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.
The Lighting. A Rembrandt Profile Lighting is a profile view of the face, the outline being the only portion having a strong high-light. The rest of the face is in shadow except on the shadow cheek underneath the eye, where there is a small catch-light sufficient to supply illumination, giving roundness and clearness to this eye. In lighting the profile proceed exactly as you would for any other lighting. The strongest light should fall on the forehead, extending down the bridge of the nose, tipping the lips and chin, and finally blending into the drapery. This light should gradually soften as it descends from the forehead.
Use Plenty Of Light. Many make a great mistake when posing subjects for profile portraits, for they fail to avail themselves of the opportunity of using plenty of light and, consequently, their pictures present a mass of smudgy shadows with harsh high-lights for an outline, with no half-tone values present. The picture as a whole lacks the brilliancy which is so essential in profile portraiture. All this can be overcome and the necessary brilliancy obtained by the proper handling of the diffusing screen and making free use of all the light you have at your command.
350. You will observe in floor plan No. 19 how the subject, background and reflecting screen are located for producing this style of lighting. Owing to the fact that you are working against the light you, of course, do not have as much general diffusion of light in the shadows as you would have in other classes of portraits, for there is no way of admitting light into the shadows from your source of illumination; therefore, the larger the window or source from which you receive your light the better. This is why, under the studio skylight, these lightings are very much simplified, for under a large light plenty of illumination is available and all that is required is the proper controlling of the angle of light to produce the correct lighting, and less use of the reflecting screen is necessary; but, for one working by the ordinary window free use must be made of the reflector.
Illustration No. 19 See Paragraph No. 350.
Proper View Of The Face. Perhaps one of the most important considerations in profile portraiture is the photographing of the best side of the face. In every subject there is what is known as the good and bad side, a right and wrong side of the face. By this we mean that the lines of the face are more graceful from one side than the other; there is more expression of character and the outline is more pleasing from the one side than the other. Usually the left side supplies the most character. The best side of the face is determined principally by the outline of the chin and forehead.