If you’re into portraiture or painting, you have probably heard about Rembrandt lighting. It’s named after the great master of painting, who often used it in his own work. This type of lighting can be used in studio portrait photography and it’s not complicated to achieve it. You need just one light and a reflector, or perhaps two lights if you want more elaborate results. Rembrandt lighting is popular because it can produce portraits that look quite refined and compelling. It’s easy to recognize this lighting – it’s characterized by an illuminated triangle under the eye of the subject on the darker side of the face. The following tips will help you understand how to set up Rembrandt lighting and when to use it.
Rembrandt Lighting Setup
You won’t need much gear for this:
Off camera light source (either flash or continuous lighting)
Light stand (1 or 2)
Reflector (32” or 42”)
Rembrandt lighting is constructed with a single light source (key light) placed approximately 45 degrees offset from the subject and a bit higher than eye level. This single light source should be supplemented with a reflector or a second light (fill light) placed roughly 45 degrees from the darker side of the face. This fill light or reflector should slightly lift the shadows on the darker side of the face.