How to light a face | Profoto (UK)
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How to light a face

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

Part 2 of 3 in the Fundamentals of Lighting series


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


About this course

David demonstrates how to avoid common pitfalls when lighting for portraits. He shows how to make the most of light modifiers and shares numerous ways to light the face. 

Hannah Couzens shows how to apply the techniques in a portrait session. 

David then applies all the lessons from the course in a real-life portrait session with singer Hanna Larsson from the duo Hanna and Andrea. You’ll see how to mix three different lights for a very creative lighting setup.

Duration: 1 h 5 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:

  • Change the environment and use it to create different styles for your portraits
  • Avoid the five most common pitfalls
  • Use the environment to impact and control contrast in shadows
  • Set the most common light patterns on a face with one, two, and three lights
  • Understand how different light modifiers impact shadow shape, contrast, and color

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:

  • 3 x lights for on- and off-camera use
  • 2 x strip box
  • 1 x soft grid
  • 1 x color gel
  • Extras: light stands, foam board, water spray bottle

Useful knowledge

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


10 September, 2022

would like more info on light settings with Profoto equipment rather than keeping it generic

11 June, 2022

I couldn't find clear straight forward information. this was exactly what I needed and the correct level of detail. the visual examples helped. thank you.

Lynda J. Chan
02 January, 2022

The layout of this course was brilliant. It was simple and straightforward, but so well illustrated (as well as delightfully witty). It took my depth of understanding concepts I was already familiar with to a whole new level. Love it!

Eric Vonheim
31 December, 2021

Solid course on lighting! Would have been nice though to reference the settings on the lighting and camera before taking the test shots. It's helpful to understand those details as well, that helped produce the shot.

Sakie Miura
18 January, 2022

I loved his silliness :b The courses are all well edited! Thanks.

23 September, 2021

Every option is only white blank photo or video

10 June, 2021

I am new to studio lighting and this was SO helpful. I have a much better understanding of how to approach light.

Roman Groesswang
13 May, 2021

A very interesting course. It shows the important knowledge of lighting in a fast and easy way.

Aaron Faircloth, Luma Photography, Oviedo FL
30 April, 2021

Absolutely nothing negative to say about this course. Not only is it incredibly packed with great information, the pace an delivery is perfect. Laced with a bit of humor and excellent instruction, this course is perfect for better understanding at essential lighting.

23 April, 2021

well explained guide

Dennis Hannon
06 June, 2021

Courses is valuable but I need better ground work. A quick drill on the equipment would have helped. Maybe this would make it a different course for those of more rudimentary levels of skill and knowledge. I have only recently even begun to think about using artificial light (but I've jumped in with both feet and am eager to learn).

17 March, 2021

More Info about how to set the flash power (basic settings etc) and a routine how to set the flash paraneter would be helpful

25 February, 2021

Love Bicho and enjoyed his course. I was hoping to get a bit more material for the price.

Hans Knikman
30 January, 2021

Cler explanation of the subjects at hand.

18 January, 2021

I lean other lighting pattern

Romain Mallet
05 January, 2021

Its very clear even for a non english speaker!

Norman Allen
19 November, 2020

This was a very informative course and everything was simple to follow.

Alia Serban
29 October, 2020

So helpful and easy to understand! Great way to learn the basics.

J Ma
27 November, 2020

should have more studio shooting examples to show

11 September, 2020


I need to express my appreciation for your efforts creating a course on the fundamentals of lighting. 💡

29 November, 2020

I imagined a much longer training for this price.. I’m a bit disappointed... I wanted some more "real" exemple and not only with this fake face on a black background over and over...

Anthony Ahunon munoz
17 September, 2020

the course are good for the color you not go that much in details and I prefere for now to get our creativity free, lets try the 3 big subject.

Suzanne O'Connell
09 July, 2020

very clear instructions from David

25 June, 2020

Great course, very well organised in how it breaks everything down into the simplest concepts.

Steven S. Heipel
09 June, 2020

Simply the finest 'seminar' I've ever attended; and beyond finest when considering it's about lighting (physics!) and online -- truly brilliant in its simplicity of presentation and truly stellar teaching skills. This put all of the fundamentals (which I've been using forever) into easy to digest and 'put into practice' segments. Oh and fun and entertaining it was as a bonus. Thanks.

