Lighting 101: 5 Portrait Light Setups

October 06, 2013  •  6 Comments

Glamour photos, black and white close-ups, and astonishing portraits are excellently accomplished with the great help and gift of lighting. It is one of the key components in keeping the photo as natural or as creative as you desire.

Photography Light Set-Ups

In wedding photography, lighting is of utmost importance, especially in doing portraiture. It highlights the main emotion, expression, and can bring out the best features of the subject.

Now, there are five standard light setups that you should know whether you’re a hobbyist or full-fledged photographer. Each of these light setups can deliver different results that can either make faces look slimmer or provide texture variation on the subject

#1 - The Butterfly

Kicking off the ball is Paramount, also known as “butterfly” or “glamour” lighting. This is most often used for a more feminine kind of lighting pattern.

butterfly lighting

It achieves a nice symmetrical and butterfly-like (that’s why it’s termed butterfly lighting) shadow form just beneath the nose of the subject. For accentuating high cheekbones and fair skin, this setup would be a nice choice, though it isn’t a popular selection among male subjects as it can hollow out cheeks and eye sockets more than what is needed.

#2 - The Loop

loop lighting

The loop is a minor variation of the aforementioned lighting setup, this kind is typically used and suitable for average type, oval-shaped faces of subjects. With the right fill light setup, you can produce dramatic effects for your photos. This was commonly done for Hollywood style.

#3 - The Rembrandt

 

It is derived from the renowned Dutch painter who made use of the skylights to shed light on his subjects. You can easily determine if it’s a Rembrandt lighting or much known as 45-degree lighting by the small triangular highlight on the shadowed cheek of your subject’s face. Usually, this lighting is dramatic and most often used on male subjects. A weak fill light is matched with this setup to emphasize the shadow-side feature.

#4 - The Split

split lighting

For clients or subjects that would like to look slimmer, this lighting setup is best for you. Split lighting is the perfect slimming light that has the key light illuminating half of the subject’s face. Imagine narrowing a wide nose or face of the subject. Also, if you want to conceal skin irregularities such as blemishes and such, then you can also turn to Split lighting by using a weak fill light. A dramatic effect can also be generated by using no fill at all. This causes a highly dramatic effect on your photo.

#5 - Rim

rim light

Rim lighting or profile lighting can be employed when your subject’s head is turned at 90 degrees from the camera lens. It’s efficient in creating dramatic shots as it highlights elegant features of the subject. It has been a popular type of lighting setup in the past, but has diminished in use as of the present. However being a less-used method, it still is a great source of stylish portraits apart from the others.


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