This section is from the book "Complete Self-Instructing Library Of Practical Photography", by J. B. Schriever. Also available from Amazon: Complete Self-Instructing Library Of Practical Photography.
251. A second type of Rembrandt Lighting is one in which the head is photographed with the face to the side, or in profile, with eyes directed toward the light. The simplest method of procedure is to light the face of the subject for a Plain Portrait Lighting; then, without moving the subject, wheel the camera around to secure a side, or a nearly side face (profile) view of the head. The effect of the light and shade will be very satisfactory under these circumstances, yet it may be found that the shadow will prove a trifle lacking in transparency. If this is the case, make use of the reflector, placing it as near the camera as possible to avoid danger of cross lighting. Avoid using too low a side-light, as it would be liable to cause a glare on the subject's eyes, thereby producing excessively large catch-lights. Also avoid too direct a top-light, as it will cause the hair to appear too white.
252. A Rembrandt Profile Lighting is a profile view of the face, the outline being the only portion possessing a strong high-light. (See Illustration No. 19.) The rest of the face is in shadow, except a small spot of light on the top of the cheek bone, directly underneath the eye. It is necessary that this light be in this location, because if it were not there, the eye would not be sufficiently illuminated and would appear flat and dull. But, with the light coming across the top of the nose and striking the eye and cheek bone, clearness and roundness are given to the eye, and the general contour of the face is improved. The strongest light should fall upon the forehead, extending down the nose, tipping the lips and chin, and finally blending into the drapery. This light should become gradually softer as it descends from the forehead.
253. A great mistake in posing subjects for profile portraits is made, not only by beginners, but even by some experienced professionals, in that they fail to avail themselves of the opportunity of using an abundance of light. By cutting down and reducing the size of the source of light. they fail to secure a sufficient volume to properly illuminate the shadows with a reasonable amount of exposure. The results are hard negatives, with strong high-lights and flat, mushy shadows, lacking detail. It is for this reason that so few attempts are made at posing subjects for profile portraits.
254. In making Rembrandt Profile Lightings it is always essential that the subject possess a pleasing profile; also that the other facial features be well proportioned. A properly lighted profile is very pleasing; in fact, some of the strongest character studies are made by posing the subject in profile. Many of the profiles made by the average photographer - as before stated - lack the light necessary for this style of lighting. The right effects may be obtained by the use of plenty of light, properly controlled.
255. By referring to Illustration No. 20, it will be noted that an almost wide open light was employed, and yet the proper lighting was obtained. Even for this style of lighting the subject should be placed at the end of the room, where the light is the strongest, bearing in mind, of course, that the better lines of the subject must not be sacrificed in order to do it. Some subjects photograph best from the right side, owing to the better drawing of the face in that position. If you should pose such a subject for Rembrandt Lighting, illuminating the left side of the face, you would fail to do justice to the subject. The first consideration must be that side of the face which gives the most graceful and pleasing lines, or the best drawing. Then comes the proper place to secure good light to retain this drawing and yet make a Rembrandt Profile Lighting. If it becomes necessary to sacrifice anything, let it be the locating of the subject to secure the strongest light, as this style of lighting can be produced even in those portions of the room where the illumination is weak. In such a case, however, it will be necessary to use the reflector closer to the subject, because the light for illuminating the shadows is weaker.
Upper Illustration No. 19 See Paragraph No. 252.
Rembrandt Profile Lighting-Portrait.
Lower Illustration No. 20 See Paragraph No. 255
Rembrandt Profile Lighting-View of Room.
Illustration No. 22. Examples of Rembrandt Profile Lighting.
See Paragraph No. 261.
PORTRAIT STUDY Study No. 15-See Page 578, Vol. VIII B- J- FALK.
Rembrandt Profile Lighting.
Illustration No. 21. Rembrandt Profile Lighting-Floor Plan.
See Paragraph No. 258.
Under these circumstances less diffused light will be required, as the high-lights are already softened to a certain extent.
256. While not always the case, as a general rule it will be found that the left side of the subject will supply the better drawing and present the strongest character lines.
257. Place the background across the corner of the skylight room, with one end of it against the side-light. Then locate the subject within a few feet of the ground. The subject will be under the second section of the skylight. which will permit the use of all of the illumination coming from the open light to brighten the shadows. This illumination may at first seem too harsh and strong, but the resulting negative will be found to possess very soft shadows.
258. Observe in Illustration No. 21 the position of the various accessories, as well as the subject. Notice that the diffusing screen is placed between the sidelight and the subject. The curtains of this screen, being made in sections, are so arranged that any portion may be opened, or separated, to admit any required amount of direct light. In admitting light through the screen care must be exercised that it does not spread beyond the profile of the face. Remember the strongest light should fall on the forehead, the next in strength upon the nose, following down and tipping the lips and chin, finally blending off into the drapery.
259. It is absolutely necessary that the background in this style of portraiture receive some attention. The face should stand out in relief from the background and not appear sunken into it. This condition is caused by paying no attention to the illumination upon the background when lighting the subject. It is also just as essential that the background be properly illuminated as the subject; therefore, when separating the curtains of the diffusing screen, be sure to move those at the end of the screen nearest the background. This will illuminate the background, and at the same time secure the proper effect on the subject, giving roundness to the portrait and producing the desired relief and atmosphere. In illuminating some of the more dense shadows which cannot be brightened by diffused direct light, it will be found necessary to make use of a reflecting screen. The greatest care must be exercised in the use of this screen, lest too much reflected light be thrown into the shadows, thus obtaining stronger lights in these shadows than are present in the middle tones.
PORTRAIT STUDY Study No. 16-See Page 578, Vol. VIII C. J. VanDeventer.
260. As will be seen by referring to diagram of floor plan, Illustration No. 21, the reflector is placed practically at a right angle with the side-light. If it faced broadside to the light the reflected light coming from this screen would be more powerful than the direct illumination, and the shadows, instead of blending off gradually as they approached the rear of the head, would be choked with a false light. With the reflector at a distance of not less than three feet from the subject, turned to partly catch the direct light, the shadows will be sufficiently accentuated; but the reflected light will be very mild on these portions, merely assisting in producing the desired amount of detail.