Hard vs Soft Light in Portrait Photography

dramatic film noir photoshoot inspiration

How Does Hard Light Light Compare to Soft Light in Portrait Photography?

For photographers just starting to learn studio lighting, distinguishing between light and soft light can be an enigma.

While both offer a different look, understanding the physiology of each type of lighting is vital for photographers wanting to create the desired ambiance for a portrait session.

Light creates hard shadows with high contrast between light and dark regions, offering additional depth and texture to an image.

On the other hand, soft light reduces contrast providing softer shadows and highlights with a greater focus on tonal qualities like skin wraps giving greater attention to facial features and expressions.

Each composition will benefit from its blend of light and shadow; photographers must become comfortable with trial and error while juggling studio lights until they understand what kinds of results their desired combination produces.

Have You Ever Wondered Which Light Modifier To Bring To Your Portrait Photography Session?

When packing to go to your next photoshoot, you should consider what kind of light you will use.

Natural, stobe, stern light, or soft diffused lighting.

Hard light is typically used for fashion or during the bright hours of the day.

Soft light is typically used when a photographer wants a more flattering soft light that will wrap around the subject.,

We typically recommend light diffusers, especially when creating portraits of female modes.

Learn the difference between hard and soft light and when each can be used to enhance your portrait photography.

Hard light creates harsh shadows, making it the perfect choice for a dramatic portrait.

It’s typically used outdoors on sunny days or with studio lighting that has a narrow beam.

Soft light is created by diffusing the light source and is best suited for natural-light portraiture indoors or outdoors in open shade.

The size of your light source vs. your subject size creates hard light.

Some of the first terms photographers hear when learning to light is “Hard Light” and “Soft Light” Join Daniel shows you how to create soft and hard light and when to use each.

In this 90-minute workshop, we will discuss the qualities of hard and soft light and create portraits using each.

Bio: Daniel Norton is a Photographer, Creative Director, and Educator based in NYC with over 20 years of experience in advertising, fashion, and commercial photography.

Daniel also produces and hosts free in-store training on the Adorama TV series.

If you have any questions about photography or how to become a fashion model, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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