Tripod Product Shots – BTS Part II

In the last Behind the Scenes, I talked a bit about Hard vs Soft Light. Today we move on to another couple concepts.

2. Key Light and Rim Light

Key Light & Rim Light

Click on photo to view large

Key Light can be defined as the main light source being used to light the object. If you’re using your pop up flash, or your on camera flash pointing straigh ahead in a dark scene – it will be your key light. One of the main ideas beind the “Strobist Philosophy” is to get the flash off the camera so that you can vary the angle and distance of your key light. In all of the tripod photos the key light is soft.

Rim Light is when the outer edge of an object looks like it is glowing due to a light behind the subject illuminating it on an angle. It is called rim light becuase it looks like the subject has a rim of light on one side or all around it (depending on the angle).  In all of the tripod photos the rim light is hard.

Aside: Fill light is the light used to bring out details in the shadow areas of a picture. These photo did not have a different specific light set up to create fill, as I used the rim light to create shape on the left of the tripod, and the soft key light brought out some of the details in the shadows.

Key Light & Rim Light

Click on photo to view large

Next post we learn How to put it all together!



4 Comments on “Tripod Product Shots – BTS Part II”

  1. Will Barton says:

    Good post Matt.

    I guess to complete the picture (if you’ll pardon the pun), the reason for rim light is generally one of two:
    The first is to provide separation from the background. This is particularly important in low key shots (such as yours above and as opposed to high-key shots) where the subject can very easily bleed into the background, leading to “confusion” in the viewer and overall detracting from the image.

    The second is to provide depth to the actual subject. This is especially the case when the key light is normal to the subject (close to the camera). In this situation the image can be pretty flat.


    • Matt Korinek says:

      Thanks Will! I think you put it nice and concisely. You are exactly right. I’m alway struggling to add enough information for everyone to get some inspiration while not bogging people down with too many words!! Still trying to find that perfect balance. 🙂

      I used the rim light both as a separation from the background and to provide more depth than with just the key light.

      • Will Barton says:

        I know what you mean about treading that fine line between enough info and too much. I had a terrible time with one of my first technical blogs. My intention was to briefly and quickly introduce and explain exposure; suffice to say about 1500 words later I slapped myself back to reality and only published a very brief version!

  2. […] so I’ll include some photos that should compliment what I wrote before on hard vs soft light, key and rim light and putting it all […]

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