Tom Bol | Five Classic Lighting Recipes


Five Classic Lighting Recipes
Text & Photography by Tom Bol

tombol09a1. Soft Lighting
Lighting all starts with one light, and sometimes that is all you need, but not all single lights are equal.
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tombol09b2. Rembrandt Lighting
Say you only have one simple light and no big softbox. What kind of portrait can you create with a single edgy light? Try using Rembrandt lighting for a dramatic look.
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tombol09c3. Rim Lighting
Another single-light technique is rim lighting. Rim lighting illuminates a side profile of your subject, creating a dramatic portrait. This technique requires a single softbox and a dark background.
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tombol09d4. Clamshell Lighting
Have you ever seen a beauty shot where the subject seems so vibrant and lively it really catches your eye? I constantly embarrass my family at the checkout line in the grocery store. I’m the guy staring at the bikini model on the magazine cover, trying to see what catchlights are in her eyes and what lighting technique was used. More often than not, clamshell lighting is the technique being used.
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tombol09e5. Cross Lighting
If someone asked me what lighting technique I use the most, I’d reply cross lighting. This lighting technique uses two light sources opposite one another with your subject in the middle. One light will be illuminating your subject’s front, while the second light will be an accent light illuminating his shoulder, hair or backside. Any combination of softboxes, reflectors and umbrellas can be used.
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Five Classic Lighting Recipes by Tom Bol
more at Digital Photo

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