Hollywood Glamour Lighting Tutorial

Hollywood Glamour Lighting Tutorial


If you love light as much as I do, then the classic Hollywood glamour portraits of the 1930s and 40s are probably already on your radar. This month’s article is all about re- creating that classic vintage style—with a few modern twists.

This style of lighting doesn’t shy away from shadows, but relishes sharp transitions from highlight to shadow. Rapid falloff and deep shadows are two of its hallmarks, typically created using a two- to three-point lighting pattern, a key light, an accent light and a background light. We’ll use many standard lighting guidelines—facing the key and accent light at each other, sandwiching the light, lighting in a wedge formation, the use of a background light for separation— but change how the light is shaped and controlled, as well as the quality and source of the light. Check out this month’s video and lighting diagram for more on this.

Historically, Hollywood glamour portraits in the tradition of George Hurrell—arguably the originator of this style in the 1930s—were produced using tungsten-balanced constant- light sources, typically Fresnels, in black and white. Technology has come a long way since then, and given us white balance presets, control over color temperature in post and exponentially more constant light-source options.

Get the full story

To read the full article, launch the digital version of the November 2013 magazine.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. William Toon

    Years ago I ran across a book about George Hurrell and his lighting. I went back fo the book but it was gone. There was a twin reflector fixture I was interested in working with. I am retired now and I finally have time for my bucket list of things to accomplish
    Any info you can share would be appreciated

  2. Don

    Hi Laura,
    I was confused about this too!
    But if you received the link via email then you are already a ‘member’ so go to the ‘Log In’ area at the top of the page and enter your email and password and then you’ll have access to the new mag and all the older ones too. If you have not already subscribed (free btw) then sign up and then you’ll have access.

  3. laura

    More specifically, looking to find the bold below, listed at the bottom of your email,

    “Want to read this article? Log in and launch this free photography training magazine // November 2013 issue.”

  4. laura

    How do I get to the article training for the glamour lighting email you just sent out? Searching and not getting anywhere…. TIA!

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