The Five Point Portrait Lighting Set-up

Five-point Lighting is any lighting set up that uses five lights in any configuration, though it’s most commonly used to create the illusion of depth and dimension to your subject(s) in your video footage. Though the five lights can be set up in any configuration you desire, the most traditional configuration is the following:

The Key light is the main light used to light your subject. Traditionally it is pointed at an angle of 45° to your subject, though you can change he angle of the key light to achieve the look that you desire.

The Fill light is traditionally placed on the opposite side of your subject to the Key light, set to a lower intensity, to fill in the shadows cause by the light fall off from the Key light, which prevents the opposite side of your subject falling to complete darkness.

The Separation Light (also known as a Back Light or Hair Light) provides a halo of light around the back of your subject which helps to separate them from the background. Without this light, the subject can sometimes blend into the background which can sometimes cause problems during post-production.

The remaining two lights are traditionally used as Background Lights to independently light your background. To get the most even coverage, it is best to place one light on either side of your background, and let the beams cross each other so that the light seems to just flood the background.

If you are using any sort of Green Screen work, or you would like a perfectly white backdrop in your shot, the traditional 5-point lighting set up almost a necessity to enable you to achieve the best results possible.

Traditional 5-Point Lighting