Choosing the proper main light is based on the size of the group; whether you’re photographing full length or close up; and analysis of the face, age, and how much correction is needed. We’ll discuss facial analysis in future articles, as a small light on a wrinkled face will produce deep wrinkles and a larger light will soften or lighten the shadows.
For this article, we’ll talk about the placement of the main light to teach patterns, instead of placement for correcting for big noses, wide noses, oval faces, double chins, bald heads, etc. There are seven positions that the main light produces. (Our examples are in black and white to better show you the differences.) These are broad, short, split, butterfly, modified butterfly, Rembrandt broad, and Rembrandt. Each pattern of light will change the look of the mask of the face. The job of the portrait photographer is to excel in using the correct lighting pattern to correct any flaws of the face, or to enhance the face.