Narrow Lighting


Narrow lighting set up is used when we have to shoot a model with round face. This lighting makes the face appearance, slightly narrow, so a person with round face looks more matured with this light setting.

In studio set up, we use one main light, which is referred as a key light. Other lights are secondary lights, which are fillers. These filler lights are used for opening up shadow details. Key light is the light, which casts shadow in the photograph in a pleasing manner. When key light is soft, the shadow is rendered as shading. Under any circumstances, the subject should have no second shadow.



In portrait photography, when the subject, that is the model is seated with his or her face, turned 30 degrees away from the camera axis, then one cheek is facing the camera. Now when we have to set narrow lighting, then place the key light in such a way that the other cheek, which is away from the camera is illuminated. Place the light in position, so that the high light in model's eye is formed at 1 o'clock (or 11 o'clock - depending on which side the face is turned) position. Shadow of the nose should not cross the lip line.

This key light will illuminate the narrower part of the face. Now we can use a second light, which should be weak and soft. We can also use a silver or aluminum reflector to open up shadow details. We can control the darkness of the shadow area by adjusting the distance of the light or the reflector. If we use a light or an exposure meter, then we can precisely measure the brightness of light . This brightness of second light should be for at least one stop less powerful than the key light. If it is further reduced, then the darkness of the shadow area will increase, and the picture will show higher contrast.

We may use some more lights to illuminate the back drop, or if we want to keep it dark, then place a third light, which is falling on the head of the model from slightly back and top position. This light is facing the camera, which helps to separate out the main subject from the back ground. It is termed as a kicker light , which can be slightly more powerful than the main or key light. Set it as per your choice, but be sure that the light is not producing any flare in the lens.

If it is falling on the lens, then we can use a "cutter" to block the kicker light. This cutter is just a plain opaque board, which can be placed in between the path of the lens and kicker light. We can also use barn doors, which are specially made for this function. Read more about barn door and other light attachments here

This lighting setup will produce narrow light, which is used for a person with round face, portrait photography.

Read more about:

Broad lighting: Lighting technique for a model with long and narrow face

Butterfly lighting: Lighting for a model with symmetrical and beautiful face

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