Roberto Ariel Alfalla
29 May, 2020

Well Done, simple, concise and enjoyable.

Yongwoon Shin
25 May, 2020

It was wonderful course of lighting

10 May, 2020

Very funny and I learned much god thinks to takes bedder images.

30 April, 2020

perfect! thank you so much.

Lloyd Terry Jr
22 April, 2020

Great course, direct and easy to understand. Removes the mystery behind terminology and techniques.

12 May, 2020

I wish the actual shoot had been longer - it's helpful watching the photographer giving instructions to the subject as they go.

08 May, 2020

I got confused by your term 'shape the shadow'. To me that sounds like as you would move a light around a face and the shape of the nose shadow changes. It took several replays to realize what I think you meant is the edge of the shadow.

Jon Muzzarelli
25 April, 2020

Amazing Program!!

Jon Muzzarelli
25 April, 2020

Great presentation!! Great equipment and Great instruction!!

Linnéa Heinerborg
30 March, 2020

Love the course and feeling super inspired to turn theory to practice.

19 March, 2020

absolutely awesome tips

02 March, 2020

Very helpful. Clear, concise, well illustrated and demonstrated.

26 February, 2020

David has a great knowledge and great teaching skills. I appreciated it and will do more

13 February, 2020


10 February, 2020

Everything was explained perfect and with fun.

Bryan Casanova
13 February, 2020

jokes are bad

21 January, 2020

David Bicho is amazing. This takes my shooting to another level, thankyou. Perfect course.

Tino orozco
14 January, 2020

This is what I need it to get motivated, an understanding of the light and patterns and colors and options and how to apply them to an actual subject, thank you so much for the very interesting course.

Ignacio Perez
09 January, 2020

Great explanations and examples.

Robert Luijten
14 December, 2019

Very clear explanations and demo's. Entertaining presenter.

23 November, 2019

Very helpful information, if it was a bit cheaper I would buy more lessons.

18 November, 2019


19 September, 2019

Excellent, fun and informative.

yves roire
11 September, 2019

straight to the point with panache

19 September, 2019


Marie Andersson
06 September, 2019

Very easy to grasp and follow

Austin Gilbert
26 August, 2019

Most helpful and informative. I really enjoyed all of it! Thank you!

14 August, 2019

About the studio shoot.
I think better if you tell me why set up lighting for hearing concept "Cycle of life".

11 September, 2019


19 August, 2019

I submitted a previous feedback, please ignore it. The course material PDF's are indeed after each course. I didn't realize it until I submitted this optional feedback,, sorry.

19 August, 2019

I would recommend that the PDF course material/s be presented after each course when you are taken a series of 3 or 4 courses. This would be more beneficial when practicing your photo's after each course.

Tim Trautmann
10 July, 2019

I think that this course provides a concise, no non-sense approach to the topics that it covers. Can you please provide the charts as PDF documents for easy reference? I noticed in the comments that some students might have additional concerns swirling around their heads about power, and exposure settings. I feel that the course does the right thing by not adding these additional variables as they muddy the subject. But I can easily see that a novice might want to know more about that right away and become frustrated that it is not covered. Perhaps it would be good to point that out from the start so that students don't go into the course with that expectation.

Toni Telepman
30 June, 2019

It really does cut to the chase. The type of lighting is explained then taught simply with live examples. He also tells you what you should avoid. I learned a lot in a very short period of time, but I know I'll be watching it over and over to be sure to make these techniques be second nature.

22 June, 2019
19 May, 2019

next step lesson when release in profoto korea?

shinji Fujimura
19 May, 2019

I want the questions to be in Japanese
I'm answering with google translation

Fernando Gabriel Vega
29 April, 2019

I wish my photography teachers had been so clear explaining the relationship between shadows and the shape of the modifier and the contrast with the environment. I had to learn the hard way...

28 March, 2019

Good clear explanations of the principles referenced.

26 March, 2019

I learned several new things, so I got value from it

Fernando Arancibia
07 February, 2019

Excepcional y practico

Eshaan Girri
18 March, 2019

Need alot more detail about things. For the price charged I feel I should have got a lot more.

26 January, 2019

Very informative and understandable!

