50+ Midjourney Lighting Prompts for Great Effects

author - Kistent Waung
Kistent Waung

Updated on

A good control of the lighting in Midjourney can bring the AI image to the next level instantly. In this blog, we will explore tokens that can be effectively triggered in Midjourney lighting prompts. Let's play together in Midjourney with the basic structure, and vary the lighting effect for comparison.

Part 1. The Gist of Lighting Prompts for Midjourney

Step 1. Structure your Midjourney lighting prompts.

Basic structure: prefix, portrait of {your subject}, {lighting effect}, shot on {camera}, suffix, parameters.

Besides portraits, you can change your subject to landscape photography, wildlife, or even anime and illustrations. Though, personally, photorealistic portraits are my favorite themes to experiment with lighting effects in Midjourney.

MidJourney Lighting Prompts Example - Woman Portrait

💬 Prompt: A beautiful woman with a white feather on her face, blue eyes, and skin texture in natural light. High resolution, high details, shot in the style of Sony Alpha A7 III.

Based on the output from Midjourney, you can revise the prompts to better describe the image you want.

💬 Revised prompt: A beautiful woman with a white feather on her face, blue eyes, and skin texture in natural light. The photography has a beauty magazine cover style in the high resolution and high details cinematic style with volumetric lighting, shot in the style of Sony Alpha A7 III camera.

Step 2. Now you have learned the basics for prompting, but the output image can be blurry when zoomed in, or not huge enough for print and share.

MidJourney Lighting Shadows and Contrast

There are also other fellow users find upscaling in Midjourney a headache for certain occasions.

  • - User @Chromarubic: Seems like the upscales sometimes soften the image too much? Things like lace necklines end up a bit muddy.
  • - User @JoakimK: The 4x upscale makes the image look softer and loses its sharpness.
  • - User @Ullaviva: The x4 upscaler destroyed details and was very smooth.

The quick solution loved by seasoned AI artists is: upscale images with a dedicated AI Image Enhancer.

MidJourney Lighting Shadows and Contrast

Step 3. Upscale the image for clarity and share-worthy visuals.

Besides wasting your faster GPU time on Midjourney, you can resort to dedicated AI Image Upscaler – Aiarty Image Enhancer to upscale Midjourney image and other AI art. It supports up to 16K/32K upsizing, with realistic details kept!

Aiarty Image Enhancer for MidJourney Upscaling

Aiarty Image Enhancer - Best for Midjourney/Stable Diffusion/AI-Gen Images

  • Upscale images to 4K/8K/16K and higher with realistic details and texture.
  • Auto AI inference to denoise, deblur, restore, and enhance images easily.
  • Achieve max quality for print and display, 800% zoom in without pixelation.
  • 3 AI models, 6.78 million images trained, optimized for Nvidian/AMD/Intel/CPU

Part 2. Tokens to Trigger Midjourney Lighting Effects

Creating visually captivating images with Midjourney is all about leveraging dynamic lighting effects. For dramatic contrasts and mood enhancement, consider using cinematic split lighting or abstract shadow patterns. These effects, combined with techniques like double exposure can add depth and intrigue to your compositions.

Below are various effective tokens to play with in Midjourney.

Shadows and Contrast

MidJourney Lighting Shadows and Contrast

    💬 Prompt structure: cinematic still portrait of {your subject}, {description}, {lighting}, shot on {camera}.

  • -Cinematic split
  • -Abstract shadow patterns
  • -Soft shadows/Harsh shadows
  • -Colorful shadows
  • -Double exposure with shadows
  • -Rim light
  • -Backlit
  • -Diffused lighting
  • -Dimly lit
  • -Light overexposure

Lighting for Face

Midjourney Lighting for face

    💬 Prompt structure: 35mm photography of {your subject}, {description}, {lighting effects}, shot on {camera}.

  • -Broad lighting
  • -Loop lighting
  • -Rembrandit lighting
  • -Glow on face
  • -Sun bathing face

Creative Reflections and Refractions

Midjourney Lighting Reflections

You can think of reflection as light bouncing off a surface, like when you see your reflection in a mirror. Refraction, on the other hand, is when light changes direction as it passes through something, like how a straw looks bent when you put it in a glass of water.

    Below are some of my favorite tokens to use in Midjourney lighting prompts.

  • -Crystal
  • -Glasses, mirror, car window
  • -Caustics
  • -Refraction effect
  • - Subsurface Scattering
  • - Reflective raindrops
  • - Metal surfaces, glass table reflection

Lighting Effects for Visual Appeal

Midjourney Lighting Visual Effects

    💬 Prompt structure: Portrait of {your subject}, {description}, {lighting effects}, shot on {camera}.

