Butterfly lighting is a basic and popular lighting pattern used by portrait photographers, in which the main light is above and in light with the subject’s face and the camera. The name refers to the “butterfly”-shaped shadow seen under the nose, like the one seen in the image of Alison below. I say “usually” because the shadow may not be as strongly defined in this shot. It will depend on the relative size of the light source and how much the light is diffused.

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