Note: This is a reprint of an earlier article.

The Side Lighting

by William Lulow

The third type of lighting one can work with easily is the “Side Lighting.” As the name implies, it comes directly from the side of the subject. It shouldn’t spill over to the opposite side of the face which means that the light should be placed at a 90 degree angle with respect to the camera position. This is even more of a dramatic light than the Rembrandt, because half of the face will be in shadow.


An example appears below:


Note the complete lack of detail on the shadow side of the face. The straight line going down the nose is a good indication that this lighting has been applied correctly.

Once you’ve got the placement of the side light down, you can then combine it with another side light from the opposite side to create some interesting effects. As you rotate both lights around the subject, notice where the shadows fall and how they effect the overall mood of the image.

More about this in a later article.