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3 Point Lighting Explained in 1 Minute

1/26/2023 ISO 1200 Magazine 0 Comments


Three-point lighting is a technique used in film and photography to illuminate a subject in a way that creates depth and dimension. It involves using three lights: a key light, a backlight, and a fill light.

The key light is the main light on the subject, and it is typically positioned at a 45-degree angle on one side of their face. To soften the look and remove harsh shadows, a diffuser, such as tissue paper or tracing paper, can be added in front of the key light. For a more cinematic look, the camera can be positioned on the shadowy side of the face.

The backlight, also known as the "hairlight," is placed behind the subject to create a three-dimensional look and separate them from the background. The fill light is used to fill in any shadowy areas not covered by the key light. This can also be achieved with a reflector, making the fill light the least important of the three lights.

It's important to note that not every scene requires all three lights. Experimentation is key, and by setting up all three lights and then turning them off one by one, filmmakers and photographers can determine which lights are necessary for a particular scene. Overall, three-point lighting is a powerful tool for creating depth and dimension in a scene and is widely used in professional film and photography.