In photography, lighting is very important. In fact, it’s pretty much the foundation of producing good photographs. But you know, there are many types of lighting to experiment with when taking photographs. Portrait photography is probably where a lot of the lighting patterns that we have mentioned in previous blog posts are used and the same goes for using short lighting. It’s all about the setup of your equipment that defines a lighting pattern, which in turn, will give you a unique look throughout your photographs, but will follow a certain style of lighting e.g. short lighting, broad lighting, butterfly lighting, Rembrandt lighting, split lighting and loop lighting.
What Is ‘Short Lighting’? - Short lighting is type of lighting setup within a studio. Short lighting is classed as a lighting pattern and this particular lighting pattern is achieved when the side of the face which is furthest away from the camera is exposed more than the other side. This style/ type of lighting setup causes the face of the person in front of the camera to appear thinner. This is why a lot of photographers use this technique for portrait photography. The actual position of the flash light or lights will depend on the style and mood of the portrait anticipated.
How To Position Your Equipment? - Start with you client in the middle of an imaginary circle, as the light and the camera will be placed on that imaginary circle’s perimeter. A 90-degree angle should be formed if you imagine a line that has been drawn from the camera to the subject in the image and then again from the subject to the light source. Both the light and the camera should be set to the subject’s eye level. When the subject faces the camera directly, half of the face will be lit and the other half will be in the shadow. As it stands, this is actually classed as side lighting. When your equipment set-up has been achieved, ask the subject to turn his/ her head to camera right, or subject left, which exposes the broad side of the face to the camera and the narrow side of the face to the light. This is where the term ‘short lighting’ derives from, because the short side of the face is closer to the key light. This is known as ‘High-Key Portrait Photography’.
How To Use Short Lighting? - As a wedding photographer, there will always be plenty of opportunities for you to experiment with both your photography style and of course the effects that certain variables can have on your photographs. Lighting is of course one of those variables which can change the look of an image and give it a completely different vibe, so you should try to test out as much of these techniques as you can in your own time so that you can offer photographs in this style as a service to your clients. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, portrait wedding photography is the best place for you to put these styles into practice with your clients. A lot of soon to be married couple’s hire a photographer for a pre-wedding photo shoot (depending on the style of photographs they want), this would be the perfect time to test out these techniques!
Short Lighting Summary:
The subject’s face will appear slimmer when the shadow is on the broader side of the face.
This style of lighting adds character to portrait photography.
This style of lighting suits masculine portraits through exploitation of texture.
Photo + editing credit: All images in this blog post edited by the team here at Weddit and photographed by Lukas Griffin. To get started with our wedding photo editing service, you can create an account here.