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Top 7 Photography Lighting Techniques

Last Updated 22nd September 2021

Irrespective of the genre of photography you pursue, lighting is an essential element. However, merely owning top-notch lighting equipment isn’t enough; you also need to know how to make the most of it. That’s why we’ve come up with a list of photography lighting techniques - to help you light up your studio with the perfect light effects. So, whether it’s your flash, softbox, strobe lighting, or tripod, we’ll tell you how to use them all to enhance your imagery – let’s get started.


Split Light With Reflector Fill


You can easily add drama to your portraiture frame by using a reflector. In this technique, the light will illuminate the subject’s face beautifully, such that one half is lit up and the other blends with the shadow. Thus, this instantly lights up the prominent side of the face while highlighting subtle details of the part in the shadow.


How to Achieve This Technique? 

First, position the light source at 90 degrees to the left or the right of the subject. Now, place the reflector on the opposite side of the light to reflect light onto the shadow side. The Spectrum 5-in-1 filter is an excellent pick for reflectors – it comes with silver, black, white, gold, and translucent surfaces that are compact and easily portable. Finally, when paired with the reflector, the Godox AD600Pro Professional Flash Lighting Kit from Hypop creates the perfect light set up. The kit comes with a softbox and all the accessories you would require to set it up.

Catch Lighting 

Enhance the intensity of your subject’s eyes with this lighting trick! The catch lighting technique ensures your subject and the entire frame are imbued with life, eliminating all the dullness from the backdrop. Catch lighting is perfect for modelling shots and can also be used to improve portrait shots.


How to Achieve This Technique?

A ring light is a great light source you can use to create this dazzling 'ring' effect; this can be achieved using the Spectrum Diamond Luxe III Ring Light. For a more subtle and natural round catchlight, you can opt for using the Spectrum Pro Parabolic 90cm Softbox or the Spectrum Lantern Softboxes, with your Bowens Mount lighting setup.

Rim Lighting 

This effect is slightly similar to that of catch lighting. The only difference is that in rim lighting, most of the face is covered in shadow. Only one side of the subject’s face is illuminated with a narrow rim of light. Rim lighting is excellent for capturing athletes and subjects where the emphasis is on the subject’s shape. With this lighting technique, depicting the various moods of the subjects becomes easier. You can add depth and drama to your frame with this simple yet super effective technique.


How to Achieve This Technique?

Place the light source at a 45-degree angle from the subject, right behind it. The rim light will instantly appear on the subject – if required, adjust the position of the light or the subject as needed. The Godox Wistro AD200Pro and AD300Pro are professional portable single studio flashlight photography kits from Hypop and are a great way to experiment with the rim lighting technique.

Double Backlighting

Add a dash of drama and magic to a frame with the double backlighting technique! It illuminates photos like no other technique and is sure to deliver mesmerising results. In addition, it is a great way to create a hazy look in photos.


How to Achieve This Technique?

You need to set up two lights at 45-degrees behind the subject with the help of two large softboxes. The beams should produce a W-shaped light and shadow effect, falling gently on the hair and shoulders of your subjects. For double backlighting, you require two softboxes to light up the frame. So, you can consider investing in a softbox lighting kit such as the Spectrum Pro S-Beam 150 LED Softbox Lighting Kit.

Short Lighting 

With this technique, the subject’s face is slightly turned toward the camera and more in the shadow. It is a flattering technique and can make the face of the subject appear slimmer. With short lighting, you can add power, drama, and mystery to your images.


How to Achieve This Technique?

Ask your subject to turn the side of their face away from the camera and towards the light source. The position will ensure that the shadows fall on the side of the face closest to the camera. Using the VL150 continuous lighting equipment from Godox will help you nail this technique and create impressive photographs.

Broad Lighting 

Here, the subject’s face is at an angle that ensures the most well-lit side of the face is closest to the camera. As a result, the shadow falls on the backside of the face. Again, the broad lighting technique is mainly used to make faces look fuller and more prominent.


How to Achieve This Technique?

You need to position the light source to the side of the subject and another light source directly facing the subject. The subject’s face should be away from the light. You can also consider using a modifier to soften the light for a subtle, impressive look. The essential equipment for this technique is the Volkwell 135W Single Rectangle Softbox With Boom, Godox Quick Release Softbox, and the Godox VL300 COB Light.

Rembrandt Lighting

The Rembrandt technique is a fantastic way to make 2D images appear 3D. For example, the side of the face in the shadow has a triangle of light under the eyes. Rembrandt lighting adds intrigue to your photography.


How to Achieve This Technique?

The light source should be above the subject’s head, and the subject’s head should tilt away from the light. The triangle should be no longer than the nose and no wider than the eyes. To create this magical effect, you can choose to use the Aputure C120D II Kit.

Summing Up

We’re sure these lighting techniques will help you create dramatic, mesmerising imagery. But, while these are tips for getting started, do remember that you can pick these photography inspirations and come up with even better, more effective lighting techniques!



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