How to light a background | Profoto (CA)
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How to light a background

Course participants’ average review after course completion.
(63 Reviews)

Part 3 of 3 in the Fundamentals of Lighting series

$80.00 CAD

100% satisfaction guaranteed. We offer full refunds up to 14 days after purchase.


About this course

David creates inspiring cinematic backgrounds, using stunning studio setup and advanced lighting techniques that are easy to implement. 

In an atmospheric dawn shoot, David uses flash with a variety of lighting techniques to enhance the background in an exciting and natural way. In the final fashion scenario, David shoots in a beautifully built studio with a four-light setup. 

You’ll learn the importance of understanding the different types of shadows and how to shape them. David will show you how to control the light pattern and how it impacts contrast.

Duration: 50 min

What you get in this course

  • Online light shaping course
  • Downloadable step-by-step guide
  • Scenario based teaching from real life photographic shoots
  • Unlimited access on all devices
What you'll learn

Discover how to:

  • Understand self shadows and how to shape thrown shadows
  • Make your portraits more dramatic with enhanced backgrounds in an exciting and natural way
  • Control the light pattern and understand how it impacts contrast in shadows

What you may need

Essential information

Recommended gear

To do the exercises you need at least one light for off-camera use.

For the final hero image in this course we used:

  • 4 x lights for on- and off-camera use
  • 1 x strip box with soft grid
  • 1 x soft box with soft grid
  • Color gels


Useful knowledge

  • Lighting skill level: Suitable for all levels of knowledge
  • Camera skill level: Comfortable handling a camera in manual mode


12 September, 2022

Always a pleasure to watch the Profoto courses!

31 July, 2022

I have followed and spent money in lots of online videos and courses. But this is by far the best online-course I have ever followed. Very useful and educational how the behaviour of light and shadow is explained with the practical examples and illustrations.
Excellent course!

shiju varghese
25 January, 2022

All excellent

Lynda J. Chan
03 January, 2022

I struggled with Imposter Syndrome. While I realistically knew I had some marketable skills with photography, I lacked deeper confidence with really understanding what I was doing--and knew that played in the back of my mind every shoot. This series by David Bicho has been a watershed moment for me. What I was able to learn through it transformed the way I went into my next shoot the very next day. I saw so much differently, and was able to apply that knowledge from a place of confidence--and that made for an entirely different shoot and results. Going forward, I still know I will always be learning, but now I'm working from a whole different mindset foundation. Thank you so much, David and Profoto!

Gregory R Morton
05 May, 2021

This course is awesome the instructor is great. I have learn a lot watching the videos . This course has really help me in understanding light better.

24 April, 2021

I liked how the instructor presented the topics and then showed how to do it,I thought that was very informative

Hans Knikman
30 January, 2021

old explanation and illustration of how to use light and shadow.

Alexander Thompson
01 December, 2020

One of the most informative courses I have seen here so far...

Anthony Ahunon munoz
24 September, 2020

Its really good course starting with the base event if you know is good sometime to refresh. Light is shadow, Shadow is light, Thanks for this good experience

mike k
11 July, 2020

David is a fantastic teacher - his explanations are clear, his examples good and he is entertaining as well - I am replaying this video for probably the 20th time - there's plenty of meat in this series

Steven Heipel
27 June, 2020

David is simply a natural teacher, clearly. Combined with his deep understanding of light it makes for the best lighting courses I've ever taken. Thanks much. Looking forward to playing with what I've learned.

26 June, 2020

Best course on lighting I have ever done, really enjoyed learning principles of lighting rather than a recipe that doesn't necessarily work.

Ken Marks
10 June, 2020

Like the course, but a few more "real world" shots would help. He did it with his other course.

08 June, 2020

The explanation is easy to understand.

Yongwoon Shin
25 May, 2020

You've learned the amazing technique of lighting to create a background.

16 May, 2020

I still get confused at the term "shape the shadow" when it is really changing the shadow edge
I would have liked to see the setup in a little slower motion

31 July, 2020

Its so advanced. May be not for me

10 May, 2020

Hi, I can not find some link to upload a picture to certify. In which way can I do this ?

Yoshiya Yamazaki
10 April, 2020


Troy Wayrynen
08 February, 2020

I enjoyed the depth of information of this course.

08 February, 2020


25 January, 2020

Would be great to have a pdf to follow after the course when doing the assignments.

Cacelein cacun
14 February, 2020

Please add spanish subtitles

19 January, 2020

Very basic and no practical in depth tips and tricks how to achieve certain results with different light modifiers etc. I expected to see more of that

