Rembrandt Lighting

Started 2 months ago | Questions
sayan1984 New Member • Posts: 2
Rembrandt Lighting

If I want to do a perfect, text book Rembrandt lighting scheme for a model with a very flat nose, how should I go about it? I get that perfect triangle with conventional lighting all the time, with 'high-nosed' (literally speaking) models. But when it comes to flat-nosed ones, I am at my wits end. Can someone please suggest some techniques to get around the problem?

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Ellis Vener
Ellis Vener Veteran Member • Posts: 9,132
Re: Rembrandt Lighting
7

Start by respecting your sitter’s face for its own intrinsic beauty and features rather than trying to shoehorn it into a lighting scheme that does not work for it.

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Chaplain Mark
Chaplain Mark Senior Member • Posts: 3,507
Re: Rembrandt Lighting
1

lol.....

You'll need to settle for less pointy triangle, sorry....!!

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Macro guy
Macro guy Veteran Member • Posts: 3,438
Re: Rembrandt Lighting
1

sayan1984 wrote:

If I want to do a perfect, text book Rembrandt lighting scheme for a model with a very flat nose, how should I go about it? I get that perfect triangle with conventional lighting all the time, with 'high-nosed' (literally speaking) models. But when it comes to flat-nosed ones, I am at my wits end. Can someone please suggest some techniques to get around the problem?

Take a light and look at the model from the position of the light. Move the light to a steeper angle until it looks like the nose is touching the cheek. That's the position of your light and make sure the model doesn't move.  Note that perfect Rembrandt lighting can't always be achieved and if your model's nose is flat enough, you won't be able to get the triangle.

I agree with Ellis when it comes to not trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Not every type of lighting works for every type of a face and it's up to you to figure out which type of lighting compliments your model and the look you're trying to achieve.

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photolando Senior Member • Posts: 2,915
Re: Rembrandt Lighting
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As a portrait photogrpaher, I totally agree with others.  Light the subject to make THEM look good, not your need to achieve a lighting pattern

There is nothing magical about “Rembrandt” lighitng.  Even Rembrandt himself did not use it all the time.

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Mike

Macro guy
Macro guy Veteran Member • Posts: 3,438
Re: Rembrandt Lighting
1

You might also want to try short light to see if that works for your model

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Sailor Blue
Sailor Blue Forum Pro • Posts: 13,346
Re: Rembrandt Lighting
1

Once you get short loop lighting it is easier to change the pose of the head a tiny bit than move the light.

Clay Blackmore - How to Find Rembrandt Lighting When Posing Portraits - YouTube

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Gato Amarillo Veteran Member • Posts: 5,488
Re: Rembrandt Lighting
1

Ellis Vener wrote:

Start by respecting your sitter’s face for its own intrinsic beauty and features rather than trying to shoehorn it into a lighting scheme that does not work for it.

So very right. Light to suit the subject, not to fit some schoolbook rule.

If you Google "Rembrandt portrait" you'll quickly see that his light was different for every sitter and mood. He rarely used the same lighting twice. That is the mark of a true master.

Just my opinion

Gato

NOTE: If for some reason you have to do this, say for a Photo 101 class, see the advice in the following posts. Essentially move your light more around to the side, or turn the model more away from the light.

KE_DP
KE_DP Veteran Member • Posts: 4,730
Re: Rembrandt Lighting
2

Or make a triangle shaped snoot so you can make the shape anywhere you like...  

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photolando Senior Member • Posts: 2,915
Re: Rembrandt Lighting
1

I'd also add that, don't sweat the small stuff.  I shoot classic portraits all the time.  Hundreds each year.  I don't always get the pattern "exact".  Sometimes it becomes an open loop.  Sometimes a closed loop.  Sometimes it goes Rembrandt on me.  All because I may have them turn their head slightly one way or another.  But I don't want to re-light it just to get the pattern exactly right.  If it falls anywhere within those patterns I'm fine with it.

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Mike

OP sayan1984 New Member • Posts: 2
Re: Rembrandt Lighting

Ellis Vener wrote:

Start by respecting your sitter’s face for its own intrinsic beauty and features rather than trying to shoehorn it into a lighting scheme that does not work for it.

