How to Use a Softbox to Create Beautiful Rim Light Portraits

There is a lot of flexibility within portraiture to create a wide array of different looks. One of the primary ways to put your own stamp on a shot is through lighting and this tutorial might be just the trick for your next shoot.

I have thought — probably for years at this point — that I will get sick of RGB and colored lighting in portraits; that it will age poorly and date my work where I use it. But, here we are, years on, and I still thoroughly enjoy it. What's most enjoyable, however, is combining it with other lighting techniques.

I use rim lighting sparingly, though a common example would be similar to how Lindsay Adler uses it in this video: for profile shots. Profile portraits are particularly difficult to execute by virtue of how few people have a strong profile. Almost none of us are lucky enough to look good perfectly side-on, including a lot of models. That said, if you find someone who does look great profile, you will want to light the shot in a way to emphasize it. I usually choose harsher, direct strobes to really draw a line around the edges of the face, but Adler's use of a softbox and color in this video has prompted me to give it a try next time!

Watch this excellent tutorial on how you can recreate a similar style to this stunning final image.

Robert K Baggs's picture

Robert K Baggs is a professional portrait and commercial photographer, educator, and consultant from England. Robert has a First-Class degree in Philosophy and a Master's by Research. In 2015 Robert's work on plagiarism in photography was published as part of several universities' photography degree syllabuses.

Log in or register to post comments
1 Comment