  • -Iridescence (+pearlescent, shimmer, sheen, opalescence)
  • -Prismatic
  • -Shimmering
  • -Holographic
  • -Neon light
  • -Shadow plays

Colors and Mood

Midjourney Lighting Mood
  • -Redscale
  • -Panchromatic
  • -Blue hour
  • -Golden hour
  • -Starlight
  • -Moonlight
  • -Sunlight

Combine Lighting with Lens Effects

Midjourney Lighting Lens Effect
  • -Lens flare
  • -Motion blur
  • -Spring blur
  • -Speed blur
  • -Zoom blur
  • -Focal blur
  • -Redial blur
  • -Velocity blur
  • -Tilt-shift effect
  • -Long exposure trails
  • -Zoom burst

Best Midjourney Lighting Prompts Examples

Based on the test results, Aiarty and Topaz Photo AI stand out as top contenders, showcasing exceptional detail preservation and even enhancement, albeit at the cost of larger file sizes. VanceAI and Luminar Neo fall into the second tier, delivering noticeable clarity improvements upon enlargement. ResizePixel and IMG2GO strike a balance between enhanced sharpness and manageable file sizes. Hitpaw Photo AI, on the other hand, exhibits overall subpar performance, resulting in significant quality loss when upscaling images.

It's important to note that these results may vary depending on the specific image type and individual preferences. Some tools excel at handling illustrations or vector-style graphics, while others are better suited for detailed landscapes or portraits. It's advisable to experiment with different tools to find the best fit for your particular needs and image types.

#1 Golden Rays

Midjourney Lighting Golden Rays

💬 Prompt: portrait of an edgy young woman with sun-kissed skin and dark hair, illuminated in the style of golden rays of sunlight against her face. She stands in front of a green wall, creating sharp contrasts that highlight her features. The painting style is realistic yet slightly stylized, emphasizing soft shadows and highlights to give depth and dimension to each detail on the page, soft green color palette.

If you want to better describe the relation of sunlight against the background and on the character's face, you can try vary parts of the prompts as follows:

-Soft glow of sunlight streaming through green walls

-Bathed in golden sunlight that casts long shadows on her face

-Sunlight casts soft shadows on her face, vibrant colors

-Dreamy atmosphere

#2 Lens Flare

Lens Flare

💬 Prompt: gorgeous woman, portrait, look at viewer, outdoor, natural light, lens flare ::0.8 ,beatiful skin ::1 --ar 3:4

💬 Prompt: a woman with long hair laying in bed, in the style of [photographer], anamorphic lens flare, video, close up, jagged edges, light beige and blue --ar 73:108 --stylize 750

You can also incorporate these keywords into your Midjourney lighting prompts:

- Anamorphic lens flare

-Light beige and blue

#3 Dappled Light

Midjourney Lighting Dapple Light

💬 Prompt: photograph in the style of 80's fujifilm 24mm wide lens, cinema tones, soft dappled light. Liverpool street photography, a beautiful composition, eye capturing, captivating, pastel tones, dreamlike, sharp, clear, in focus, bright, neo retro futurism mid-century modern, a beautiful sitting on the steps --no hands, signs, text, shops --chaos 10 --stylize 200 --weird 10

#4 Soft Lighting

Midjourney Lighting Anime

💬 Prompt: illustration, anime girl, lovely face, gorgeous eyes, adorable cheeks, soft lips, fair skin, dark hair, mischievous gaze, looking at audience, bright rainbow, colored background, soft lighting, eyes light, intricate details, Instagram aesthetic, best quality, super detailed, flowing, 16K --style raw

Image on the right side: same prompts, revised parameters: --style expressive --ar 3:4 --niji 5

#5 Shimmering Light

Midjourney Lighting Shimmering

💬 Prompt: gorgeous woman with long wavy bouncy hair, laying on a green couch in her 1990s apartment, with psychedelic wood grain floors, surrealism, scene, Iridescent, prismatic, pearlescent, opalescent, multichromatic, holographic, duochrome, shimmering, glinting --stylize 750

-Chromatic aberration, VHS effect

#6 Illuminating Face

Illuminating Face

💬 Prompt: A young and beautiful woman sits on the sofa, engrossed in her phone. The warm glow of the setting sun illuminates her face, highlighting her youthful energy and her immersion in the digital world.

