The height of the fill-in light should be just enough to cast a slight, soft shadow under the chin. The fill
light should also be less intense and softer than the main light, and the lighting ratio should not exceed
Because the main light in side lighting comes from a relatively low angle, the hair does not receive very
much light and what it does receive is only on one side. To capture the form and character of the hair
and to help separate the subject from the background, the hair light is directed onto the hair from the
back of the subject and from a high angle. The hair light should be on the opposite side of the subject
from the main light and should not be permitted to spill onto the forehead, cheek, or tip of the nose.
The background light is employed the same as in three-quarter lighting.
c. Front Lighting. Front lighting is often used when making portraits of women. Although not
as flexible as three-quarter lighting, front lighting does have some flexibility. The subject's head can be
posed from fullface to profile; however, the nose shadow must always remain under the nose.
Therefore, the main light must be moved with the head, and as the head moves to the three-quarter or
profile position, the hair light must also be moved. The fill light is not moved.
(1) Placing the main light. To start, place the main light very close to the camera lens axis
and at about subject eye level. This creates an almost flat lighting, and facial feature characteristics may
be lost. By moving the main light higher, a certain amount of modeling is created. The light, although
now creating some modeling, is still very flattering and almost foolproof. This lighting is considered
flattering because it does not emphasize lines around the eyes, wrinkles on the forehead, or shadows
around the mouth. It does, however, emphasize eyes and eyelashes.
(a) The main light should be just high enough to cast a shadow of the nose, about a third
of the distance from the nose to the top edge of the upper lip. As each subject's face and nose are
different, the correct height for the main light varies slightly. If the subject has a long nose, the light
should be low to shorten the shadow. When the subject has a short nose, raising the main light to
lengthen the shadow has a secondary effect in that it adds form below the eyebrow and accentuates any
slight hollowness in the cheeks, giving a more provocative look.