Types of Controlled Lighting

Previously we've gone through the introduction of lighting in photography and the most commonly used lighting techniques photographers use to light up their subject. Without noticing it, you are already shooting your subjects under these few lighting conditions, broad light, short light and flat light.


Today I will be sharing on types of artificial lighting I typically use in a controlled environment.

1. Key Light

To put it simply, key light means main light that is illuminating your subject. There are a few types of key lights you can use (Rembrandt, loop, butterfly and split) and I will explain each and their applications in my next blog post.

In this photo, I am using a 45 degree angle key light, which is the Rembrandt light for my subject. Rembrandt lighting is the one that I use the most. I will move it around the 45 degree angle to get the most flattering result on my subject.


2. Fill Light

The purpose of fill light is to fill in the shadows of your subject. This is done to preserve details in the shadows. Because our camera only has about 11-12 stops of dynamic range, and details may be completely lost in deep shadows.

The assistance is holding a white board as a reflector to fill in shadow on the subject's right side of the face.


3. Rim / Hair / Separation Light

Rim light is usually used to separate subject from the background. In a studio setting, sometimes photographers use rim light when their background is dark, so the head and hair of the model don't blend into the backdrop.

The brightest parabolic octabox on the far left is the rim light separating subject from the gray background.


4. Background Light

Sometimes backdrop may have patterns, and photographers will use a small flash to lighten the background.

This is the final result when a background light is used on a 50% gray background. The background light in this scenario is used to create a vignetting effect to attract eyes onto subject.


Pro tip:

Always start with 1 light, and move around that light to create the effect you want.

This photo is shot with one light, with 1 reflector.


So, have you learned something about studio lighting today? If so, do follow us on Facebook and share with your friends!

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© 2020 by Michael Boon Photography 

Kuching, Sarawak

016 883 0779