Definition of key light in US English:

key light


  • The main source of light in a photograph or film.

    • ‘For example, switching an interior scene from a daylight to a night effect may involve simultaneously dropping the level of the background and fill lights, and eliminating several key lights.’
    • ‘It's a face that, yes, could make you half-believe in the human ideal, make you pass into a foggy romantic movie-trance of studio key lights and shadows with edges so soft you could lay your head down in them and sleep for a week.’
    • ‘I've always had a soft spot for Crawford in the 1950s, when she was vainly hanging on to the glamour girl image just as her key light got brighter and the camera lens got softer.’
    • ‘No star wants to be asked off the stage, taken out of the key light that makes him the cynosure of all eyes.’
    • ‘Since the key light is the brightest light on the front of a subject, it's the one that will create the darkest shadows.’
    • ‘Spotlights have traditionally been used as key lights to provide clear, crisp images with video formats that lacked resolution.’
    • ‘Place the key lights so they will be consistent with these suggested sources of illumination.’
    • ‘If you have portable lights, you can dramatically improve your shots using the three-point lighting technique based around a key light, a fill light and a backlight.’


key light

/ki laɪt/