Hello FashionPhotographyBlog.com readers!
So.. I suppose this time around we’ll get into the long awaited Light – Part III posts. (If you haven’t read Light – Part I or Light – Part II, check them out!) Part III will cover basic lighting techniques ever photographer should know. Today we’ll cover three of the six big, basic lighting techniques.
Before we can get to the meat of it.. First, the boring technical part:
Light is metered in f/stops. F/stops in light are opposite of how you’re used to thinking of them as they relate to aperture. (This will be confusing for a minute, just bear with me.) In a camera, f/1.4 lets a lot of light in, f/22 is a relatively small aperture which doesn’t allow much light to pass. In lighting, the larger the nbumber, the brighter the output of light. A light reading f/11 is extremely bright compared to f/4. How does this make sense? Instead of thinking of them independently, think of how light meter readings and aperture work together. If a light is extremely bright, your aperture should be stopped down to avoid over exposure. While f/11 is a bright light, it’s a smaller aperture opening, making the image properly exposed.
Now on to the fun part!
The order in which these techniques are listed easily transition into each other. If you want to learn different lighting styles, give them a try! Follow the order of the list and it will be easy to move between them.
Butterfly Lighting: Butterfly lighting is commonly called “Paramount lighting.” The reason for this being that Paramount Pictures (yes, the movie company) used this as their signature lighting style when it came to shooting their leading ladies. The name “butterfly light” is derived from the shadow that falls under the nose which resembles a butterfly.
To achieve this type of lighting, place the light high and directly in front of the face. (Because the light is directly in line with the face, it works best when putting your light on a boom.) Butterfly light is typically a more feminine lighting and when used properly, it will accentuate high cheekbones. *Be cautious of subjects with hallow or deep eye sockets – when the light is placed high, if your subject has deep eye sockets there will be no light in their eyes.*
Loop Lighting: To achieve, place your key light slightly to the side of the subject so the shadow under the nose becomes a small loop. Butterfly lighting can easily be transformed into loop lighting by lowering the light and slightly moving it over. This type of light works best with average, oval-shaped faces. *The loop shadow will never merge with the shadow on a cheek. This creates a new lighting technique called “Rembrandt Lighting.”*
Rembrandt Lighting: Rembrandt lighting gets it’s name from the lighting in Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rjin’s paintings, who used skylights and high-up windows to illuminate his subjects. This became a very common light pattern in his paintings. This lighting technique is known for creating a triangle of light on the subjects cheek.
To create a small triangle of highlight on the shadowy cheek, place the key light farther to the side of the subject than it is in the loop lighting scenario. The light is going to almost be coming off a bit to the side of the subject and slightly above eye level (however, this depends on how their head is placed.) You may have to play around and move the light closer to the subject in order to get a nice, strong Rembrandt light. This is a highly flattering lighting technique that can be used on almost anyone!
Check in tomorrow for the other three basic lighting techniques – split, broad and short lighting.
Image 2-9: Alana Tyler Slutsky