Butterfly lighting is a classic lighting setup in which the light is placed directly above the model's face.
This arrangement creates a shadow under their nose that looks like a butterfly, thus the name!
If you think butterfly lighting looks complicated or sounds complicated to set up, think again...
In the video above, our go-to portrait expert Kat Armendariz of hushXpose in Las Vegas shows us how to get this beautiful type of lighting in under two minutes.
As Kat explains in the video, creating butterfly lighting starts with your lighting setup.
As noted above, the light is placed directly above the model to get the butterfly shadow under the nose.
The diagram above shows the relationship of the light and the camera to the model. Notice how in the side view you can see the positioning of the light above the model to get that butterfly shadow we want.
To soften the light, Kat has double-diffused her beauty dish. Note as well that the StrobePro Strobe she's using is at half power to soften the light even more.
The camera is set up about 12 feet from the backdrop, which is Urban Arrow Grafitti by Click Props Backdrops that you see in the photo above.
When it comes to posing, Kat recommends that the model has their chin out to elongate the neck.
Be wary of the neck looking tense, though - strive for an elongated and relaxed neck.
It helps matters if you instruct the model to relax their lips and curl their lips upward toward the ears slightly as well.
As you can see, the results of this setup turned out pretty awesome!
You can do the same with basic lighting and camera gear, and a little practice too :)
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).
hushXpose offers an all-inclusive Hollywood experience where Kat and her all-female team work 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.