Split lighting is one of my new favorite types of way to manipulate light. I first learned about split lighting in Megan Cieloha’s workshop – Lighting 201: Mastering Natural Light Indoors. Her class taught me how to take advantage of the light I have in my house as well as taking really cool split light images. If you are wanting to learn more about natural light you MUST take this workshop!
Lighting truly can make or break an image. It can give your image a soft dreamy or dramatic feel. Learning as much as you can about lighting will quickly improve your photography.
How to create an image with split lighting:
1. Get your subject close to a light source.
I have found that split lighting is easier to achieve indoors since you can control to a point where the light is coming from. Sit your subject as close or far from a window as the type of lighting you are looking for.
2. Place subject and yourself at a 90 degree angle.
You want the light to only be hitting your subject at a 90 degree angle. This helps to create that look of only one side of your subject having light and the other in complete darkness.
3. Look for a line down the enter of their face.
Since your subject should be at a 90 degree angle you should see a line of light running down the middle of their face. If you don’t see that line your subject may have moved and is no longer at a 90 degree angle. This can be a challenge with small children.
4. Convert to black and white.
Okay, this is a personal choice as I think it makes your image a little more dramatic and really draws the viewer in to see the light and dark sides of the image. You can also use your burn tool in Lightroom or Photoshop to help darken the side that is not facing the light.
5. Play around.
Seriously, get your camera, grab a willing subject and just play with the light. Don’t forget to move them closer and further away from the light to find which type of light works better on that subject and time of day.
Have you tried split lighting? What is your favorite type of lighting?