Basic lighting techniques (studio photography)


  • Traditional, three point lighting
  • Flat lighting
  • Ratio lighting – deep shadow lighting
  • Rim lighting
  • Light meter
  • Key lights
  • Fill lights
  • Hair light
  • Boom
  • Soft box
  • Banding

Guiding questions:

  • What is the distance a camera should be placed above face?
  • What is the relationship between the type of lens and the distance from your subject?
  • For these lighting scenarios, answer:
    • 1) When is this lighting used? (What kind of photography?)
    • 2) What F stop setting do you use for the fill or key lights?
      • 1:1 ratio lighting
      • 2:1 ratio lighting
      • 3:1 ratio lighting
      • 4:1 ratio lighting
      • 5:1 ratio lighting


  • Highlight
  • Shadow line
  • The core
  • Background
  • Fill card
  • Motion blur
  • Diffusion material

Guiding questions:

  1. When do you achieve the ideal ratio?
  2. How does the key light help your subject transition between lighting positions?
  3. How do you use a fan for hair?
  4. What kind of lens did he use?
  5. How did they use diffusion material?

5 different portrait positions for light

  1. Rembrandt light
  2. Split light
  3. Broad light
  4. Butterfly light
  5. Loop light


Experimenting with light height – use of reflector and Rapid Box

“The bigger your source–or your modifier–in relation to your subject, the softer the light.” – Joel Grimes


  • Reflector
  • Soft light
  • Hard light

Guiding question:

  1. What types of light are produced when you move the light source forward or backward?

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