Renowned photographer and Canon Explorer of Light Joel Grimes is known for creating impeccably clean and stylized lifestyle portraits. His signature style of Rembrandt cross lighting involves feathering two light sources at different brightnesses onto his subject.

Joel starts by placing his light sources opposite each other, parallel to his camera access. He then adjusts the position of the key light in relation to his subject, until he has the perfect Rembrandt-specific triangle of light under his subject’s eyes. Since every face is shaped differently, the position of the key light will change for every subject.

Cross Lighting Setup (2)

Lighting Setup

For this setup, Joel utilizes a strobe in a �x4' Rapid Box Switch for the key light. For the secondary light, he utilizes a strobe in a �x4' Rapid Box Switch. This secondary light is set 1-stop lower than the key light and is directionally controlled by a 40-degree egg-crate grid.

Joel Grimes Cross Lighting Portrait (2)

ISO 100 • f1.4 • 1/400

Watch more photography tutorials featuring Joel Grimes here.

Joel Grimes Cross Lighting Portrait

ISO 100 • f1.4 • 1/400

Lighting Gear in Action