Three Point Lighting
- Key light
- Fill light
- Back light
- (Background light)
The same shot with just the key light on. It’s basically a bulb (plus reflector) about two feet higher than the subject and about forty-five degrees to one side. It gives modelling to the face, but the shadows are far too harsh.
A fill light added on the other side of the camera to soften the shadows. The fill needs to be a bigger (wider) light, so it might mean putting some translucent material a little bit in front of the light, or bouncing it off a white sheet.
Now a backlight has been added. It’s usually opposite the key light. And behind the subject. Now you can see the shape of her hair and shoulders. The shot has some depth to it.
In many cases, the background will get enough light from the fill and key, but here there’s a fourth light – pointing at the background.
Compare the shot with the first one – ordinary ceiling lighting. It’s worth repeating that, of course, you don’t see like that. But your eye does. And so does a camera
In case I’ve not been too clear about which light goes where, Here’s a plan of the setup.