The butterfly lighting setup is one of the most basic lighting setups that you can use as a beginner in photography. It’s simple to set up and creates soft, pretty shadows on your subject’s face.


butterfly lighting

What Is butterfly lighting?

Butterfly lighting is a very popular portrait lighting style. The reason it’s called butterfly lighting is because the shadow below your nose looks like a butterfly. A

The setup is pretty simple – you need a light source above your subject at around 45 degrees.

You then place a reflector below the subject’s face to fill in the shadows (otherwise their face will be too dark). It doesn’t need to be anything special – it could be white cardboard or even just some folded paper will work fine.


What Is Butterfly Lighting In Photography?

This type of lighting is perfect for portraits of women or men and can also be used on weddings and other events.

One light is positioned above and slightly behind the subject, while the second light is positioned in front of the subject, but below the first light source. This produces shadows and highlights on your subject’s face like a butterfly’s wings.

Each light should be placed slightly above and behind the main subject.

If you are using a flash instead of continuous light, use a piece of cardboard or black foam core to create a “flag” that will block the light from spilling forward onto your background.

Use the reflector card to bounce some light back into the shadows that have been created by your lights.

What Is Butterfly Lighting Used For?

Butterfly lighting is a type of lighting that’s created by using two lights to cast shadows in opposite directions, giving the subject’s face a slimming effect.

This kind of lighting is more flattering for some subjects than others, so you may need to experiment with it when you’re first starting out. It can be used for any kind of subject, but it’s particularly good for full-length shots of people or objects where you want to avoid shadows.

Trying this kind of lighting out is easy; just find a clear space and place two lights in different positions facing each other. Make sure the lights are low enough that they won’t create a shadow on your subject, and make sure there isn’t anything else nearby that will cast a shadow on your subject while using butterfly lighting.

Once you’ve set up the lights, position your camera so that it’s between the two lights. Most cameras have an auto-focus feature that will help you find the right distance from your subject. Then take a test shot and look at how the shadows fall across your subject.

If they’re not what you want, try moving one or both of the lights around until you get the right effect.

What Features Identify A Photo As Having Butterfly Lighting?

Butterfly lighting is a very common lighting set up that gives off a soft and dreamy look to your subject.

The light comes from above your subject, with two lights on either side of them pointing down at them. This softens the shadows, giving you that butterfly look.

This lighting technique is used in many different applications such as portraits, beauty shots, lifestyle photography and weddings. In this article I’ll show you what features identify a photo as having butterfly lighting.

Butterfly lighting tutorial

Setting up butterfly lighting is easy. All you need are three lights set up in a triangle shape around your subject. Here’s what it looks like:

The main light is in the middle and the two rim lights are on either side of your subject.

In order for it to have that “butterfly” look, the rim lights should be pointed down at about 45 degrees or so. The closer the rim lights are to your subject, the more dramatic the effect will be. You can also play around with where you place them and how far apart they are from each other to get different results.

For instance if you want a more dramatic shadow behind your subject then keep them further apart from each other:

Here I’ve positioned my rim lights

The Basics Of Butterfly Lighting

Butterfly lighting is an iconic lighting technique that has been used in studio portrait photography for decades. It’s also a very versatile lighting style that can be used in both portraits as well as product photography. Whether you’re shooting a headshot, a product or anything else, butterfly lighting is a great starting point because it’s easy to set up, easy to modify and fairly forgiving of mistakes.

Description:The butterfly lighting technique takes advantage of the way light reflects off of different surfaces to create pleasing, natural-looking light with dramatic shadows. The name comes from the shape that the main light creates on the subject’s face, which resembles a butterfly.

Essentially, butterfly lighting is created by placing two lights on either side of your subject at 45 degree angles to your camera position. There are several variations of this technique, but the basic setup always remains the same: one main light from camera left and one from camera right.

The main light from camera left should be just outside of your subject’s forehead and aimed slightly down at them. This will be your butterfly wing light. The other light should be aimed higher and brighter than the butterfly wing light so it crosses over onto your subject’s cheekbone to form the other wing – this is called the spotlight or hairline light

What Do You Need To Capture Butterfly Lighting?

What is butterfly lighting? It’s a perfect backlighting that creates a third dimension on the subject and highlights texture.

To get this effect, you will need to shoot your product against a white seamless or white paper, or use a reflector to bounce light into your scene. I like to use foam core boards (sometimes called “white foam boards”) for my backdrops because they are lightweight and easy to carry around. You can also use any kind of white paper if you don’t have access to any of these materials.

Let’s take a look at some examples of what butterfly lighting can do:

Butterfly lighting can add depth to flat objects like cards and stationery products. Notice how the light on the card behind the iPhone in the first photo gives it more dimension.

Butterfly lighting can give dimension to textured objects like jewelry, clothing, and other fabric items. With both photos below I used a tri-fold foam core board as my backdrop and one speedlight with an egg crate diffuser in front of the model.

