Rim lighting is a great way to add a highlight of light to give your subject shape. It is seen in images ranging from fine art to athletic. In this video, author Levi Sim walks you through how to set up your light to create rim lighting.
- I hope you can see that with each of these lighting patterns, the main difference is that we're simply moving the light farther around the subject's face. And with our rim light, we're going to continue until the light is basically facing back towards the camera. I would use rim light for very fine art-looking portraits or for very very dramatic looks. We're going to get just a little highlight of light shining forward off of our skin and off of the form and contour of our subject's face and arms or shoulders.
It can really help depict the shape of a person and you'll see it used a lot in fine art, athletic pictures, something like a bodybuilder, someone who has really sculpted their body to look great would look really good and dramatic with this kind of a rim light shining forward off their muscles. So let me show you how this works. We're going to scoot this light back, I'm also going to get my diffuser stand out of the way here and we'll move our main light back around here and then we'll give Tina a turn again so that she's facing kind of...
She would be split lit on her face. There we go. Something kind of like this. Now let's turn Tina so we can catch this rim light glancing off of her features. Watch what happens as we turn Tina several places as we turn her face 90 degrees to her right, several of these pictures would be very dramatic and interesting. Imagine if you had a person here and she just turned her face to the side and we saw the outline of her shoulders as well as the outline of her profile, it would be quite an impactful picture.
Just check this out here. I call this kind of a reverse Rembrandt from this position where instead of a patch of light on the cheek, we have a patch of shadow and it's edgy, it's interesting. Anything we can do to make a picture more interesting is quite a powerful tool in our portraiture. We've come back around and she's turned so much that now we're back into, well right there's the Rembrandt pattern and right here's the loop pattern.
And so anywhere along there, we can use this backlight to illuminate our portrait. In fact, I'm going to go ahead and turn the light farther behind her so that it's really glancing forward towards my camera. You see the way that the rim light is now just giving her light on rim of her silhouette. That's interesting, that's powerful. You could do this with a white background, you can do it with a black background, you could it with a slower shutter speed so that more of the ambient light is illuminating her a little bit.
You can do this on an afternoon when the sun is getting low. Just stand her in front of a set of trees that are shaded on this side with the sun setting down behind her and you would have quite a dramatic outdoor portrait as well. It's an interesting way to work. Now naturally if I was making a portrait with a person, I would probably either Photoshop the light out of the the backdrop or simply move it a little farther up stage and out of my frame completely. Although this class is about using one light for portraits, I always try to have a rim light in addition to my main light when I'm making a portrait, especially a headshot.
That rim light from behind really separates a person from the backdrop and helps the portrait look more natural.
This course was created by RHED Pixel. We're honored to host this training in our library.
- Leveraging different types of light
- Finding the right light for the right mood or effect
- Taking portraits for business and family clients
- Making the camera and light work together
- Helping people look their best