Timeless Lighting - Portrait Lighting Setup for Digital Photography

The well-known and anticipated lighting rules for portraits were popular even before photography became mainstream. You can learn to use these traditional rules for lighting to explore other innovative photography setups that can make you stand out from other photographers.


The position of the light source you choose to use is precise with the facial location of your subject. The camera’s placement will not affect the pattern, and even if you move the camera around, the face of your subject remains constant. If the subject moves and we wish to keep the same light pattern on the face of the subject, then the light must be moved relative to the face, too.

Short Lighting

When lighting is short, the camera’s position is able to see the darker part of the face as it becomes gradually lighter nearer to the light part.

This style of lighting is popular due to the slimming look it gives to most faces. Except for the case where the face of the subject is extremely long and narrow, the short lighting style is more likely to improve the appearance of the subject.

Broad Lighting

Broad illumination is the opposite of harsh lighting, in which the camera can see the bright portion of the face before it fades to shadows behind. Broad lighting accentuates the face directly in front of the viewer and generally portrays a more light and more positive personality as opposed to mysterious portrait lit in harsh lighting.

This pattern of lighting is very effective when it comes to people who have long or narrow faces or those who wish to hide flaws in their appearance. Be diminished.

Split Light

The split light is a way of dividing the subject’s face in the middle, where the bridge of the nose and the forehead vertically rest. Split light can be an extremely striking light pattern that is ideal for males. It’s one of the best patterns of lighting for highlighting facial features like wrinkles, beards, and more.

It is possible to create the split-light pattern by putting the light 90 degrees to the right side.

Light Height

The brightness of your lighting instantly affects the direction of shadows that appear on the face of your subject. As you adjust the location of your primary light features, such as cheekbones and nose size, eye socket depth, the catch light in the eyes, and so on, change dramatically.

If you place the light close to the same height as your subject’s head, the lighting gets flattered, and the shadows seem more linear (left-right/up-down). If you move the light’s angle to the inside, you will immediately notice every angle on the face getting more defined and the depth created through shadows.

Subject Placement under Available Conditions of Light

The above light placement can be used whether you’re using an external light source, like desk lighting fixtures or studio flash, or natural sunlight. The major difference between the artificial light source comparison. Natural daylight is that the latter requires you to adjust the location of the subject in relation to the fixed sun in comparison to moving the source of light about the object.

It is important to note that the majority of lighting patterns feature light levels that are around the same height as your subject since the sun rarely moves under your feet. The majority of the time, your primary light is typically higher than the subject.

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