Studio Lighting Techniques
Of course whilst shooting these techniques you must consider what
Aperture, Shutter Speed and I.S.O to use to gain the correct exposure. It
should look as it looks to your eye.
This is the last of the 3 technical inductions
1.Relatioship of Aperture, Shutter speed and I.S.O
3.Studio Lighting techniques
Portrait lighting techniques
Portrait lighting techniques can hugely influence the connotations of an image.
It is all dependent on what degree angle the light is positioned, the height of
the light in regards to the subject and the degree angle the light is pointed
upon the subject.
Portrait Lighting Key Words
Degree angle of light
Height of the light
Degree angle of the position of light
Rembrandt lighting is a lighting technique that is used in studio portrait
photography. It can be achieved using one light and one light and a reflector
(fill light) and is popular because it can create images with considered
lighting by using a minimum of equipment. Rembrandt lighting is
characterized by an illuminated triangle under the eye of the subject, on the
less illuminated side of the face. It is named after the Dutch painter
Rembrandt, who often used this type of lighting.
Rembrandt lighting set up
Umbrella key light
source is positioned
at a 45 degree point
in regards to the
subject and angled
at a 45 degree angle
pointing at the
Note the subject is not looking or body pointing into the camera
The single light source is sometimes counter balanced with a reflector (Fill light)
placed approximately 45 degrees offset to the shadowed side of the face. This
reduces contrast and begins to light the image softly rather than hard.
The height is around a
foot and a half above
the subjects head
Rembrandt lighting (also called 45-degree lighting) is characterized by a small, triangular
highlight on the shadowed cheek of the subject. The lighting takes its name from the famous
Dutch painter who used skylights to illuminate his subjects. This type of lighting is dramatic. It
is most often used with male subjects, and is commonly paired with a weak fill light to
accentuate the shadow-side highlight.
Allegro Haynes is a talented
violinist who plays with the Virginia
Symphony and the Harbor String
Quartet. She is frequently featured
as a solo violinist. Bill McIntosh
wanted this portrait to look as if
could be a movie set in the
eighteenth or nineteenth century.
He used a 31-inch umbrella as the
key light and a weak umbrella fill
set at about three stops less than
the key. Two small kickers from the
right and left rear of the subject lit
her hair, and a small background
light illuminated the painted
background. The lighting pattern
falls between the Rembrandt and
loop lighting patterns.
This technique takes the key light up much higher than the subject and is shooting
down onto them to cast a butterfly type shadow on their face. It is thought to
project more glamorous and complimentary connotations than other techniques. As
you can see it was often used on 1950s film stars.
Butterfly Lighting technique
The subject looks
and the body is
Into the lens, the
camera is directly
in front of them
The light is positioned directly in front of them, but obviously not in the way of the camera.
The key light is about 2/3 foot higher than the subjects head and angled at a 70/80 degree
angle, so the light beams down onto the subject.
Edge (or split) lighting is slightly more dramatic than Rembrandt and hugely
more so than Butterfly. It defines and separates one side of the face from the
other more obviously. The highlights are lighter and the low lights darker,
therefore the contrast is higher. The first two images below show the technique
can fall into the low key lighting family if the key light used is from a small
source and your studio is pitch black. Image 3 is Edge lighting used from a soft
light in a studio with natural light present.
Edge Lighting Set up
The key light is
parallel to the
subject (90 degrees)
and positioned at
the same height as
the subjects eye
Direct the subject to look the specific direction (25 degrees)
So the light source will only capture half of the face
Again you can add
fill light in the
form of a reflector.
Where you place
the reflector will
strength of the
Induction Task 3 - Your task
1)In groups of 4, capture perfectly lit and exposed (correct use of
aperture/ISO/shutter speed settings) portrait images via the:
5 FINAL IMAGES of the following:
•Rembrandt technique with and without fill
•Butterfly technique without any fill
•Edge technique with and without fill
2)Demonstrate and reflect upon your studio set up for each image via a
establishing shot and multiple stills images, if you wish, in combination with
a written element.
3)Show any technical errors via a print out image and discuss why and how
they are flawed and how you put this right.
Tip: Print your 5 perfectly lit images via a Kiosk or Photo printer, and the
error images within your reflection can be printed on college/regular