I'm not sure how to describe it, but I'll post a few examples of what I mean via rapper 50 Cent, who seems to make frequent use of it:

enter image description here

enter image description here

The lighting and camera shot seems setup in such a way as to make the cheekbones stick out, which is really cool. I'm sure there's some makeup stuff going on too. Curious how one might go about replicating this, in terms of lights, camera settings, camera angle (is it a bit upwards and pointing down?), etc.

Is there a specific name for this? Tutorial links welcome as well if it's a specific known thing.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Just for the record: Photographer use this technique, not the rapper! \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 14, 2018 at 6:21
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ I'm quite sure this is not really making frequent use of a particular style, but reusing the same photograph, with some digital alteration. Not that it really matters for the question. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Oct 14, 2018 at 12:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ Progression of the two images blended, in case you are skeptical. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Oct 14, 2018 at 12:46

1 Answer 1


I'll be back to add examples to this later but wanted to get it started.

From the eyes, it looks like clamshell lighting using a circular or octagonal main light and a big square reflector or big square light on the bottom.

Both sides are lit using harder light sources, using either a grid or snoot to control the direction of the light. Look up rim lighting for more on this.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I think the catchlights in the eyes are a reflection of the fill lights. The two main lights are on either side of the subject, slightly behind the subject, and at a about the same level as the subject's head. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Commented Oct 14, 2018 at 20:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ These are all new terms to me... Would it be possible for anyone to post a picture of the "scene" where the lights are setup relative to the subject, camera and photographer? \$\endgroup\$
    – JDS
    Commented Oct 14, 2018 at 20:53

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