Key Light: Where, When & Why: Illumination Experience

INCLUDED IN THIS LESSON:  1:22 Hours of Video Instruction, lighting schematics, side by side light comparisons

IN THIS LESSON YOU WILL LEARN:  This is where it all starts, the key light and the human face. The window into your character’s soul, their emotions, and motivations. It is the most important subject you will ever light, and it all starts with where to place your key light. Shane takes what you think you knew were the basics and turns them on their head into one of the most elegant approaches to lighting you will ever find. He gives you 5 things to look for when lighting any face, and along with covering the classic key light positions, Shane shows you how moving the key light around the subject even just a few degrees can dramatically change the feeling of your shot.

This lesson is a master class in how to light a face for emotional impact.  I dive deep into showing you exactly what I am looking at when lighting a face.  What unique angles, what types of light positions deliver specific feelings.

  • 5 things to look for when lighting any face:
    • Drop shadow
    • The Wedge
    • Eye reflection
    • Nose shadow
    • Eye shadow
  • When to use certain types of diffusion
  • Where to place your diffusion
  • Secrets to organic looking bounce light
  • How to use color checkers to ensure rich accurate skin tones
  • How to know what side to light a subject from
  • Shane’s proprietary technique for testing how to light faces
  • The power of shaping light
  • Lighting in layers
  • Finding the emotion of a scene
  • Making the talents eyes “pop”
  • How angle of light can affect character perception/emotion/beauty


<<<Cory R>>> This Lesson changed the way I think about light. It was a game changer for sure.
<<<John RH>>> Worth every penny. 70 minutes of eye opening concept and why’s.
<<<Jorel>>> Just started shooting my second feature and after this Lesson I was 50/50-ing, and Rembranting, and eye-lighting, and assigning camera language to characters… And producers and directors were blown away. Couldn’t have done it without what I’ve learned from Shane.


pauloleitejr 17 days ago

This lesson would be much easier to understand if within the “text book” there would be the light schemes, timecodes and stills of each setup.

pauloleitejr 17 days ago

Quick one: If Shanes always Keying and Filling from the same side, when the Key went over to the 6-9 side wasnt the fill commin from the opposite side?? Or was the fill exactly dead front?

  • Reply
    • Shane Hurlbut, ASC    15 days ago

      @pauloleitejr Hi Paul, yes it is frontal. That is the whole concept, when you move your key light, I am also moving the fill source so that it all stays on one side

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fengyunjuan 3 days ago

hoping there would have subtitles