Mastering Beauty Lighting & Fashion for Portrait Photography, with Joel Grimes

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.

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.

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Course Lessons:

Lesson 1: The Creative Process (Duration 02:37)

Mastering your tools is only part of the process. What is most important that you fulfill your vision as an artist.

Lesson 2: Choosing the Right Modifier (Duration 08:31)

Knowing the principles of lighting will help you choose the right modifier for the desired look.

Lesson 3: Beauty Dishes (Duration 04:15)

You can achieve the same look with different beauty dish sizes just by changing the distance from the subject.

Lesson 4: Umbrellas (Duration 04:05)

A large umbrella can be a great source of light for lower cost.

Lesson 5: Working with the Beauty Dish (Duration 11:08)

Joel photographs a model with three different modifiers, starting with the beauty dish in this lesson, to compare the results each one produces.

Lesson 6: Working with the 5 Foot Octa (Duration 05:49)

The light modifier comparison continues with the 5 foot Octa.

Lesson 7: Working with the 7 Foot Umbrella (Duration 05:16)

The modifier comparison wraps up with a look at the 7 foot umbrella.

Lesson 8: High Key Look (Duration 06:37)

Using a three light setup Joel demonstrates how he produces a high key look.

Lesson 9: Creating Edge Light (Duration 08:53)

Joel demonstrates a super clean beauty shot with three lights and a new model.

Lesson 10: Full Length Shot (Duration 03:56)

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.

Lesson 11: Building the Foundation for a Skin Retouch (Duration 08:26)

Joel starts by opening the photo as a smart object to maintain editing flexibility.

Lesson 12: Global Smoothing Technique (Duration 07:26)

This is a technique designed to maintain detail in the skin.

Lesson 13: Fine Tuning the Skin (Duration 08:26)

This step of the process is all about removing any flaws in the skin.

Lesson 14: Dodging and Burning (Duration 06:32)

Dodging and burning is an underrated technique, but a really important part of Joel's retouching process.

Lesson 15: Applying Final Touch (Duration 07:09)

The last step in the process is to determine the final levels of the tones on the skin.

Lesson 16: Blown Out High Key Look (Duration 08:36)

Joel demonstrates the retouching steps for achieving his signature high key look.

Lesson 17: Starting the Composite (Duration 19:16)

A composite combines a photo of a model shot in studio with an interesting background taken at a completely different location.

Lesson 18: Shadows and Shading (Duration 07:06)

Adding shadows and shading is one of the most important aspects of "selling the fake" and making the final composite more believable.

Lesson 19: Atmospheric Additions (Duration 12:47)

There are a few atmospheric effects you can add to really help pull it all together.

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…


  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. Hi! 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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!

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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!

  12. As usual, Joel Grimes is fantastic! Thanks a lot for sharing your knowledge, your work, your talent. Kelby guys really rock!!! More than 6 years following you and I've never ever been disappointed, FAB!!!

  13. 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!

  14. 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!

  15. 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!

  16. 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!

  17. 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.

  18. 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!

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