While shooting headshots for several clients today, I had short breaks in between each appointment. During this time, I varied my secondary lighting to illustrate two methods for separating your subject from the background. Formal business portraits are commonly taken against a black backdrop, which can result in the subject looking like a cardboard cutout because of the black on black.
There are two quick ways to combat this. The first is by adding some light to your backdrop. In the photo on the left, I pointed secondary light towards the backdrop. In the photo on the right, I added a hair light, which also acts as a rim light. This time, the secondary light is placed behind the subject, pointing towards the camera. This is my preferred method because it is more common in the corporate world, and I like the way a hair light looks.