Loop Lighting – How to Position Your Light

studio tutorials Jul 07, 2021

Where to position your main light is a question we hear frequently from beginning portrait photographers who are new to the lighting game. In this video we're exploring loop light, a flattering way to light your portraits, which can be achieved by positioning your light above and about 45º to the side of your subject. Because the light falls downward diagonally, it casts a small "loop-like" shadow under the nose as well as a deep shadow under the chin. 

When should you use loop light? It's a flattering portrait light on just about anyone, but it works especially well on subjects who have round faces. The steep downward angle lights the front of the face, keeping the sides of the face relatively dark. This produces a slimming effect and accents the cheekbones at the same time. 

Give it a try! One light and a willing muse is all you really need. It's all about the angle, so look for that little loop shadow on their upper lip. When you see that – you know you've got loop light!

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