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The Portrait, 2nd Edition by Tim Meyer, Glenn Rand

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7 Lighting Patterns on the Human Face

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© Arthur Rainville (Courtesy of the artist)

In discussing how to control lighting patterns on the face, we must first define two primary concerns of the lighting’s effect. First are the five planes that determine how light works on the surfaces of the face. The second is best defined by an approach to lighting the face.

Planes of the Face

There are five primary surfaces, or planes, that receive light in the portrait setting and thus determine the look of the image. They are, from largest to smallest, the forehead, the two cheeks, the nose, and the chin. While other parts of the face could be defined, such ...

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