How to Create Split Portrait Lighting in Under Two Minutes

Kat Armendariz

Posted on January 25 2019


How to Create Split Portrait Lighting in Under Two Minutes

A weekly Featured Article from

A special thank you goes out to Alex Schult, founder of PhotographyTalk. Original article composed and hosted by PhotographyTalk.


Kat Armendariz Kat on the Web

Split lighting is an important lighting setup to learn because it results in a beautifully dramatic shot.

The term split lighting comes from the fact that the light splits the model's face into two equal sides - one illuminated and the other in shadow.

As you can see above, the results are certainly worth the few moments it takes to get everything set up!

In fact, even if you've never used split lighting before, it'll only take two minutes for you to learn how to get started.

In the video above, our friend Kat Armendariz of hushXpose in Las Vegas offers a quick two-minute photography tip on how to set up split lighting for more dramatic portraits.


Not only will your split-light portraits have a lot of drama, but they'll also have beautiful depth as well thanks to the contrast between the illuminated and shadowed areas of the portrait.

Kat Armendariz Kat on the Web  split light for portraits image


Notice how the differentiation between the areas of light and shadow split Kat's face perfectly, creating a beautifully dramatic look.

Click here to get a beautiful backdrop for your portrait photography.


As Kat explains in the video, setting up a split lighting scenario is really simple.

Just put your light source at a 90-degree angle to the model, and position it slightly above their eye level, as shown in the diagram below:

Kat Armendariz Kat on the Web  split light for portraits image

When positioning the light source, you need to consider the structure of the model's face in order to get that perfect delineation between light and shadow.

And, as you can see in the sample images above, the shadowed areas don't have to be completely devoid of detail...notice how you can still see Kat's facial features on the shadowed side, including her eye.

Though faint, the details you see on the shadowed side will only give the shot that much more depth and dimension.

Kat Armendariz Kat on the Web   split light for portraits image

Of course, to complete the look, you need a beautiful portrait background, and perhaps even a floor too.

As you can see above, Kat is positioned in front of a Click Props Backdrops Natural Brick background and she's standing on a Dark Wood Stained Floor that makes this a quick and easy way to take the quality of your portraits up a notch - or two or three!

Learn More:

About Kat

Kat Armendariz Kat on the Web

Kat Armendariz is a published studio photographer in Las Vegas. She has a passion to create out-of-the-box portraiture and to give women an experience that will be a stepping stone to new found confidence.

Her photo studio sits in the heart of Las Vegas where she gets to work with incredible clients from all over the globe. Her studio, hushXpose, is a compilation of her two studio names: Hush Hush Shoot (boudoir photography), and Pose Las Vegas (glamour photography).

Kat Armendariz Kat on the Web

hushXpose offers an all­-inclusive Hollywood experience where Kat and her all­-female teamwork with clients one­-on­-one to create custom sets and scenes tailored to their clients.

Kat and her husband, Ephraim Armendariz, also own the US District for Click Props Backdrops, which specializes in professional-grade heavy-duty vinyl studio backdrops. Click Props Backdrops let you choose from an extensive and exclusive range of multi-award-winning backgrounds and floorgrounds to give you the opportunity of offering clients a multi-set portrait experience.



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