It doesn’t matter if you are just starting out using lighting in your stills and video or an industry veteran, these tips will help you consistently achieve great results when shooting people. Even with only two or three lights anyone can achieve great looking images on video or stills. A typical starting point for professional camera people is always the basic three point lighting setup. From there you can adapt the light setup to achieve the mood you like on your shoot.
When three point lighting, the lights used are normally Key, Fill and Backlight (Hair light). The Key Light is the strongest light hitting your subject (or Talent), and the main source of light in the shot.
The Fill light is from the opposite side to the Key light and is there to reduce contrast and lighten shadows on the subject. Depending on how much contrast or shadow and definition you want on your subject, the Fill light can be moved closer or further away to vary the intensity (brightness). For a soft Fill light it can be filtered or bounced to diffuse it, or placed further away reduce the light’s brightness hitting the subject.
The Backlight (Hair Light) hits your subject from behind and or above which separates the subject from the background by making the edges of the subject’s body pop.