Wednesday, February 17, 2010

3-Point Lighting

Key Light - Fill Light - Back Light
The best lighting technique is 3-point lighting. In 3-point lighting 3 lights are used. A key light, a fill light, and a back light. A key light is the main light that is placed at a thirty to forty-five degree angle in front of the subject and to the side of the camera.

The second light in 3-point lighting is the fill light. The fill light is placed on the side of the camera just opposite of the key light. The fill light is used to soften shadows created by the key light. Usually the fill light is set to about half the intensity of the key light, and often a broad, scoop, or soft light is used instead of a spotlight to provide a softer fill with no harsh shadows. If using only a 2-light system, a reflector can be used to bounce light back onto the subject. Reflectors are sometimes used with a fill light to ensure that no hard shadows are cast on the subject.

Reflectors can be any object that will reflect light. They can be purchased in the form of umbrellas or a piece of sliver/white fabric stretched over a frame. If your budget does not allow for reflectors here is a solution. With a piece of cardboard and aluminum foil a reflector can be made. Simply cover the foil around the cardboard and you have a reflector. Use the shiney side of the foil for harder reflector or the dull side for a softer more diffused reflector.

The third light in a 3-point lighting system is the backlight. The backlight is usually placed directly behind the subject, in line with the camera. The backlight is sometimes placed above the subject pointing down onto the head and neck of the subject. The backlight creates a "defining edge" to help visually separate the subject from the background, and should be adjusted so it creates a highlight around the top or side of the subject. The backlight is not a background light. It should not be used to light the back drop, it is only used to create a rim of light around the subject and is used to separate the subject from the background by giving it a 3-dimensional look.

If available, a forth light can be used for a background light. A background light is different from a backlight. A back light is pointed at the subject, and a background light is pointed at the background. A background light will help separate the subject from the background, and can help create certain lighting effects.

Lighting Checklist:-
1. Always light the subject.
2. Eliminate different light sources.
3. Avoid shadows on the subject and the background.Get the lighting right the first time.

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1 comments on "3-Point Lighting"

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Mini on 28 March, 2011 said...

We are in the middle of a kitchen remodel and are trying to figure out Under Cabinet Lighting. I love them and they are cheap! Looks SO warm and inviting!!!

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