portrait lighting photography patterns

When you desire flatting portrait of the objects you are about to shoot, the portrait lighting photography patterns fit your desire just right. There are various patterns to choose including angle of view, facial view, lighting pattern and lighting ratio.

What is Portrait Lighting Pattern?

Basically, the lighting pattern refers to how the shadow and light play across the face in order to create varying shapes. In simple terms, it is also defined as what shape that the shadow creates on the face. In photography, there are 4 portrait lighting patterns that include the Butterfly Lighting, Rembrandt Lighting, Loop Lighting and Split Lighting. But, there are two more styles, the Short Lighting and Broad Lighting.

These are the basics that every photographer should know to be able to take beautiful photos. For beginners, the importance of lighting pattern may not be considered significant but once they see themselves how the pattern gives a lot of touch and difference to a photo, they will soon change their mind.

Split Lighting

As the name suggest, this lighting splits the face into exactly equal halves. One side is in the light and another side is in the shadow. Usually, it is used to produce dramatic images of artist or musician. It is known as more masculine pattern because it is used more often on men than on women. Learning to master this lighting is not an overnight job. It takes a lot of practice for perfection.

Loop Lighting

The loop lighting is different to split lighting. To create this pattern, small shadow of subjects’ nose should be created on their cheeks. The light source is also significant and it must be higher than the eye level. It should be about at least 30 to 45 degrees from camera. Make sure the shadow stays small and downward pointing. But avoid too high light source as it creates the odd shadows.

Rembrandt Lighting

It is named so since the famous painter known as Rembrandt often used it in his paintings. It is usually characterized with triangle of light created on the cheek. To create this pattern, there has to be light in the shadow face’s side.

Butterfly Lighting

Butterfly lighting is definitely one of the most favorite portrait lighting photography patterns. It is named so because it creates butterfly shaped shadow under the nose. To shoot this pattern, the photographer has to shoot underneath the light source.


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