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Tips & Tricks

[Framed] Joel Grimes on Soft Beauty Lighting

By fotosiamo on June 20th 2012

In this week’s Framed episode of Lit Up, Joel Grimes takes us on another 3 light setup that he uses, although this time, it is for beauty lighting. Whereas he uses his signature 3-lights edgy lighting for his sports subject to create a strong, gritty look, with 3-lights beauty lighting, Joel wants to create a softer glowing look with a more porcelain-like smooth skin. The edge lights are still there, but the falloff are a lot more gradual and less prominent. He also adds a white bounce from below to fill in the shadows and soften the skin even more.

Joel also talks about the importance in experimenting with different light ratios and modifiers in order to start seeing what kind of lighting style that would suit you best. I believe that as a photographer, you want to constantly test out different lighting techniques just so you can have more ideas to pull out of your back pocket. I remember that when I started out shooting with off-camera flash last year, I had one speedlight and an umbrella, and I had no idea what I was doing. Nowadays, I can use 3-5 strobe lights with 3-5 different modifiers and I continue to try new techniques. That’s why I love Joel’s videos. I’m constantly learning.

In the video, he demonstrated with both the beauty dish with a front sock and a large octabox at different power levels, and with and without the white bounce fill card.

Here is the beauty dish with the fill bounce:

Without the fill bounce:

Key light half stop up:

Key light one stop down:


Joe is a fashion and commercial photographer based in Los Angeles, CA. He blends creativity and edge with a strong style of lighting and emotion in his photographs.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Ed Rhodes

    love the different examples

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  2. Rafael Steffen

    Great lighting tip! keep it up.

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  3. raf

    very good

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  4. Monday Musings | Photography is What I Do… « Saadia Me'Chel Photography

    […] an amazing tutorial on creating soft, beauty light in your photos. It still amazes me what you can do with […]

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