Then I added two bare speedlights behind her as my fill lights, which bounced off the back wall and added some more light on her face. The main light was set up at camera left in both photos and pointed

What You Need For Butterfly Lighting Setup?

Butterfly lighting setup is one of the most popular lighting schemes for portrait photography. The key element of butterfly lighting is that it illuminates both sides of the face evenly.

This makes butterfly lighting a great choice for photographing people with symmetrical faces, such as models, actors and actresses. It’s also a good choice when you want to create a more dramatic or moody portrait effect because it softens shadows and produces a highly flattering light on skin tones.

The butterfly lighting setup can be applied in two ways:

Butterfly Lighting Using One Light. This type of butterfly lighting setup is produced by placing one light directly behind your subject, shining on the background (or wall). Ideally, the light should be placed at 45 degrees to the left or right of your subject, depending on how much light you want on their face or background.

Butterfly Lighting Using Two Lights. This butterfly lighting setup uses two lights — a main light (such as an umbrella) placed behind your subject and pointed toward the background, and a fill light coming from the front (i.e., from your camera position). This type of butterfly lighting is used when you want more detail in both the face and background of your photo.

How To Set Up A Butterfly Lighting Pattern

Butterfly lighting is one of the most popular lighting styles for photographing products, especially jewelry. In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to create a butterfly lighting pattern in Adobe Photoshop and then photograph products with it.

Tutorial Resources:

Step 1: Create a New File in Adobe Photoshop.

Create a new document in Adobe Photoshop that is 5 inches wide by 10 inches tall at 300 dpi. This will be the size of your printed pattern. If you are planning on printing your pattern on a different paper then the measurements should be changed accordingly.

Step 2: Fill Your Background With Black.

Fill your background layer with black using the Paint Bucket Tool (G).

Step 3: Create A Gradient Map Adjustment Layer.

Next, create a Gradient Map Adjustment layer (Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map). Click OK when you have chosen your settings and then fill this layer with white using the Paint Bucket tool (G). Use 50% Opacity for your Gradient Map layer to keep the lights and darks in balance.

Step 4: Set Up Your Butterfly Lighting Pattern With A Grid Overlay Layer.

Go to Filter > Other > Grid to open the Grid filter and set up your grid overlay layer

What Equipment Do You Need For Butterfly Lighting?

What equipment do you need for butterfly lighting? I’m building my own and want to use a hotshoe flash instead of a speedlight. Is that possible? — Bette

Yes, it is possible. You can use any camera that takes a hot shoe flash, so you’re not limited to the Nikon brand. I’ve used an old Nikon SB-25 with great success. The hotshoe flash will be the main light, and you can add a reflector (maybe) or another off-camera flash to fill in shadows, if you need more light.

I’ve also seen setups using two flashes: one on camera, aimed high to light the model’s face, and another off camera, aimed low to light her body. This isn’t butterfly lighting per se (the flash on camera doesn’t get bounced off the ceiling), but it’s a similar technique.

As for setting up the lights, I recommend placing them about 45 degrees from your subject and about 4 feet above her head. That will put your model in the “V” formed by the two lights. You could put one on either side of her head, or both on the same side (if she’s seated). The goal is to have both lights at about 45 degrees from your

How To Set Up Butterfly Lighting Effectively

Lighting is a great way to add drama and depth to an image. In this video, we take a look at how to set up butterfly lighting for your subject. Butterfly lighting creates a rim light around the ears that draws attention to the eyes of your subject. This effect is perfect for portrait photographers or anyone interested in adding a catch light or reflection to their images.


Place your subject facing away from the camera with their head tilted down slightly, and then turn on an overhead light and place it above their head.

Set up another light directly behind the subject and aim it toward them. You should be able to see the backlight on the top of their head and shoulders. If you can’t see it, try adjusting the power of the backlight until it is visible.

Next, adjust your camera’s exposure settings to control how much light is hitting both your subject and background. Keep in mind that you want most of your focus on your subject so don’t overexpose your background too much.*

Set up a reflector opposite of your subject to bounce some of the light back into them if needed.*

5.*Place your camera directly in front of your subject, zoomed all the way out

Butterfly Lighting: Conclusion

What makes the Butterfly Lighting Work so well is that the light strikes you from all angles, thus giving a soft and natural looking effect to your pictures. This lighting is perfect for people who want to look their best in every photo.

Trying it out at home is very simple, just take a white sheet of paper as a background and hold it up at different distances from your camera lens. Keep changing the distance until you get the best results and you will be surprised with how great your photos will look.

My wife and I purchased the butterfly lighting and we love it! We have it in our living room and we are able to keep the lights on at night. The butterflies are so pretty, they give the living room a very romantic feel.

They add charm to the room and make it look amazing. It makes you feel like you are in some exotic place. I love the way they flutter around, they look so real that you think they will fly away any minute. Overall I am very pleased with this product, it brings a warm glow to my home and makes my family feel relaxed and happy. Highly recommended.