Rim lighting

Remember this shot from the other day?

To achieve that, I use two flashes behind the subject:

  • Each one is at 45 degrees behind the head (one left, one right).
  • Snooted or gridded, to avoid light “going everywhere”. You can also use Gobos but then you need two on each flash, or more light will fall on the background.
  • Aimed carefully to not hit too low. When using snoots, be very careful as a mere millimeter up or down will often be too much.
  • Metered normally, or brighter (I like +1 stop, to “just when the blinkies start to appear).

To make sure I get ot right, I start with just the rim lights.

Note that of course this can only work when there’s not too much hair covering the face. When the subject has hair going forward, you get something more like this:

Still nice but it is no longer rim lighting, and hair shadows will often get in the way.

Little hair works:

(You think I should shave before doing selfies?)


3 thoughts on “Rim lighting

  1. What did you use for the fill flash Michael? I like the light in your self-portrait better than the ones with the women because there is no strong shadow under your chin.

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