I always keep light setup very simple. Just one main source light, one fill light and one rim light sometimes. If there are other objects in the scene, I try to put one bounce light for each object. Cause all my soft shadows are generated by Ambient Occlusion/Dirtmap shaders itself, I don't need to put extra lights to cast softer shadows. I use mental ray for calculation as its really good renderer, though takes a bit more time.
Here are the final renders. Added smoke,beard and bg in Photoshop with some color corrections and post effects. Hope you enjoyed it.