Basic Portrait Lighting Guide

There are for basic portrait lighting types. Split, loop, butterfly and Rembrandt. Below is an example of my three favorite. In this tutorial we will explore all four types and hoe to achieve them. 

Equipment:

  1. DSLR Camera
  2. A diffused key light
  3. A white fill card

BGHS Student Caroline Kelley. 

BGHS Student Caroline Kelley. 

Split/Side lighting

To illuminate the shadow side of the face I used a white fill card made from foam core.

To illuminate the shadow side of the face I used a white fill card made from foam core.

split.JPG

The Split or Side lighting does exactly as the name implies. It splits the face into a light side and a shadow side. 


Loop Lighting

loop_lighting.jpg
loop.JPG

Loop lighting is made by placing the light source higher than the subjects eye and about 45 degrees from the camera creating a small shadow of the subjects noses on their cheeks. The light source in my case is behind my subject and her face is totally lit by the fill card. Read your subject's facial features and rotate their face or move the fill card to achieve the look.


Butterfly Lighting

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butterfly.JPG

Butterfly lighting is named for the butterfly shaped shadow that is created under your subjects nose.  Placing the main light source above and directly above or slightly behind the camera. The photographer is basically shooting underneath the light source to create this pattern. Fashion photographers use this style to accentuate the models cheeks and chin by placing shadows under these areas.

The photo on the left has no fill card. The photo on the right has a 3'x3' fill card placed directly in front and at 45 degrees to the face. 

Caroline Kelley and McKenna Berkley lit with a butterfly set up and a fill card. 

Caroline Kelley and McKenna Berkley lit with a butterfly set up and a fill card.