Studio Portrait Lighting.

On this day, we were given the task of taking some portraits in the studio using various lighting techniques.

We mainly focused on Rembrandt, butterfly, beauty and side lighting.


Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn was a Dutch Painter and Etcher. The ‘Rembrandt lighting technique’ was named after and influenced by him.

His portraits showed the subject not necessarily at a head on angle, with half of their face lit and the other half of the face in shadow. This half of their face was to have a small triangle of light on the subjects cheek. The triangle is often no longer than their nose and no wider than their eye. It seems to give more feeling and mystery to the portrait as well as adding definition.


This is a technique I have used in the past and loved. I feel that images using this technique seem to have an extra depth to them that draws you in.

isaac studio.jpg

To get this outcome, we used lights which we pointed down on the side of the models profile at a 45 degree angle. You can diffuse the light differently using a honeycomb filter over the light. You can also vary the amount of light on the shaded side of the face using a reflector is you want to.


Named because of the ‘butterfly’ shape formed under the nose using this technique, butterfly lighting is created by pointing a light onto the sitter, angled down from above them. You can change the strength of the shadow using a reflector to diffuse the light.

tom butterfly.jpg


This lighting technique is created using a beauty dish which attaches onto the light. Its large, circular form means that it bounces a wide cast of light at all angles onto the sitters face. Again, a reflector can be used to add different highlights and shadows to the portrait.

tiah beauty .jpg


Side lighting is created by light being shone on only one side of the face. The outcome should be one side of the face in shadow and one in light. The light source should be pointing straight on at the side of the sitters face to make this technique effective and a reflector can be used to to change the strength of lighting on either side of the face.

tom side.jpg



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