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Edge Lighting aka Rim Lighting in Studio Photography

Learn how to do edge lighting aka rim lighting from professional photographer Chris Ryan in this Howcast video.


My name is Chris Ryan. I'm a photographer. We're here at my studio, Chris Ryan Photography, in northwest Portland. If you'd like to see more of my work, please visit my website at, or if you'd like to follow my daily activities, go to my Facebook page, Chris Ryan Photography in Portland, Oregon. Today, I'm going to talk to you about studio photography. So, studio lighting techniques. The technique I'm going to be talking about right now is edge lighting or rim lighting when it applies to portraiture. Our model, Marika, is in the center of this array of lights. We have two to her side, and these are creating the edge, or the rim lights. And then we have a light in back here with a colored gel, an orange gel that is hitting the black background. And I chose orange because it matches Marika's hair as well as the tone of her belt. It gives a little bit of contrast between her and the background. And as a front light, we have a beauty dish that is ratioed down a bit as compared to the edge lights. We want a nice strong edge to get her shoulders, the side of her face, and her hair to give her a nice edge. And then the beauty dish in front is just filling it. That's one technique in studio photography...edge light.

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