I published a couple of blog posts on this theme before, but it’s a point worth making again. It’s amazing how a simple lighting change can dramatically change how a portrait looks. Both of these portraits were lit with a single light, but they look so different.
This first image has a broad light source, a north-facing window, coming from the left of frame. The light is softly directional, with good falloff from one side to the other. There’s some nice modelling on her left cheek.
This image is also lit by a light source from the left, but this time it’s a shaft of direct sunlight coming through a gap in a door. The light is hard and very directional. I noticed that with her head in just the right position the shadow side of her face made a profile portrait. It’s an optical illusion but most effective.
So: 1 light from roughly the same direction, the same model, but completely different looks. Try it!