portrait photography

6 Portrait Lighting Patterns Every Photographer Should Know

ighting for portrait photography

Are you a photographer? Then, they are just six patterns of lighting for portrait photography that you need to keep in your mind.
If you are a photographer who looks for the best information about lighting for portrait photography, this article will help you to know all what you really want for capturing a perfect portrait. All what you need to do, is to read this article to the end.

see also: 13 steps to set the best portrait photography settings

6 Patterns for Lighting For Portrait Photography

first, we should mention that lighting for portrait photography is one of the main reasons for capturing a perfect portrait. To be aware of everything about lighting for portrait photography, you need to know two main things which are ( Techniques of lighting & Sources of lighting ), and you are lucky as we will explain both of them here in this article. Just wait for the rest.

Lighting For Portrait Photography

 As for the 6 patterns of lighting for portrait photography

1 – Rembrandt Lighting

It’s the first kind of lighting we will discuss today. It’s named for the dutch painter ‘Rembrandt ‘. In this technique, we use one light and a reflector or two lights. It generates a triangle under the eye of the subject in the less illuminated sided the face. This kind is preferable because it’s able to produce images which seem natural and also compelling with a minimum of equipment.

 Lighting For Portrait Photography

2 – Butterfly Lighting

It’s the second pattern of lighting for portrait photography.This technique is the same called Clamshell lighting. it consists of a single light pointed directly at subject straight on, and raised high enough to create a downward shadow on the subject. It’s named “Butterfly ‘ because it causes a little ‘ Butterfly ‘ shadow to appear directly underneath the subject’s nose. Sometimes, we use a reflector in front of the subject, underneath and outside the frame of the shot to bounce some light up into the eyes because light at such high camera angle generally causes the eyes to go very dark without it.

Lighting For Portrait Photography

3 – Split Lighting

It’s constructed with a single light source placed 90 degrees offset from the subject and a bit higher than eyes level, lighting one-half of the face, and leaving the other section in shadow.

The thing that distinguishes Split Lighting from Short or Broad lighting is the placement of the subject’s head. Split Lighting is always taken with the subject facing square to the camera, unlike Short, Broad, and Rembrandt lighting which all have the subject’s head angled in relation to the camera.

4 – Loop Lighting

This kind is commonly used lighting technique. In this technique, the light is placed to one side of the subject face and positioned so that you get a loop- shaped shadow under the subject’s nose. The shadow will point towards the corner of the mouth but doesn’t quite reach it.

Lighting For Portrait Photography

5 – Broad Lighting

This is when a subject is posed such that the light is directed at the side of the face that is closest to the camera. Broad lighting can add weight to thin face, but it does this by ‘adding’ roundness to the face, so it is not a good style of lighting to use with bigger subjects or ‘normal’ subjects with rounder faces.

Lighting For Portrait Photography

6 – Short Lighting

This is the last technique of lighting for portrait photography.It’s used when the raising of the issue is such that light is directed at the side of the face, which is farther away from the camera. Short lighting can help ‘thin’ a subject who is heavy, or who has a rounder face.

Lighting For Portrait Photography

Now, you are aware of the main 6 techniques of lighting for portrait photography. So, let’s go to the next step which is

Sources of lighting for portrait photography

We have discussed the patterns of lighting for portrait photography at the first part of this article. Now we will move to the second part which includes ‘ Sources of lighting for portrait photography ‘
There are two sources of lighting, natural one which is ‘ The Sun ‘, and artificial number of lighting sources which are

1 – Speed light: It’s a small flash with a battery which is used in portrait photography.

2 – Studio strobes: they have the same function of the speed light but they exceed the speed light in power and speed as they depend on the electricity.
3 – The umbrella: It’s used for distributing the light on a large scale, it’s used for capturing a picture of a group of people.Lighting_728x90px
4 – Softbox: It’s distributing a soft lighting which looks like the lighting of clouds behind the sun.
5 – The beauty dish: It’s for distributing the lighting as it defines the features of the face or body of the subject. Its reflection into eyes looks natural.
6 – Grid spot: It’s smaller than the beauty dish and covered with nets to define the spot of light. It’s usually used for lighting the hair from the top.
Now, I can tell you that you are ready for capturing a perfect portrait. By applying the patterns of lighting for portrait photography and using the lighting sources, you will absolutely be able to start a portrait photo session and I guarantee you success.

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