Classic Portrait Lighting

Classic portraiture positions and how to light them

In the video below photographer Jay P. Morgan looks at the classic lighting set-ups for portraiture. This is an excellent introduction to the way that different lights affect the features of the face. He spends time on these important lighting techniques…

  • Rembrant Light
  • Split Light
  • Broad Light
  • Butterfly Light
  • Loop Light

Jay uses some expensive studio lights in his video. However, it is only light! You can reproduce the basic set-up using speedlights or even static, always-on lights. You can easily practice with ordinary house lights. Directional lights are best like desk lamps. You can adjust the colours by diffusing them with panels of material or white reflectors. Don’t forget that the average house-light has some strong colour casts so you will need to adjust your colours using white balance. The other alternative is to adjust the colours afterwards in your editing software if you are shooting in RAW (the native format for files made by your camera).

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