How to Create Cinematic Portraits Using Three Lights

Creating cinematic images is usually associated with using a single light setup, but you can also use three lights to pop your subject and add more depth.

In this nine-minute video, photographer Ernesto Sue aims to capture a cinematic-looking image by creating high contrast between his talent and the background while retaining the overall darkness in his image. To do so, he uses three lights, color gels, and a reflector. As the main light source, Sue uses Godox AD600 and he places two sets of Godox AD200s in the background. He demonstrates the whole process from inspiration to execution. 

Using a subtle main light makes the lights positioned in the back pop more, and to increase the effect of the rim lights, Sue uses two different color gels, which complement each other. By changing the positions of the lights in the back, he achieves different results within the same theme.

If you want to learn more about cinematic portrait techniques, don’t forget to check Dylan Patrick’s "The Cinematic Headshot" tutorial.

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6 Comments

user-156929's picture

Very informative and I love the results!

Motti Bembaron's picture

Great results. Nicely done.

Mr Hogwallop's picture

What is the difference between "cinematic" and "theatrical" lighting?

Luke Oberlan's picture

"Cinematic" is a popular word these days ;-)

Burak Erzincanli's picture

if it's teal and orange then it is definitely cinematic :D

prabu karan's picture

Very usefull