I wasn’t sure what my signature style was until I had a model in the studio and he said the lighting setup that I had was my signature style and I had to agree. It is definitely my favorite lighting style and I use it whenever I can because it is very flattering to women and for men, it makes them look very successful.
My lighting style is somewhat flat lighting that you don’t typically see outside the board room. It’s also a very glamorous lighting style that has been used in Hollywood forever. Don’t get me wrong, I like dramatic lighting but it has its place and I like the light to be even on both sides of the model. This reduces heavy shadows on the side of the face.
Some people call it flat lighting but basically it consists of the same intensity light on either side of the model and a softbox or beauty dish directly above the camera but close to the model so that it sets up a scene where the shadows are soft and almost unnoticeable. You have to consciously look for the shadows and look at the catch light in the eye to see where the lights are. I also use a reflector under the face to eliminate the shadows on the neck. This makes a huge difference in the overall portrait. You may not be able to point out the difference but you feel there is something different about this kind of portrait.
Here's the lighting setup in the studio.
Here’s an example of a model without a reflector and with.
As you can see, using a reflector under the chin eliminates the deep shadows in the eye sockets, around the mouth and under the chin. This is a much more flattering look. The shadows in the first image do not add drama. In the second image, there are shadows but they are subtle and only serve to define the features. This lighting style is best for beauty portraits, corporate headshots, celebrities, athletes, etc.