Blogs » Lowel EDU: Key Light Position

Lowel EDU: Key Light Position

  • Looking at the image player you will see that the starting position for our Key light is 6:00, the same angle that the camera shooting the closeups will also be placed. Lighting from this angle will be flat and straight on, and there will be very little shadow because the light source is coming from approximately the same angle as the camera is seeing the subject. Notice the effect on the subject as the Key light moves around her. A normal position for the Key light in conventional portrait or talking head type lighting is around 5:00 or 7:00. Which side you chose to light with the Key from depends on which one looks better on the subjects face for the requirements of the shot. Lighting from this position is sometimes called the "3/4 position", since the light is clearly hitting 3/4 of the subjects face.


    Some lighting angles are more flattering than others. Some angles are more dramatic with great contrast between the areas of the face that are lit and those that are not, such as the 3:00 or 9:00 positions. Some angles, such as the 12:00 position behind her, are unsuitable for most normal shots, unless you are interviewing someone in the witness protection program. Keep in mind that we also had some low level ambient light on, so you could see the positions in the wide shots. Without that added light, the contrast effects would be even more dramatic. But, as you can see, there are a number of creative possibilities that one light can offer, just based on where you position it.


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