Mastering Beauty Lighting & Fashion for Portrait Photography By Joel Grimes

2 hr 26 min
Difficulty Difficulty Difficulty

Acclaimed artist and commercial photographer Joel Grimes takes you behind the scenes in the studio and teaches you the fundamentals of his favorite lighting techniques that will enable you to take your photography to the next level. Joel stresses the importance of developing your creative process while mastering the technical aspects of your craft, because it is your creative vision that will set you apart from all the rest. After seeing how the photos are captured in studio you’ll learn the secrets to Joel’s retouching techniques for bringing out the best in a subject’s skin and seamlessly compositing a subject into a new background.

Video transcripts available with a subscription.

Mastering your tools is only part of the process. What is most important that you fulfill your vision as an artist.
Knowing the principles of lighting will help you choose the right modifier for the desired look.
You can achieve the same look with different beauty dish sizes just by changing the distance from the subject.
A large umbrella can be a great source of light for lower cost.
Joel photographs a model with three different modifiers, starting with the beauty dish in this lesson, to compare the results each one produces.
The light modifier comparison continues with the 5 foot Octa.
The modifier comparison wraps up with a look at the 7 foot umbrella.
Using a three light setup Joel demonstrates how he produces a high key look.
Joel demonstrates a super clean beauty shot with three lights and a new model.
The three light setup is slightly modified to create a full body shot that could later be cut out of the background and used in a composite.
Joel starts by opening the photo as a smart object to maintain editing flexibility.
This is a technique designed to maintain detail in the skin.
This step of the process is all about removing any flaws in the skin.
Dodging and burning is an underrated technique, but a really important part of Joel's retouching process.
The last step in the process is to determine the final levels of the tones on the skin.
Joel demonstrates the retouching steps for achieving his signature high key look.
A composite combines a photo of a model shot in studio with an interesting background taken at a completely different location.
Adding shadows and shading is one of the most important aspects of "selling the fake" and making the final composite more believable.
There are a few atmospheric effects you can add to really help pull it all together.
Profile photo of Joel Grimes

Meet your instructor

Joel Grimes


After receiving a BFA in Photography from the University of Arizona in 1984, Joel began working as a commercial advertising photographer based out of Denver, Colorado. His style of capturing portraits has earned him the attention from many of the nation's finest Advertising Agencies and Art Buyers. Due to his strong fine art background...

Joel's Courses


Join the Discussion
  1. Profile photo of davestarrett davestarrett

    This is one of the best instructors on Kelby. The tutorials run at a good pace and are all encompassing from start to finish for each image.

  2. Profile photo of jovelino jovelino

    5 stars teaching, thanks

  3. Profile photo of leopardskin2008 leopardskin2008

    It was great how this guy explained things, but I would have liked to have seen Pictured examples of situations he was talking about during his presentation – makes things a lot easier to understand! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  4. Profile photo of bluesilver bluesilver

    Great tutorial, really, really helpful on many aspects —- Yes, please post my feedback

  5. Profile photo of Adriana Calderon Adriana Calderon

    Loved it! I love how he went step by step and compared the effect of each light modifier with detail and samples. Very insightful and didactic, and answered many questions I had. His compositing techniques are easy to follow and apply. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  6. Profile photo of Michael Michael

    Also, is he using an octabox for the fill? —- Yes, please post my feedback

  7. Profile photo of Michael Michael

    Excellent course. Can anyone point me to a site that sells the umbrellas he shoots with? The 7 foot with diffusion? —- Yes, please post my feedback

  8. Profile photo of

    WOW!!!!! I Love this skin softening technique!!!!! Looks so natural! Just what I have been looking for. Thank you soo much!!! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  9. Profile photo of damircudic damircudic

    Joel, Thank you very much for this fantastic video! It’s so inspirational. I really appreciate your work and your willing to share your knowledge with us. I’ve already applied your burn and dodge technique from this video to my new beauty headshots and I must admit, skin looks much better than before. I can hardly wait to see your new video. Kelbytraining – you’re doing an amazing job. Thank you for that! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  10. Profile photo of Franklin Barbiero Franklin Barbiero

    Mr. Grimes shares his passion, skills, talent, work ethic and techniques which are second to none. He puts it all together to produce some of the most memorable results I’ve seen anywhere. After finishing the course I went immediately to his website to see more. Thanks! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  11. Profile photo of brianehanna brianehanna

    This course was really detailed and eye-opening. Awesome job Joel!! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  12. Profile photo of Glenn Johnson Glenn Johnson

    Joel, Thank You! You are Great! I am an architecture photographer and the techniques in your video have given me great ideas in what I do. I have always admired fashion photographers, after showing how you light the models makes me want to give it a try. Thanks Again! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  13. Profile photo of Tim Wallace Tim Wallace

    I don’t often get time to sit and enjoy too many of the classes on Kelby Training but I took a break from editing this afternoon to kick back with a good coffee and watch your class. Loved it mate! For me personally it’s your straight forward approach and it is so good to see a ‘photographer’ who cares about light and more than anything else understands light. For me, this is the key to everything. I really enjoyed that element to the class. Enjoyed watching your PS work and it was slightly funny to see that you have found answers to problems in a similar way to myself and your use of PS quite obviously comes through experience more than just reading books, very much as I learned, perhaps this is why we both end up at a similar place but not the same place, which of course is good. Loved the comment about spending time with shadows on comps. I do comps from time to time with automotive work and have to confess that I often have up to 10 layers to try and get the shadows just right, its reassuring to know that I am not the only one who does this… lol! I really enjoyed the class and wanted to say, thank you! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  14. Profile photo of steve57457 steve57457

