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Basic Portrait Lighting
By Ed Chop
Basic portrait lighting consists of two lights, the main, or key light, and the fill light. The main light is placed at a 45º angle horizontally from the camera and above the camera at a downward angle to the subject. The fill light is placed at camera level and to the opposite side of the camera or above the camera. The two lights are usually diffused, with the main light being the stronger. With the model facing the key light, short lighting is achieved. This is the most flattering for most subjects. By turning the models head, different lighting effects can be produced.
Lighting the background will separate the subject from the background. A hair light, a small light to illuminate the top of the head, will also help separate the two.
The most important thing to do is look at your subject while you move your lights. The correct lighting positions are the ones that look the best on your model.
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