/16 plus 2/ some of you are watching like, stop it with all those fractions! But that's what you got to think through as a photographer, 1/8 minus a third is the same as 1/16 plus 2/3, that'll come with time and experience, you'll get comfortable with it. And I'm going to shoot it a little more in-line with the camera, and I put my lens right up next to it, and here we go, one, two, three. Great, and I realized I got that background umbrella in there one more time. Ah, big difference, huh? Big, big difference, so moving the light more in-line with her face, I reduced the shadow off of that side, and then increased the brightness a little bit. I've got a little reflection on the glasses, okay, fine.

Class Description

If you want complete control over the image you’re taking, you need to use multiple flashes. Mike Hagen will take what appears complex and explain how to make it achievable to help get your studio lighting to an elite level.

Mike Hagen will walk through how to build your lighting setup with two, three, four and even five flashes. If you're figuring out what lighting gear to purchase, this course will help by showing you:

  • Camera settings and sync modes to capture the best exposure
  • How to use the various trigger methods
  • The different roles each light plays in creating your image
  • How to shape the light for the most control over your final image
  • How to build your knowledge comfortably from 1-5 lighting setups

Whether you’re shooting portraits, buildings, or products - controlling all the light in your image can improve your photography from good to GREAT. Mike Hagen will teach you how to light and create every shadow and highlight by using multiple flashes in your photography.


Marty Walker

This is really a fantastic class and at an even fantastic-er price. Well worth the money, and is a great help. The instructor does a very good job explaining the methods, light shapers, and effects they create. One of my favorite videos!

Jeph DeLorme

Mike Hagen does a great job of presenting what could be a complicated process in a way that makes it easy to understand and implement. Not only does he make it easy to follow along, he presents alternative solutions that don't break the budget. I have viewed several instructors and various classes at Creative Live and this would definitely be one of my favorites. I have to say, this class would be a bargain at 10x the price!

Tim Stapenhurst

What can I say about this class? Mike is great- not only does he give a thorough break down of all the equipment one could need but he also includes wide variety of price options for those just getting started. Aside from his thorough knowledge of gear, Mike provides an excellent and easy to follow bread down of how to build up the light for your subject. His lesson plan is super easy to follow and very concise as he slowly builds up from using 2 lights to 5 lights. He also demonstrate what I think is a much needed trait in a photographer and that is being cool under pressure, dealing with issues and not getting rattled and simply going back to the basics. Creative Live Nailed it with this class