Term: Split Lighting
Description: Split lighting is a lighting technique used in photography and cinematography that involves illuminating only one half of a subject's face or body, while the other half is left in shadow. Specifically, the key light is positioned at a 90-degree angle from the camera, casting light on one side of the subject while leaving the other side in darkness.
Why Use Split Lighting
The result of split lighting is a dramatic and moody effect that emphasizes the contours of the subject and creates a strong sense of depth and dimension. The technique is often used in portrait photography to create a sense of mystery or intrigue, or in film noir or horror genres to create a sense of tension or danger.
How to Get Split Lighting
Split lighting is achieved by positioning the light source to one side of the subject and angling it at a 90-degree angle from the camera. The subject is then positioned so that only one half of their face or body is illuminated by the key light, while the other half is in shadow. Additional lights, such as fill lights or rim lights, may be used to add detail and depth to the image, but the key to split lighting is the strong contrast between light and shadow.
Overall, split lighting is a powerful and dynamic technique that can add a dramatic element to a photograph or film. It requires careful planning and attention to detail, but when done correctly, it can produce striking and memorable images.
Related Articles to Split Lighting Definition
5 Common Key Light Patterns Every Portrait Photographer Should Know
As portrait photographers, one of the most important fundamental lessons we learn involves lighting patterns. We often focus on posing…
5 Primary Light Patterns & Their Purposes | Slice of Pye Ep. 13
In this episode we’ll teach you 5 common key light patterns and give you situations and typical uses for each one.