Lightning Overview of lighting for Portraiture

There is no wrong or right way to light a scene, unless of course you are going for a certain look. Then, it is important to understand basic lighting direction and light quality.

Basic lighting direction:

  • Short lighting: Occurs when the subject’s chin is angled toward the light source
  • Flat lighting: Occurs when the subject’s chin directly faces the light source
  • Broad lighting: Occurs when the subject’s chin is angled away from the light source

Basic light quality (determined in relation to the subject):

  • Soft lighting: Shadows have a soft edge
  • Hard lighting: Shadows have a sharp, defined edge
  • Diffused lighting: Light is spread out and less reflective
  • Specular lighting: Tends to reflect highlights on skin