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.
Introduction. Preceding chapters have dealt with the photographing of subjects with Broad Lighting, the greater portion of the face being illuminated. Rembrandt Lightings are made, to a certain extent at least, in a similar manner, but the greater portion of the face is in shadow, and the high-lights and shadows are quite sharply-defined. The subject is placed in practically the same position, the camera alone being moved further from the light. Most Rembrandt pictures are characterized by strong shadows and small areas of strongly lighted parts of the subject. The side of the face may have a preponderance of shadow and high-lights, being full and forceful, or darker notes of emphasis may predominate. This does not mean that the person's head must be turned so as to give a full side view of the face, with a strong light thrown on the outline of the profile and the rest of the face and figure void of detail. This is precisely what a Rembrandt portrait should not be. In making Rembrandt Portrait Lightings there should be gradual blending from the highest points of light into the deepest shadows, and even in these deep shadows there must be some detail.
287. There are, practically speaking, three distinct lightings of Rembrandt character practiced in photography: Full or nearly full face portraits with illumination from the side; two-thirds side view with the face more or less looking toward the source of illumination; and full profile, in which the whole of the face is in shadow, only the outline receiving strong light. Sometimes this latter style is incorrectly termed Line Lighting.
Brief General Instruction.
288. In a Rembrandt Lighting the lights and shadows are very sharply defined, and usually the greater portion of the face is in shadow.
Definition Of Rembrandt Lighting. When lighting according to the rules of Rembrandt, care must be exercised to obtain the proper angle of light. The strongest light should fall upon the forehead, extending down the face and tipping the chin. The nose should be the dividing line of the light on the face. The light should not be too sharp and decisive. It should spread slightly across the nose and rest in a diffused form on the opposite cheek directly underneath the eye, on the shadow side of the face, thereby supplying illumination to that eye. The iris of this eye should catch a slight ray of light as it flows across the face, sufficient to produce a little catch-light. (See Illustration No. 16.)
290. Place the subject quite close to the light, and lower the diffusing screen sufficiently to soften the strongest lights. Make liberal use of the reflecting screen in this style of lighting, placing it as close as necessary to the subject, but exercise care that the strong reflected light is not cast on the shadow ear. Remember, reflected light should be simply a continuation of the direct source of light, and its function is to soften the harsh line which would otherwise exist between the strong high-lights and the shadows.
Upper Illustration No. 16 - See Paragraph No. 289 Lower Illustration No. 17 - See Paragraph No. 291.
AT-HOME PORTRAITURE-REMBRANDT LIGHTING
AT-HOME PORTRAIT Study No. 9 - See Page 402.