Unit 5: 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4

This week we were introduced to different ways of lighting your subject. Here are a few of those:

Butterfly / paramount – Light straight on

This type of lighting gives you cheekbones – the shadow looks like a butterfly. It is often used for advertising cosmetics / beauty products as it gives an even light on each side of your face.


Loop – Light on one side

You will get the shadow of the nose on one side. This method is often used for headshots, eg. actors / models. There will be one side in shadow and one side in light but you can see everything about the person.

Photograph from Adorama.com

Rembrandt – One side lit, the other side dark – a diamond shape

Unites shadow from the nose with shadow from the cheekbone. One side is totally lit and the other side is dark but you can still see the eye on the dark side


Split lighting – Light from one side – half dark and half light on the face

This occurs by placing a light on one side of the subject or the other.

Photograph from Adorama.com

Photographs and further information from Adorama.com



Being the model yourself teaches you how you need to work with the model and to consider their needs.

Pay attention to detail, eg. hairs on the face, fibres, otherwise you have to spend lots of time correcting these in Photoshop. This will waste time and will not usually be perfect.

Powder will be needed to get rid of reflections and sweat. Use translucent  powder.

The softbox provides much softer light and therefore is kinder to older people. Compare photos of Helen Mirren and Lauren Bacall. The latter didn’t mind strong light.

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