The word “photography” originates from ancient Greek, meaning “to draw with light”. Photography is an art where we capture moments in time by drawing with the light onto our canvas, the camera. Because light is such an important factor in photography it is important to understand the different types of lighting used and how to properly handle it. There are two main types of lighting: hard and soft. Both are used for different types of photography. Let us take a look at the difference between the two types of lighting.
Hard LightThe terms hard and soft light refer to the effect light has on the edges of shadows cast. Distinct differences between light and dark areas are created by hard lighting, which is created from a single light source. One way to create a hard light look is to shoot a photo in a studio with dark walls and a single, unshaded light source. Direct the light to shine directly onto the subject. This will create a harsh shadow from the nose, eyes will look deeper and blemishes will be accentuated. Though this is the most extreme way of creating hard light, it is not very flattering when used on people. However, this technique it can be highly effective when shooting objects with a lot of textures or landscapes.
Soft LightSoft light creates a gradual transition between the light and dark areas of a photograph. It is created when light is generated from multiple sources, is diffused or bounced. Soft light is the light preference when shooting portraits and can be used to flatter a person’s appearance. When shooting with soft light the light is bounced around the room before it falls onto the subject. This technique does not create harsh and unflattering shadows. The best way to shoot with soft lighting is on a white or light colored backdrop. You can bounce the light off the walls, ceiling or other reflectors.
-Backdrop Express Photography Team
Interested in learning more about lighting techniques and equipment? Read How to Use Umbrellas!
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