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Photography Question 
Denise Ms Goulet

Rembrandt Lightning


I would like to be sure. When we use the rembrand lighting, is the shadow side of the face is toward the camera?

Thanks and happy New Year!

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12/31/2007 7:19:49 AM

Bob Cournoyer
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/9/2003
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  "The fourth style of lighting is Rembrandt Lighting. Rembrandt lighting is obtained by combining short lighting and butterfly lighting. The main light is positioned high and on the side of the face that is away from the camera. This technique produces an illuminated triangle on the cheek closest to the camera. The triangle will illuminate just under the eye and not below the nose."

Happy New Year to you, too.. :-)

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12/31/2007 7:59:35 AM

Denise Ms Goulet   Thanks so much Bob! I went to you website and you're definitely a pro!

I am actually studiyng photography. I am a journalist for 17 years and I am located in Québec city, Canada.


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12/31/2007 8:25:32 AM

Alan N. Marcus   Frustrated by the unnatural look he was getting, Cecil B. DeMille, demonstrated to his lighting technicians, on the movie set “The Warrens of Virginia”, in 1915, lamp placement. He achieved a more natural look by placing the main lighting high and more to the front. He called this “Rembrandt Lighting”. See his autobiography for more details.

This subject is taught in all art schools under the category of “Chiaroscuro”.

The old art masters were forced to use natural light (no electricity) and candles and lanterns did not cut it. Their studios embrace skylights and north facing windows. The Rembrandt look is thus frontal lighting from the skylight (high) creating a shadow under the nose takes on the shape of a butterfly. Additionally this lighting forms an illusion of a contiguous triangle of highlights on the face.

In photography a fill is generally required. It is normally placed near the camera at lens height (you are filling from the cameras viewpoint). The fill’s power is adjusted so that its light energy arrives at the subject subordinate to the main by 50%. This is best achieved by the use of a flash meter or light meter or power settings. However, an excellent method is to place the fill as above and measure its distance to the subject. This distance is than multiplied by 0.7 (zero decimal seven). This math calculates a main to subject distance that is nearer than the fill to subject distance. This nearness causes the main light energy to arrive at the subject plane twice as bright as the fill. This establishes the desirable 3:1 lighting ratio. Math assumes fill and main fixtures are identical in power and brightness. You can divide fill to main distance by 1.4 and you will get the same answer. These magical numbers, 0.7 and 1.4 stem from a law of physics governing light propagation.

Alan Marcus (if you are bored it’s OK I often bore myself with technical gobbledygook)
Happy New Year all

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12/31/2007 10:17:24 AM

Denise Ms Goulet   Hi Alan,

Thanks for your answers and you're not boring!

Happy New Year!

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1/1/2008 10:23:54 AM

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