    Joel, You are amazing! Love what you do and I am your new biggest fan. I love your techniques and style of photos.
    —- Yes, please post my feedback

  15. Profile photo of Olivier Pages Olivier Pages

    As usual, Joel Grimes is fantastic! Thanks a lot for sharing your knowledge, your work, your talent. Kelby Training…you guys really rock!!! More than 6 years following you and I’ve never ever been disappointed, FAB!!! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  16. Profile photo of Thomas E Dougherty Thomas E Dougherty

    Joel, thank you for a great set of courseware. I am a huge fan, and have been following you on your blog, written press, and now Kelby Training. I appreciate the simplicity in your approach, for I too am color blind, and find the methods you’ve introduced a tremendous benefits. Thanks! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  17. Profile photo of James Maddox James Maddox

    Great course as always from Joel. Love all the different ways you show how to use different modifiers. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  18. Profile photo of bbcosta bbcosta

    Can you please provide a link to the 7 foot umbrella that Joel is using. Thank you soo much. Keep the good work and the amazing courses. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  19. Profile photo of capsix capsix

    Thanks to you, Joel! Brilliantly informative!
    —- Yes, please post my feedback

  20. Profile photo of Richard Garrow Richard Garrow

    Well I completed the video, folks I would highly recommend this to anyone. I learned so much I can not believe it. THANK YOU Joel Grimes for great training video. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  21. Profile photo of Luke Luke

    This class was really good. I think Joel always explains his points very well and makes the complicated become clear. Everything tied in together really well and I look forward to the next course posted by Joel Grimes —- Yes, please post my feedback

  22. Profile photo of Richard Garrow Richard Garrow

    I am just about finished with this training Video, I would like to say thank you so much to Mr. Grimes. This will become one of my top video’s so far, I will be returning to view the video for a reference a number of times. Mr Grimes goes into a lot of detail in the way he teaches, explaining his way of creating some great photo’s, then going into the post process to show how he ends up with a beautiful image. I am supper impressed with Mr. Grimes way of teaching and I will be sure to view any further or past videos he makes. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  23. Profile photo of Kim Robert Andersen Kim Robert Andersen

    Just want to say that if you only put up courses by Joel Grimes to it would still be worth the money! Fantastic instructor and I hope he will do more compositing stuff in the future! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  24. Profile photo of kenshi2008 kenshi2008

    Great tips on how to use the equipment and names of it. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  25. Profile photo of Davey_Davey Davey_Davey

    J. Grimes editing makes me realize you get can great results with little time. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  26. Profile photo of Rliessum Rliessum

    Excellent training, enjoyed watching the whole course and learned a lot! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  27. Profile photo of trusharp trusharp

    This is an amazing course, I find that often a lot of information on many other courses will be blanketed under a lot of unnecessary information. Joel really brings a no non sense approach to his shooting and post production side. Really recommended tutorial, well done Joel! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  28. Profile photo of Joel Guindon Joel Guindon

    Excellent course. Very easy to follow. Good job and thank you Joel! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  29. Profile photo of Reynold Reynold

    One of the best courses on Kelby Training. I learned so much! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  30. Profile photo of

    I rented this course over 3 x days, needless to say I watched it all at once. What a fantastic idea, please keep the rental option available. Loved watching Joel Grimes do his stuff. I was having a problem making a decision regarding a lighting modifier and this is why I took this class. It has definitely solved my dilemma. Great class, keep up the awesome offerings. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  31. Profile photo of Andrei I Gere Andrei I Gere


    This is probably one of the best classes on KelbyTraining so far! Finally, I was able to get some real answers about different modifiers, how size affects everything with actual photo examples.

    Great job to the Kelby Team and Joel Grimes.

  32. Profile photo of finchr4mp finchr4mp

    This was a very good course, I normally do not comment but felt I had to say something. thanks for helping me to understand light modifiers. THANKS! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  33. Profile photo of John Webb John Webb

    One of the best courses that I have seen so far. Joel has a soft delivery that is pleasant to hear and an easy to understand. The course is full of information that is delivered in a common sense way that covers the whole sequence from lighting to post processing. I will be watching again soon to follow the techniques with one of my images. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  34. Profile photo of Lorrie S Lorrie S

    This was excellent – very well explained. Thank you —- Yes, please post my feedback

  35. Profile photo of David Taylor David Taylor

    The best course Joel has taught! Great job! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  36. Profile photo of Octavio Ortega Octavio Ortega

    Hi Joel!! Great course!! I love your way to teaching THANK YOU!

  37. Profile photo of WendyMayo WendyMayo

    I was so looking forward to this class, and you did not disappoint Joel! Once again, I learned enough new stuff to keep me busy for months. Just ordered a huge umbrella and I am excited to start practicing with it. Keep ‘em coming! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  38. Profile photo of BryanWHudson BryanWHudson

    Once again Joel, a fantastic course! Thank you so much for your time, effort and willingness to teach us all your gifts. Kelby Training THANK YOU for bringing yet another kick butt course to the table. Never once have I regretted my membership. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  39. Profile photo of Robin Browne Robin Browne

    Thank you Joel and Scott, once again you hit it out of the park —- Yes, please post my feedback

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