27 January, 2019

good videos

Matthew D. Hodges
16 January, 2019

One of, if not, the best lighting course I've seen. There's so much great information in this, wonderful.

02 January, 2019

The course is really well produced and the explaining of the concept is very thorough and precise. One suggestion, the constant inserting of the background music is really distracting, should have kept them minimum, just in the beginning and end.

24 December, 2018

Loving this course. I am learning more with each lesson. Thank you.

13 January, 2019

very good

17 February, 2019

Actually I have found some stuff really confusing and contradicting in this course. For instance, in the video he is explaining about the shadow being wider because he us using a rectangle light source, but the shadow is not wider. the feather of the shadow is wider. I was going back and forth to understand what he means and figured that his explanation was not correctly put.

David Barfield
15 December, 2018

Succinct and to the point. Lots of information that I hadn't considered before. Thank.

11 December, 2018

The course is very interesting, with information that you normally do not find in other courses/videos. I am glad I purchased it!

08 December, 2018

great simple explanation to the point. great course thank you.

jorge retamales
02 December, 2018

very good teacher and very good explanation

10 December, 2018

Very good for the fundamentals, very well explained.

Manu Bia
25 November, 2018

Nothing to add. That's exactly what I expected. Great job.

24 November, 2018

All the explanations are very clear, and very well structured. That is a fabulous curse about this topic !

Takeshi Sahashi
11 December, 2018

I need to know more about color effect of modifier/

Leif Eliasson
09 December, 2018

Think there’s to much overlapping between David and the girl in the studio

Charles Chan
25 November, 2018

04 November, 2018

A download of an PDF would be nice, because in this course you transport so much knowledge!

Slava Lee
03 December, 2018

russian subtitles please because some words i don't understand

08 November, 2018

excellent explanation of the use of grids and modifiers....finally!

Thomas Höglund
31 August, 2018

Good and practical tips on how to get a really nice result!

04 September, 2018

Hanna's comment are very good, but she uses high speed delivery - a challenge for people whose native tongue is not English

12 September, 2018

Bicho är grym. Jag var på en föreläsning med honom i Göteborg och tycker att det är bra information. Denna kurs är också bra, men jag tycker att den är i dyraste laget med tanke på hur kort den är. All info är väldigt bra info, men som sagt, det är ganska kort speltid.

Prof. Dr. Hans-Günter Lindner
10 August, 2018

This is the course I needed. It shows essential know-how of flashlight portrait photography. Didactically, it is brilliant and the task to do four yourself are really challenging. You have to see this tutorial several times and try yourself step-wise.

06 August, 2018

The material in this course contains very useful information. Not much equipment is required to produce a superb result.

27 July, 2018

This was a very good course.

23 July, 2018

Excellent course. Packed with good information and such an awesome teacher! Super fun to watch too.

18 July, 2018

I learned so much from this short video than I have ever learned form one on one classes. Good Job David!

09 August, 2018

The reason why I give a 7 is because Profoto has uploaded a lot of this course online. Of course, David and Anders have filled in some generalities with specific info and demo techniques. Like I said before most if not all of my photo friends would no doubt learn something, but most shoot with these skills in play. I like David and Anders teaching style. I just wish the course was longer and a bit more dense. thank you.

Daniel Grandolfi
20 June, 2018

This is is fantastic.
Mr. Bicho introduces a consistent method of lighting and creativity.
Even if you consider yourself an expert, this course is definitely useful.

Ricky Yunata
06 June, 2018

Great tips on lighting a face and the use of lighting modifiers.

25 June, 2018

Great overview

Valsan Melepat
04 June, 2018

Provide subtitles, would be more easy to understand for non-English speaking people.

22 June, 2018

I don't know photographer who want to follow, but if they ask I will recommend. But the course price will be a hurdle.

Gary McGillivray-Birnie
25 May, 2018

Really informative and simple

25 May, 2018

The quiz is too easy , the content of the course is great

Don Heath
11 June, 2018

good over all program with usable details.

Lars Hedberg
30 May, 2018

I like the course and it suits me well based on my knowledge of light and lighting. Wish I could sometimes turn off the music. It is very tired when you want to repeat different sections.

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.

Can't find what you're looking for? Profoto Academy FAQ

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 B1X

RFi Softbox Strip

RFi Softgrid Strip