Make Your Portrait Subject Face the Light Source For More Flattering Light

Working with off-camera lighting is a lot easier than most people think. But one thing that many people don’t understand is a very simple concept about lighting: when shooting portraits, it’s often best to make your subject face the light source to deliver a flattering image. Why?

The answer has to do with wraparound lighting.


At a recent workshop I was teaching I was interacting with the audience to pose Bec above. This is the image I was able to produce when she looked towards the light. The light was inside a seven foot umbrella, so angling her face made the light wrap around her face. What this did is made the lighting output overall just look more flattering.


Then when her face was facing away from the light, it cast a harder shadow across her face. It creates an almost Rembrandt type of light, but isn’t as flattering as the previous image.

Seems very small right? Yes, but it’s very effective.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.