What is Loop Lighting

Horace He

Last Updated: December 26, 2023

What is Loop Lighting

Loop lighting is a lighting pattern commonly used in portrait photography. It is achieved by positioning the key light at a 45-degree angle to the side of the subject and raising it just above their eye line. This setup creates a circular shadow, known as the “loop,” on the subject’s face just under the nose. The loop shadow is formed on the opposite side of where the light is placed. One of the defining characteristics of loop lighting is the longer shadow that is cast under the chin and jaw due to the downward slope of the light.

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Loop lighting is considered to be one of the most flattering lighting setups for most faces in portrait photography. It creates a three-dimensional effect and adds depth to the image. The resulting loop-shaped shadow under the nose adds a touch of drama and visual interest to the portrait. This lighting technique is achieved by using a single light source, such as an off-camera flash, positioned at the specified angle. Loop lighting is a popular choice among photographers, especially those who are looking to create dynamic and visually appealing portraits.

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