Use Rim Light to Improve Your Portraits

Use Rim Light to Improve Your Portraits

When you working during a photo session, you may find that your subject looks silhouetted by an outline of dazzling, powerful light, which may be created by a LED light just behind the model. It looks charming, fascinating, which enhances your subject as well as brings about striking visual effects. We always call it: Rim light.

Lighting use is always like a big test in portrait photography. The art of portrait lighting can not only improve the visual effects but also bring out the personality of an individual. Among all the portrait lighting, rim lighting is a good way to create powerful photos to express your theme and emotion.

This article will explore the secret of rim light. Now let’s start from the definition.


Photo by Eli Infante

What is Rim Light?

Rim light is a thin line of glow surrounding the point of attention which outline the shape of the subject, and it’s an excellent skill to experiment with if you’re looking to add something special to your works. Rim light can be created by backlight, Rembrandt light, top light or light from some angels. You can make this by positioning your light equipment so there’s a strong enough light that falls on them from behind, top or a certain point. There will always be surprising effects when you trying to make rim light.


The Magic of Rim Light

The nice visual effect of rim light comes from the contrast between light and dark. There will be a  stunning contrast between the silhouette of the subject and the dark background, and the dramatic chiaroscuro effects can transform the simple compositions into powerful dream-like images. Rim light can give your works:


  • Rim light can enhance my subject, which willdetach the model from the background, instead of using the traditional light spot point source directly on the backdrop, to create detachment from the subject.

  • Show the outline feature and facial features of your model, express the personality of an individual.

  • Emotions and artistic appeal can also be splendidly conveyed in an professional way by using rim light.


Photo by Eli Infante

How to Create Rim Light

Realization of rim light is not complicated. Keep your studio in low light condition. Choose a dark background to extrude your subject and enhance the effect of rim light. Then you can set a studio strobes, flash or a LED light which can adjust color temperature right behind or on the top of the model, and point it back directly at the subject.

But please remember to set a main light as a fill light for lighting the subject with a soft box, or you can use a reflector. 




Please contact me if you have any question about photography. Your requirements are always our priority! Check out our Blog Page for more inspirations.

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