Rembrandt Lighting for Wedding Photographers
We’re going to be doing a series of articles on simple studio lighting techniques for wedding photographers. It’s one of the biggest events in the couple’s life and naturally, they want to look good. One of the simplest lighting techniques that you can try in the studio, or even dedicate a quiet area on location for quick portraits is the Rembrandt lighting setup. It is classical, it is moody and it can bring a lot of gravitas to your bride or groom portrait.
In this sort of a setup, a single light source, also called the key light, is placed approximately 45° offset from the subject, and a bit higher than eye level, lighting the side of the face that is farthest away from the camera.
What this does is, it lights roughly half the face, while leaving the other half of the face partially shadowed.
You can pair the keylight with a reflector or another light, placed approximately 45° offset from the shadowed side of the face. If you’re using another light, it needs to be at half the power of the main light source or the key light. This softens the shadowed area and fills it.
You can aim another light at the background in order to clearly define your subject. Place it close to the background and at an angle, so as to have it fade across gradually.
This lighting pattern also generally works well for subjects with full or round faces, as it adds definition and slims the face.