Photography podcast #97 is a primer on how to use hard light. Hard light is trickier to use than soft light but there is NO reason to avoid using it. It just needs to be used appropriately. Part of using hard light and shadow in photography is being very aware of where the shadows will fall and changing your position or your lighting if you don’t like where they fall.
Here’s a couple of basic points when using hard light in photography:
- Hard light comes from a small light source relative to your subject. The sun IS a small light source in this respect because it is 93 million miles away from the earth.
- Hard light produces hard shadows which are good in many cases especially to reveal form.
- The farther the light source is from the subject, the HARDER the shadows.
- The farther away the light source is from the subject, the SHORTER the shadows.
To prove this to yourself take a flashlight into the bathroom and shut off the lights. