enough light falling on the lower part of the face. This
effect can be improved by moving the main light farther
away from the subject and placing it correctly.
main light. These highlights give life, brilliance, and
form to a portrait, and the quality of these highlights are
controlled by the main light distance.
the subject's eye level. The light should be about a
45-degree angle to the lens axis. Observe the forehead
highlight and move the light closer to the subject; as the
light gets closer to the forehead, highlights spread out to
is a point where the forehead highlight becomes
relatively small and bright. When the light is moved
back much further from this point, the highlight spreads
and disappears. Between the point where the highlight
is brightest and where it starts to disappear lies the range
where the highlight still has character. This point is
where you get the most pleasing effect. Once you have
found the distance where the main light gives your
desired effect, the distance should remain the same
regardless of the direction you need to move the light.
This main light distance should always be considered as
the starting point of portrait lighting.
maintaining the distance determined for the forehead
highlight. Raise or lower the light until the shadow cast
by the nose is just long enough to touch the top edge of
the upper lip. This is the height the main light should
normally be no matter at what position you place it in
an arc around the subject.
photographers think the shadow cast by the visor should
not shade the eyes. The shadow from the visor should
shade the eyes, however, in a portrait, this shadow
should not be so dark that shadow detail is lost and the
eyes are hard to see. To prevent this shadow from being
too dark, raise the main light to the desired height, and
instead of aiming it down at an angle, aim it straight.
the shadow from becoming too dark
have a pretty fair idea of the direction you want the main
light to come from. To establish the direction from
which this light should come, move the main light in an
while moving the main light, its established distance and
the cheek shadow and leaves a small, triangular
highlight on the cheek. When this is done, the main light
is in position. Remember, the main light must always be
the dominant, directional, shadow pattern forming light.
and must not overpower the main light. Its purpose is to
fill in and soften the shadow areas, making them lighter,
and to provide shadow detail.
from the main light and near the camera lens axis. The
fill-in light should be less intense than the main light and
of softer quality. This light is often diffused even when
the main light is not.
shadow separates the head from the neck. The chin
shadow should be soft and unpronounced.
light set or adjusting the light-to-subject distance. The
and away from the camera. The fill light must not
toward the main light).
Basic Photography Course