No Broads Allowed
by Steve Kozak
M. Photog., CR.
Have you ever heard of a woman wanting to known as a “broad”? Neither have I! Which is why we generally never “broad” light a woman.
“So, what is ‘broad’ lighting”, you ask?
If you look at this example, I have divided the face with an imaginary line at the nose.
One side of the face is wider (or broad) and the other side is narrower (or short).
In photographic terms, we describe the lighting style as “broad” or “short” depending on which side of the face the main light is placed. In other words, which side of the face does the main light strike first?
If the main light is placed so that it first strikes the broad side of the face, then it is referred to as “broad lighting”.
Since “broad lighting” tends to make a face look “fuller”, it tends to add weight to the face. This is why we almost never broad light a woman!
If the main light is placed so that it first strikes the short side of the face, then it is referred to as “short lighting”.
These fundamental lighting patterns can be found and created in the studio as well as outdoors.
Now it is your turn. See if you can identify the lighting pattern in the following images:
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