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3-point lighting

3-point lighting

One of the secrets to great lighting is the 3-point lighting technique used by all the pro’s: Key Light, Fill Light and Back Light:

  1. Use a strong “key” light, predominantly lighting one side of your subjects face/body (left, right, it doesn’t matter)

    Without Rim Light  | With Rim Light

  2. Then, on the other side place a dimmed-down “fill” light (1/2 to 1/3 as much light) achieving the infamous 3:1 lighting ratio on their face.  If your light is not dimmable then move it 1/2 the distance as the other light on the other side.
  3. Directly behind your subject, or a couple feet above their head (on a boom), a “rim” or “back” light is set at low power in back of your subject. Use this to outline your subjects head/body with light, creating separation from the background –one of the most important pro-lighting techniques, and can seriously increase the quality of your image ten-fold!  See the rim light on the apple? That’s what you’re going for on your shoulders, and top of head.  Look at your favorite newscaster on TV.

You can find some really great 3-light kits here

Look how nice our Acies strip light works as a rim light in this simple setup.  This shot would be completely useless without it since its so dark out and the subjects hair color is also dark.  And you can get this light for under $200 here!

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