Tips and tricks for three-point lighting: Professional-quality headshots with a pair of flashes and a reflector
posted Wednesday, May 17, 2017 at 6:30 AM EST
Australian professional music photographer PJ Pantelis shoots a lot of portraits and headshots for work. But do you need a ton of gear to create professional results? Definitely not, as Pantelis shows in the video below how to create dynamic lighting with only a pair of lights and a reflector. Of course, you can do a lot with less too, but this is a pretty standard lighting setup.
What makes PJ’s video particularly helpful for those coming to grips with lighting and using artificial lights is how he breaks it down to its individual components and shows what every piece of gear is doing independently for the setup.
Three-point lighting has three components: key, background/rim and fill lighting. The subject gets lit with the key light, it is your main light. In this case, it’ll be lighting PJ from the right side. The background light (or rim light) is behind your subject and adds separation between your background and subject to give your two-dimensional image a three-dimensional appearance. The fill light helps balance the key light so that your subject isn’t only partially lit. In this case, the fill light is coming from a reflector rather than a third light. The size of the reflector and its distance from the light and subject controls its effect.