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10 Ways to Light a Face for Different Moods


The Lighting Channel made this rapid-fire 1-minute video with examples of 10 different ways you can light a face to create different moods and themes, from “horror” to “1920s beauty.”

Here’s a basic explanation the channel provided regarding how each of the looks was lit:

Portrait (the intro): “This is a classic lighting setup. We placed a large china ball on the model’s right, on the left a white styrofoam board to fill in the shadows, and from high up behind a backlight to help separate the top of the head from the background.”

Horror: “Anyone who has played with a flashlight knows holding it under your face makes you look creepy. Add a flickering background light and it becomes full on horror!”

1920s Beauty: “For this mood we used more than just lighting, again we have the backlight to make the hair glow, in front we put a harsh spot, and the secret here is stretching some stockings over the lens to create that soft dreamy look over the whole image.”

Artificial Intelligence: “These days, ring-lights are very popular for creating a soft beauty light. The only problem is they also create a small ring reflection in the eyes, which we think looks a bit robotic.”

Sci-Fi: “Simple household dimmers and color lights can go a long way to create atmosphere. By revealing each side of the face with different colors we created additional drama, and under counter kitchen lights in the background hint at a futuristic location.”

Sadness: “Shadows are fun! This was mostly a silly idea, but by shiny the light through a wet plexiglass sheet we got a cool rain effect.”

Film Noir: “The only thing missing here is a lot of cigarette smoke. We used a window blind to cast the shadows in the background, and a cardboard box with a little hole cutout to focus the small patch of light on the eyes.”

World Leader: “By putting a China Ball slightly above the model, and black blankets left and right to reduce the lighting on the sides of the face, we created an enlighten and powerful look. If you angle the camera a little from below it would further amplify this effect.”

The Interrogator: “Get between the light and the camera and you become an intimidating silhouette. And if you let some of the light hit the camera then the lens flares start to kick in!”

Angel: “Similar to World Leader, we just blasted the background with lots of light and made everything heavenly.”

The channel is planning to release a series of behind-the-scenes video tutorials that offer a more in-depth look at how each lighting scenario works. You can subscribe to The Lighting Channel on YouTube to follow along with the series.

(via The Lighting Channel via Fstoppers)