Thanks, Ellis, and all my fellow members for your suggestions. I find them quite helpful. Maybe the way I framed my question, - the tone of it - was a bit condescending, for which I sincerely apologise. Frankly speaking, I've a loads of respect for models and crew members at work. But the thing is, in my line of work ( or should I say our?), there's a catch phrase 'Client is God', and we've to go by it, once the contract gets signed. And there are situations where we don't have any hand in the choice of models either, especially when working for agency based ad campaigns - something which I've to do on a regular basis to earn my bread and butter. So, to cut the long story short, if the client says "I want a perfect text-book Rembrandt lighting on this one", I've to deliver, irrespective of the model's facial structure, 'cause he's God, and I need my pay cheque at the end of the day. Respect has nothing to do in this case, 'cause I ain't doin' a creative shoot to soothe my finer senses - I'm shooting for agencies, to meet their demands, where my creative vision is limited. - Thanks anyways, guys.

photolando Senior Member • Posts: 2,915
Re: Rembrandt Lighting

sayan1984 wrote:

Ellis Vener wrote:

Start by respecting your sitter’s face for its own intrinsic beauty and features rather than trying to shoehorn it into a lighting scheme that does not work for it.

Thanks, Ellis, and all my fellow members for your suggestions. I find them quite helpful. Maybe the way I framed my question, - the tone of it - was a bit condescending, for which I sincerely apologise. Frankly speaking, I've a loads of respect for models and crew members at work. But the thing is, in my line of work ( or should I say our?), there's a catch phrase 'Client is God', and we've to go by it, once the contract gets signed. And there are situations where we don't have any hand in the choice of models either, especially when working for agency based ad campaigns - something which I've to do on a regular basis to earn my bread and butter. So, to cut the long story short, if the client says "I want a perfect text-book Rembrandt lighting on this one", I've to deliver, irrespective of the model's facial structure, 'cause he's God, and I need my pay cheque at the end of the day. Respect has nothing to do in this case, 'cause I ain't doin' a creative shoot to soothe my finer senses - I'm shooting for agencies, to meet their demands, where my creative vision is limited. - Thanks anyways, guys.

What exactly is your line of work where they demand perfect a Rembrandt lighting pattern?

Agencies?  Really?  Ok.  I've worked with a lot of them in my commercial days.  Never heard that request before.  Never heard ANY lighting pattern request.  That's a new one on me.

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Mike

Gato Amarillo Veteran Member • Posts: 5,488
Re: Rembrandt Lighting
1

sayan1984 wrote:

...

So, to cut the long story short, if the client says "I want a perfect text-book Rembrandt lighting on this one", I've to deliver, irrespective of the model's facial structure, 'cause he's God, and I need my pay cheque at the end of the day. ...

Got it.

In photography there's stuff I do for love, stuff I do for art, and stuff I do for fun. And then there are times when it just comes down to they give me money and I push the button.

Gato

Ellis Vener
Ellis Vener Veteran Member • Posts: 9,132
Re: Rembrandt Lighting
1

sayan1984 wrote:

Ellis Vener wrote:

Start by respecting your sitter’s face for its own intrinsic beauty and features rather than trying to shoehorn it into a lighting scheme that does not work for it.

Thanks, Ellis, and all my fellow members for your suggestions. I find them quite helpful. Maybe the way I framed my question, - the tone of it - was a bit condescending, for which I sincerely apologise. Frankly speaking, I've a loads of respect for models and crew members at work. But the thing is, in my line of work ( or should I say our?), there's a catch phrase 'Client is God', and we've to go by it, once the contract gets signed. And there are situations where we don't have any hand in the choice of models either, especially when working for agency based ad campaigns - something which I've to do on a regular basis to earn my bread and butter. So, to cut the long story short, if the client says "I want a perfect text-book Rembrandt lighting on this one", I've to deliver, irrespective of the model's facial structure, 'cause he's God, and I need my pay cheque at the end of the day. Respect has nothing to do in this case, 'cause I ain't doin' a creative shoot to soothe my finer senses - I'm shooting for agencies, to meet their demands, where my creative vision is limited. - Thanks anyways, guys.

In which case, get as close as you can and hire a retoucher. And make sure you bill for it.

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Sailor Blue
Sailor Blue Forum Pro • Posts: 13,346
Re: Rembrandt Lighting

Ellis Vener wrote:

Start by respecting your sitter’s face for its own intrinsic beauty and features rather than trying to shoehorn it into a lighting scheme that does not work for it.

Took me awhile to remember this article and find it but it goes straight to the heart of what you say above.

Ed Shapiro - Tutorial: Facial Analysis In Fine Portraiture

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Tdoan
Tdoan Contributing Member • Posts: 534
Re: Rembrandt Lighting

Sailor Blue wrote:

Ellis Vener wrote:

Start by respecting your sitter’s face for its own intrinsic beauty and features rather than trying to shoehorn it into a lighting scheme that does not work for it.

Took me awhile to remember this article and find it but it goes straight to the heart of what you say above.

Ed Shapiro - Tutorial: Facial Analysis In Fine Portraiture

Once again, thank you SB

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