9 Types of Portrait Lighting Every Photographer Should Know

Lighting is absolutely crucial to creating a successful portrait, doing more than simply illuminating your subject, but also communicating, mood, intention, and much more. This fantastic video will show you nine different portrait lighting setups you should know.

Coming to you from John Gress, this excellent video will show you nine different portrait lighting setups. The list includes:

  • Split lighting
  • Backlit
  • Butterfly lighting
  • Clamshell
  • Loop lighting
  • Rembrandt lighting
  • Short lighting
  • Broad lighting
  • Cross lighting

Knowing these techniques is about more than simply creating effectively lit portraits. They will give you a wide arsenal of styles to draw on, allowing you to better tailor your shoots to your client's needs, their unique look and facial structure, the style you are trying to convey, and more. This will allow you to create a flattering setup no matter who your subject is and to be able to instantly render them in a way that conveys whatever the intention of the shoot is, whether it is a headshot for a business card or a more artistic portrait. Check out the video above for the full rundown.

And if you want to continue learning about how to light portraits, be sure to check out "Illuminating The Face: Lighting for Headshots and Portraits With Peter Hurley!"

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3 Comments

Alex Yakimov's picture

Good and concise tutorial. Great pick, Alex. Rim lighting with 10pm and “lil’ bit to the left“ bit is a bit confusing though...

Haha - just a little to the left! YES! YES! Give it to me! I picture Austin Powers!

Great post - adding to my cheat sheet!