Natural Light Basics

Lesson 7/9 - Finding the Perfect Rim Light


Natural Light Basics


Lesson Info

Finding the Perfect Rim Light

Here's how to make your subjects glow and how to find the perfect rim light every time. All right, excited? Here's how we're gonna do it. One, creating rim light. You find backlight or glow in your environment. So, what you do is, I'm looking around, if I see trees that have nice green and the trees and the leaves look like they're glowing, if I put my subject there, guess what, my subject's gonna glow too. So, I use my environment to give me clues of where to put the subject. So, I'm looking for things that are glowing in my environment and then I put the subject right there, they're gonna glow also. So that's a key how to find it, and you place the subject's head shadow in the middle of the hotspot. Another thing is, let's say I'm going around and I'm in trees, and you see hotspots and shadows, let me show you, I'll show you in the next slide, on exactly how to do it. And then when you expose, you expose for how much glow you want around the subject, okay? So, if you expose for your ...

background, you're gonna get reduced glow a lot of times. So, it's okay to blow out your backgrounds if you want a lot of glow. If you don't want a lot of glow, then you know, you can adjust accordingly, but that's your call, right? There's no right or wrong way. You decide how much glow you want to do, okay? So, then if you happen to have a reflector or you put them in open shade, it's gonna look better. So, rim light, why it's so impressive is that it really adds depth to your picture and it makes your subject stand out. So there's two things that I'm looking for all the time, I'm looking for catch lights and I'm looking for rim light, because that's the light that's gonna be beautiful. For me, especially for my signature style, that's what I'm looking for all the time. Alright, so let's go here. So, you're walking around Hawaii and you're with these banyan trees that are hundreds of years old, and you're looking on the ground, and you're seeing these hotspots, right? And go, "Well how can I get that hair to glow?" You look at the hotspots and you put the shadow of the subject's head, right in the middle of the hotspot. And every single time, you will get glow, okay? So that's how you find glow, you look at the shadow where it's falling. If you see a hotspot over there, then you make sure that the shadow is hitting the subject and the middle of their head is right in the middle of that hotspot, and you'll get a perfect glow every single time. Here we're doing it here, and now they have open shade at the same time. Now I'm getting beautiful lighting, I'm getting the light behind, making the glow, and I'm exposing for whatever glow that I want, right? Then I've got open shade, to give me those beautiful catch lights at the same time. So, I'm using two light sources to give me my natural light images. Which looks very sophisticated, and beautiful without even setting anything up. Here, the sun is coming, it's reflecting around them, giving them a glow, but it's also hitting the wall that's right next to me, and firing back in them. So I'm getting reflected light at the same time, with the hotspot. Here, she's jumping up in the air, she really accentuates this glowing feeling by wearing this sheer covering. And I'm using that sun that's coming in behind her, and I don't care if I'm blowing things out. That's okay. I'm blowing it out because I want that glow-y feel. That ethereal feel. And so that's what I'm going for. Again here, the backlight is very slight at this point. So here, this is what I love about that. Look at the highlight around her shoulder. Isn't that beautiful? So when I see that, and just the skin, the bare skin around that little bit of rim light, is always a very pleasing and sexy thing. To get that rim light that's just a little bit about this and now I pointer her nose more towards the light so I could see her face. A lot of photographers would make a mistake, if they're not experienced, that her nose might be pointing at a different direction. It might be pointing at me, or it might be pointing over to her left-hand side. So then, her face won't light up. And I see that time and time, over and over again, always get that nose towards the light so you can get a nice photo. Here, the light is coming on my subject, and look at that rim light that's lighting her up. I'm exposing for that. That rim light. I could care less what the background looks like. If it's there, fine. If it's not there, fine. I just want that beautiful rim light on my subject, and that's what I'm exposing for, to create that glow. Here, I'm using two sources, there's a window behind her, and there's a beautiful light source open, it's like a doorway, giving it light on her eyes. It's actually reflecting on the ground, and pumping a nice reflector on the ground, lighting her up. So I got two sources of light right there, with the rim light. Here, same thing. There's a window behind her, but as you go into hotel rooms, you're gonna see mirrors all the time. This mirror was positioned right by the bed and I could sandwich light it, and I could get beautiful catch lights, but also get that rim light behind my subject here.

Class Description

Join award-winning photography Scott Robert Lim as he breaks down lighting basics and how to find great light and solve problems when in difficult lighting situations. He'll cover how to work through extremely bright light by using your environment and the available resources only. He'll also discuss how to use reflectors and diffusers to control the light and how to keep your set up really light with minimal gear and still get amazing images.


Phillip Tour

Great course!!! I learn a lot about natural light, im very good with natural light but I can't wait to get out of my studio and start shot again with natural light! Thank You Scott!!!

a Creativelive Student

Excellent Lesson from Scott. Easy to understand. One of the best CL Lessons I have ever watched. Good job

Luna Esterhuizen

One of the best classes of so far. I liked the way he demonstrated what he was talking about. Lots of fun and I learned a lot.