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I've seen several references to a loop lighting pattern, often in the context of portraiture lighting.

What is meant by the term?

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image (c) portraitlighting.net

It's where you have the lightsource above and slightly behind the subject so the light runs down the nose and creates a loop shaped shadow.

http://www.portraitlighting.net/patternsb.htm

Personally I don't like the shadow, I either go for something more dramatic and join the nose shadow to the unlit side leaving just a triangle highlight on cheek or go for a broad lighting setup if I want a flattering well lit scheme.

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