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Portrait Photography: 7 Types of Lighting You Can Use

Published by Handy Work on

For many people, portrait photography is one of the most enjoyable aspects of their hobby. 

With its higher demands and demands on the subject, there are more things to consider when taking a portrait than simply using a flash to create a nice and bright image. 

Portrait photography can be an extremely effective way to take your image to the next level. In this article, we will go over 7 types of lighting that you can use for your portraits.

7 Types of Lighting That You Can Use for Your Portrait Photography

1. Backlighting

Backlighting in photography is a great way for photographers to add dramatic lighting to their photos, whether it is in a studio (for things like portrait photography) or when shooting outdoors.

Photographers use backlighting to put the main light source for a photograph behind the subject.

Backlighting in photography can be very effective if used skillfully. It can give a photograph a dramatic feeling. If we do backlighting well, photographs can have a deeper feeling and feel and have a more emotional appeal.

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2. Broad Lighting

Broad lighting is a type of lighting setup in which more light is directed to an area of a subject’s face that is toward the camera. 

Broad lighting is a lighting setup that emphasizes the areas of a subject’s face that are in direct light (or in photographs) rather than the areas that are under the light. 

It is one of the most common lighting setups used when shooting a portrait.

Because it places a shadow on the far side of a person, the lighting can be less dramatic. It can be more flattering. 

Direct lighting can make it difficult to capture a subject’s true emotion if they are not wearing flattering clothes. It can cause people to look at faces that are wider and make larger shapes visible.

Using the right personal portrait lighting.
Photo by Leighann Blackwood on Unsplash.

3. Butterfly Lighting

Butterfly lighting is a type of portrait lighting technique that is mainly used in the studio. It allows for a more intimate look by lighting the face from above. 

Its name comes from the butterfly-shaped shadow that appears under the nose.

Butterfly lighting is used to give people the appearance that they are beautiful, and it reveals the details that the person is thinking. 

It’s a lighting pattern that flatters almost everyone—it’s one of the most common lighting patterns.

A butterfly pattern is a lighting pattern that is created by placing a strong bright light coming from above and in front of the subject. 

This position is important because it makes the subject look smaller and draws attention to their features. 

Because of this, the subject’s nose and cheekbones are lit brightly, making them look slimmer and their facial features appear longer.

4. Loop Lighting

Loop lighting can give a portrait the depth and interest it needs to make it look more interesting, while still creating a nice, bright look.

Loop lighting is flattering for subjects with oval faces. It allows you to bring out the beauty on their faces.  

Loop lighting helps define and highlight a face by adding some definition to the eyes and by raising the cheekbones a little. This causes oval faces to look more like they do.

You can also add other lights to your loop lighting pattern to give it extra interest or give it some additional definition. If you’re shooting in a dark room, you can use a flash to illuminate the objects in the background.

A portrait of woman in black tube top.
Photo by Tony Pham on Unsplash.

5. Rembrandt Lighting

Rembrandt Lighting is a single lighting technique that creates dramatic effects by using only one light source. It does not involve a complicated lighting setup. It is very popular when shooting studio portraits.

Rembrandt’s lighting gives dramatic results by creating a directional triangle of light just below the eye of the subject, usually along the side of their cheeks.

The lighting techniques used in Rembrandt Lighting create a moody and dramatic effect. This type of lighting technique features a dark or black background behind the subject to place the subject on top of the shot.

6. Short Lighting

With short lighting, you focus on the areas of a person’s face that are farther away from the camera.

Because a portrait taken with short lighting is dark, it’s a good way to conceal imperfections. Short lighting allows you to easily create dramatic, low-key portraits. 

These effects are very pronounced, and the lighting creates an illusion of depth.

Because short lighting creates a lot of shadows, you will probably want to add more shadows to control the contrast. You can use a reflector, but if you have deep shadows, opt for soft lights that fill in the shadows.

Using dramatic lighting for a man's portrait.
Photo by Samridhhi Sondhi on Unsplash.

7. Split Lighting

Split lighting is a highly dramatic technique that allows you to create extremely detailed effects while highlighting different colors and textures.

Split lighting is ideal for creating Hollywood-style images and glamorous portraits. If done correctly, it can produce some fantastic results.

Split lighting can create stunning shots of people in their glamorous clothes, but it can also highlight any imperfections and imperfections that your subject may have on his/her face.

Creating The Best Portrait Photography Result

When it comes down to it, there are many types of lighting that you can use for your portraits and each one has its advantages and disadvantages when compared to each other. 

To get the best results when taking portrait photography, try using different lighting for your different subjects. 

It is also important to note that each type of lighting has its advantages and disadvantages as well, so you should make sure that you are using the type of lighting that is going to produce the best results for your particular subject.

Our website, HandyWork, provides tips and advice on how to get the best results when taking portrait photography and other handywork-related topics. Check out our website now!


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