Getting Dramatic With Rembrandt Lighting; Ryan Lochte Portrait Photograph

Sometimes, you just have to get dramatic. For me, using 'Rembrandt Lighting' in photos, comes in at a close second to listening to Coldplay in the rain, as of means of achieving drama bliss. Here's an example in a portrait I photographed of "Ryan Lochte, an American competitive swimmer and an eleven-time Olympic medalist. His seven individual Olympic medals rank as second all-time in men's swimming" (wiki).

The word chiaroscuro isn't just convoluted artistic babble. It's the key to unlocking a new way of seeing and capturing the world. Basically, chiaroscuro refers to the strong use of light/dark in a scene a.k.a. high contrast. In photography and film it's often referred to as "Rembrandt lighting." The look is not only beautiful but creates an effect of three dimensionality on a subject. This idea of dark/light originated during the renaissance, as a way of shading in drawing. The famous painter/artist Rembrandt used the technique, to create striking emotion and realistic shading in his work.

See the light...

The easiest way for me to "see it" is to look for an inverted triangle shape of light, usually under, one of the subject's eyes. You can see the effect on Ryan, from a highly placed key light source, camera left, hitting the subject from less than a 45 degree angle.