20 October, 2019

Hi David, I really enjoy the great Explanations.I am a Porträt Photographer who needs fast and successful Solutions.I just bought a A1X for my Sony A9. Mostly I shoot Models outside and love the available Light.With the A1X its great to enhance the Light on the Model.Now in the coming colder Month I need Solutions in my Apartment.I don't have a Studio.It would help me to know also the Camera Settings in Relation to the Flash Setups. And really a complete Menue even if it sounds dull for a nice Porträt with easy Solutions who are fast and successful.I mean Step by Step so that I can follow it even if I don't understand perfectly but that I will have a great Photo with my Profoto Gear. With that and not to much information I think i am happy. As an Example how can I produce a nice Beautyshot for a Woman in my Apartment against a white Wall. Or a cool Characterporträt for a Guy. Or how to lit my Livingroom which has 30 m2 with my A1X and my B2 to produce natural Light in the Room. All this really with the Camera Settings and the Lightshaping Tools that work immediately. I have a OCF Beautydish Silver, A2/3 Softbox, an OCF Octa, and an Umbrella Saver M. And Grids for the Softboxes. I really already learned a lot in the Courses.But for my Daily Business I would love to have these immediate Setups, were I do everything from positioning the Flash which Lightshaper Camera settings etc. I tell you why. When you are not used to the Flashes its frustrating when it doesn't work immidiatly. I don't have the Time with my Client to do Try and Error.
So I have these really great Tools from Profoto but sometimes its frustrating. This Setup in the Studio is really great to lern and to get the right Clou, but for me its not to realize. So it would be great to have these fast Solutions. All the Best Andreas von Tempelhoff.

21 August, 2019

The overall course was great. I think when focusing on the background what is the camera actually focusing in on?

02 September, 2019

very basic

Frederick Hopper
17 June, 2019

So far I really like the courses offered by Profoto. The material, and delivery is spot on!

Nils Carlberg
23 May, 2019

I really like the format of the course and the possibility to upload pictures for judgement

26 March, 2019

The video on lighting the face was excellent. This one was Ok.

Masanao Noda
31 January, 2019

I thought about only I softened light or hardening it. I am just surprised at usage of various light shown in courses. I wear it well and want to make use in work.

23 January, 2019

The course is great and clear

27 January, 2019

perfect course

13 January, 2019

good training. but the color of the light was not included...

Steven Hellon
12 January, 2019

The information was solid and useful. I especially liked how each segment was organized and explained. I learned what I did not know and enhanced what I knew. I appreciated the thoughtfulness of the lesson and the instructor's delivery.

Carl Sloss
04 January, 2019

I don't remember any light courses that talk and show the kind of example like these courses show.

25 December, 2018

I enjoyed this course and learned new techniques.

25 December, 2018

The course is very good and I like the teaching style of David. Maybe it is divided into too many chunks, which is good if you need to go back and watch something specific, but not so good when you are watching the entire course.

Manu Bia
05 December, 2018

It could be helpful to know the following point :
- The light power or mode (TTL or Manual),
- IL values between light sources
- and camera settings (Exifs)
nevertheless, that course is awesome. Mr Bicho is a really good trainer. Thank you!

Erin Rechler
30 November, 2018

Great courses in this series, the background course was a little advanced for me as a beginner, but it will be fun to go back to when I have a little more experience

09 November, 2018

This is by far the best course in the series. The explanations and results of each step are perfect.

Slava Lee
26 November, 2018

russian subtitles please ))

14 August, 2018

Very nicely presented tips on background lighting.

08 August, 2018

I really liked the course. Everything is simple and understandable. The most important thing for me is that I can listen and watch at any time, go back to previous videos and review many times.

Kitty Murray
18 August, 2018

I like the linear structure of each "how-to" and their breakdown within the larger framework... face, background, mixing lights.
The examples and lighting demos on the sphere and box passed by quickly so I had to go back and pause several times. More than one photo example per lighting concept would be great. Longer lessons that extend or that attempt to clarify the original concept would be great. TY

26 June, 2018

Great introduction and overall series

Jim Kilgo
06 June, 2018

Great content and I like how each step was broken down to show and explain the concepts. I know this will improve my photography and can't wait to apply these concepts!

Valsan Melepat
05 June, 2018

This is really must have for beginners to professionals.

27 May, 2018

In the lighting the face course , where there I a slide of 7 different lighting styles I think the short and broad lighting styles are incorrectly labelled

Ricky Yunata
06 June, 2018

I have learnt the different technique to create interesting shadows and to light a background. It’s a really great course

Meet the teacher
David Bicho
A highly experienced photographer, David has shot everything from Hollywood celebrities to high end Profoto products, as well as producing award-winning magazine covers. He’s also trained hundreds of professional photographers in advanced studio lighting and lectured thousands of semi-professional amateurs. Renowned for his witty and inspiring teaching style, David brings his knowledge and passion to Profoto Academy.
Meet the teacher

David Bicho

A highly experienced photographer, David has shot everything from Hollywood celebrities to high end Profoto products, as well as producing award-winning magazine covers. He’s also trained hundreds of professional photographers in advanced studio lighting and lectured thousands of semi-professional amateurs. Renowned for his witty and inspiring teaching style, David brings his knowledge and passion to Profoto Academy.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between a series and a course?

A series consists of two or more courses from the same photographer. If you buy a series, you will benefit from a bundled offer for the entire package. Also, when you complete a series, you’ll receive personal feedback from one of our instructors and become a Certified Light Shaper.

Do I have to own Profoto products in order to take your courses?

No. All our courses are designed to improve your photography, regardless of what equipment you’re using.

How do I access the courses I buy?

As soon as we’ve received payment, you can view or take all your courses online - simply by logging on to the Profoto Academy website. You’ll find your courses at the Profoto Academy start page.

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Profoto products in action

You don’t need to own Profoto products to learn from this series. But just in case you’re interested, here are the ones we used:

Profoto D2

Profoto B1X

RFi Softbox Strip

RFi Softgrid Strip

RFi Softbox Rectangular

RFi Softgrid Rectangular