All photographers know that lighting has a close relationship with shadows; and in order to avoid having shadows in all the wrong places you should know about portrait photography lighting techniques. It is a known fact that the right lighting can work wonders for a portrait. So, here are some different lighting techniques you can use while taking portrait photographs.
Just as the name suggests, in this case the face of the subject is split in two, one half being in light while the other is in the shadows. This technique is usually used for dramatic images. It results in a masculine pattern so it is more commonly used in case of men than in case of women.
In portrait photographs, there should be some shadow on the cheeks and nose of the subject. In order to achieve this effect, you need to have the light source higher than the eyes of the subject, at about 35-45 degrees from your camera.
You can recognize this technique by the triangle that appears on the cheeks of the subject. To make the portrait look alive you will have to make sure that the eyes in the shadows have some catch light, otherwise it will seem ‘dead’.
Just as the name suggests, the shadow on the face of the subject has the shape of a butterfly. The shadow is supposed to be under the nose. You can achieve this by placing the light source above and behind the camera.
You can use this portrait photography lighting technique if the face of the subject is slightly turned away from center and the light sheds on the cheek closer to the camera. Usually this technique is used for ‘high key’ portraits, when the face is supposed to be wide.
This lighting method of portrait photography is the opposite of broad lighting. The subject needs to slightly turn away from the camera, but in this case the shadow casts on the cheek closer to the camera. The technique is often used for low key portraits.
You can’t just pick one of the lighting techniques and always use it; you need to adapt your technique to the requirements of the subject.