Let's start by looking at some pictures by Nykvist
So in Malewisz book Richard Aguelir says that Nykvist normally lights with a huge soft light and then fills in from the opposite side. Looking at the lights in the eyes of picture 1 it looks as though there are two frontal lights with an equal amount of intensity and a light rear left to rim the hair. Possibly some fill from the right of frame.
Is there any way to tell how hard or soft a light is by the size of the highlights in the pupil. I would have expected a soft light to have a much larger highlight in the pupil. How soft is this? I'm guessing not as soft as bounce light, not as soft as silk 8'x8' but more like two 3'x3' with diffusion and the reason there is little shadow is because of the fill ratio being almost 1:1 not it being a very soft light.
Again am slightly confused because the shadows look soft but the eyelights are small - is that because he is using med-soft to hard lights with lots of fill or small sized soft lights? In other words is it something like a pepper light with loads of frost in front and then another one to fill, a very distant fresnel through a 8'x8' soft frame, or two harder lights - like peppers undiffussed peppers but becuase of intensity and fill ratio being very high the shadows appear much softer?
Again a really low soft light - looks like a left front key and right front fill but the ratios are much lighter now. Given the lips it looks like a much larger soft light than the catchlight in the eyes - which seems surprisingly small if he is using a large soft source.
This is much more what i'd expect from a soft source a much larger eye highlight. The shaows seem to be about the same softness as previous shots but the highlights in eyes much larger. Is that just to do with the distance from the subject. Here a left key as a diffused window with a right fill would make sense - also confirmed in earring highlights.
Again very small highlights in eyes, left brighter than right suggesting front left key and front right fill at lower intensity but highlights seem remarkably small given the softness of the shadows.
And this is confusing because it seems the other way round, quite a hard shadow of his chin across his collar which would suggest a hard light, but yet the highlight in his eye is quite large and soft?!