The 4 Simple Lighting Techniques For Headshots

Sometimes it can seem really stressful to try and get a few headshots when you are updating your social media and networking profiles.  However, the following lighting patterns, can help you take your headshot to the next level.


The Split Lighting Pattern is a Lighting Technique that can be used for creating a more dramatic look.  In photography, this lighting pattern casts shadow on half of the face, and lights up only one side.  Variations of this can cast hard or softer shadows to emphasize drama, or to make a more natural headshot. To create this yourself, place a light source directly to the left or right of your subject.  The picture below is an example of the Split Lighting Pattern Technique.



The Rembrandt Lighting Pattern is a Lighting Technique that can be used to create a more artistic look.  It is similar to Split Lighting, however, it creates a small triangle of light below of the eye on the shadowed side of the face.  You can create this lighting pattern by asking your model to move their face toward or away from the light until you get the desired lighting.  The picture below is an example of the Rembrandt Lighting Pattern Technique.




The Loop Lighting Pattern is a Lighting Technique that can be used to add emotion to a portrait or headshot.  It is similar to the Rembrandt Lighting Pattern, however, it allows for the triangle of light to loop back towards the part of a face that is lit, usually under the nose and above the lip.  You can create the Loop Lighting Pattern in the same way that you create the Rembrandt Lighting Pattern, by repositioning your subjects head in relation to the light source to create the desired shadows.  The picture below is an example of the Loop Lighting Pattern Technique:




The Butterfly Lighting Pattern is the Lighting Technique most often used for fashion and modeling shoots.  It flatters the face and reduces the appearance of lines and wrinkles.  This Lighting Pattern can be created by placing the light source directly in front of your subject.  For added light, and for the softening of shadows, you can create the Clamshell Lighting Pattern by adding a light source below the subjects face to light up any areas that are too harsh.  The picture below is an example of the Butterfly / Clamshell Lighting Pattern Technique.


The following are just a few of the headshots I was able to capture using the 4 Lighting Patterns and Techniques.  They are more examples of Studio Lighting Portrait and Headshot Photography.

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For more examples and information about Studio Lighting, Lighting Patterns, and Lighting Techniques you can look here:

Rory Lewis Photographer

and here:

6 Portrait Lighting Patterns Every Photographer Should Know