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Lighting patterns

Learn about the different lighting patterns and how they can sculpt and define your subject...

What are lighting patterns in photography?

Lighting patterns in photography are specific methods you can use to position your light to sculpt and define your subjects' features while creating a certain effect or mood. These patterns are mostly used in portrait and headshot photography, where the direction and quality of light can dramatically impact the appearance of your subject and photo.

Common lighting patterns include side lighting, split lighting, Rembrandt lighting, and loop lighting are particularly useful for portrait photography to change the mood and depth in your image.

Lastly, understanding lighting ratios is fundamental to understanding how the different lighting patterns work.

Girl wearing black hat and outfit in low-key lighting.
Portrait using 8:1 lighting ratio for low-key lighting

Understanding these lighting patterns and how to manipulate lighting ratios allows you as a photographer to creatively control the mood and style of your portraits, enhancing the visual storytelling within your images.

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