If you are not satisfied with the posing, you can hit the V button to vary the image and change the prompts. For instance, you can add "facing right" in the prompts.

#7 Sun Light

Midjourney Sum Light

💬 Prompt: anime style girl, sun bathing green, realistic, grey eyes, smile, redhead, laying on grass

Midjourney Sun Bathing

💬 Prompt: A captivating 19-year-old girl with sparkling eyes and flowing hair, close-up, vibrant smile, in a sunlit garden setting. Vivid colors, high contrast. Impressionist brushwork, bright color palette, sunlight effects, high-definition detail, vivid style, dynamic angles, hd quality, natural look --ar 1:1

One of my favorite tricks is to add "bright color palette" and "sunlight effects" in the prompts, while combing it witht eh impressionist brushwork. The output image will be bright and vivid.

#8 Lighting for BW Photopraphy

Midjourney Lighting Noir

💬 Prompt: a beautiful female with light only on the face near the light source, backlight, in the style of minimalist sketch, comic art, light gray and light gold

💬 Prompt anatomy:

  • -Sun light rays hitting the face
  • -Dramatic shadows and highlights
  • -Dream-like textures
  • -Soft, intricate lighting
  • -Black and white photo
  • -Rim lighting, back lit, moody lighting, cinematic lighting
  • -Cinematic lighting and chiaroscuro black and white photography
  • -Dramatic documentary portrait photography (yes it doesn't have lightning words, but you will love the result!)
BW lighting

💬 Prompt: London Fashion photography, light and shadows, cinematic shots, 35mm, f1.8, global illumination, cinematic, film, RAW

#9 Silhouette, Beam, and Circle

Beam light
  • -Silhouette, young woman, 50mm
  • -Vertical beam of light, stark contrast between light and shadow, monochrome
Circle light

-Circle light

#10 Rim Light

Midjourney Rim Light

💬 Prompt: portrait of a lovely woman, rim light. Wide angle. Light rays, bokeh, unusual light, in the style of monochrome portraits --ar 2:3 --style raw

  • -Light only on the face near the light source
  • -Golden rims

#11 Shadowplay

Midjourney Lighting Shadow play

💬 Prompt: kodak film photography, cat sleeping on desk, shadowplay from Window

💬 Prompt: cat sleeping on an open book rays of sunlight shining through the window realistic photo super detailing --stylize 250

💬 Prompt: fantasy woodblock art of an adorable friendly orange tabby cat, flopped and lounging in a sunbeam in a cozy house. Chiaroscuro landscape natural lighting, volumetric lighting, many details, detailed concept art.

#12 Caustics and Crystal

Midjourney Lighting Crystal

💬 Prompt anatomy:

  • -Golden rays of light
  • -Free brushstrokes, gemstone
  • -Sparkling crystal
  • -Energy healing, manipulating subtle energies
  • -Caustic, glasslike

#13 Warm Light


Sometimes, you don't necessarily needs light. It's more about the atmosphere and environmental descriptions that epitomize the light and shadow.

💬 Prompt: a girl lying down in her bedroom next to some furniture, in the style of 32k uhd, soft edges and blurred details, lively tableaus, warmcore, solarizing master, animated gifs, white and beige --ar 74:99 --stylize 250

#14 Atmospheric Energy

Atmospheric light

💬 Prompt: Energy Healing: full body, long shot, channeling and manipulating subtle energies within the body through techniques like laying on of hands, aura cleansing to restore balance --v 6.0

As you can see, although I haven't add any specific words about lightning, there are still some glimmering things going on. There is probably due to the fact that trained images about energy healing are related to light, energy particles, and mystic rays.

Now I can roll the dice again, and add some prefix to the prompt, such as adding "woman, yoga".

Wrap Up

Now we have mastered the tricks to generate lighting prompts in Midjourney. Using the basic structure of prefix, portrait of {your subject}, {lighting effect}, shot on {camera}, suffix, parameters. We can revise the prompts to fine-tune the content to the desired output.

Better yet, with Aiarty Image Enhancer, we can take the Midjourney AI image to the next level of clarity and pro-looking quality.

Don't just take our word for it, try it out yourself to upscale and enhance Midjourney images to 4K/8K/16K and higher resolution, with realistic details and texture!

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Kistent Waung is a quality-driven writer who has extensive knowledge of the multimedia market. She started her journey managing and supporting content at Digiarty Software, where she shared her expertise on a range of multimedia products spanning AI and codec trends, software reviews, and comparisons. She's now a writer for aiarty.com, with a focus on AI technology.

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