In creating strong portraits of people photographers define their subjects by using light patterns….
Short Light is the most popular lighting pattern used by portrait photographers. The light falls primarily on the side of the face that is furthest from the camera’s viewpoint. It has adopted the nickname “narrow” because it narrows/thins faces.
Broad Lighting patters are used generally to widen thin faces because light falls primarily on the side of the face that is closest to the camera’s viewpoint. Broad Light is primarily a masculine light style.
The Main Light is placed on the 90° axis. There is no light that falls on the far side of the face splitting it in half, hence split. Split Light is typically used in a low key dramatic portrait setting, and is often used to conceal such as facial scars, large nose or a really broad face.
Rembrandt Light is very similar to the Short Light patter, except the Main Light is moved until a small triangular pattern appears on the cheek bone under the eye on the shadow side of the face.
The Main Light is placed directly in front of and slightly above the subject’s face casting a shadow between the nose and the upper lip in the shape of a butterfly. This is primarily a fashion style light and flattering to women. Do not use Butterfly Light for people with short hair because it illuminates and accents ears.
SHORT LOOP (Modified Butterfly)
Short Loop Light is very similar to Butterfly Light except the light is move to the illuminate the short side of the face that changes the shadow patter cast by the nose from a Butterfly to a Loop pattern.
Long Loop is almost identical to the Short Loop except the Main Light is elevated to a higher angle which elongates the shadow pattern cast by the nose to almost touch the upper lip.
RIM (Profile of Line)
Rim Light is used to create silhouettes because it is placed behind the subject and outlines the profile with a thin line of light.
The Modified Rim light is a cross between Rim and Rembrandt patters because the Main Light is slightly brought from behind the subject until it creates a small triangular patch of light under the eye on the shadow side of the face which is also closest to the camera’s vantage point.