Creating a Low Key Portrait Using Rembrandt Lighting

Multi-light setups can be tricky to master, but they also offer a remarkable amount of control and creative possibilities. This helpful tutorial will walk you through one such setup with its take on a classic lighting setup, showing how each light contributes to the final image and how you can replicate it yourself.

Coming to you from Jay P. Morgan of The Slanted Lens, this helpful tutorial walks you through the setup and shooting process of a set of portraits using Rembrandt lighting as the key, followed by some adjustments and the addition of some rim lights to separate the subjects from the background. Rembrandt lighting (named after the painter, who often used it) is a popular choice and can be easily recognized by the triangle of light seen on the cheek of the shadow side of the subject's face. It remains popular as it renders rather natural-looking images with a certain elegant aesthetic to them. It's also a great technique for those dabbling in artificial lighting and off-camera flash for the first time to try, as it can be achieved with a single light and a reflector, though it's worth seeing Jay P. Morgan's more nuanced approach here. Give it a try yourself!

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3 Comments

Ansel Spear's picture

I tend to prefer its correct title - chiaroscuro. Rembrandt lighting is so dumbed down.

Ricky Perrone's picture

Awesome, Thanks Alex

jon snow's picture

Looks like JP likes rimming.. He he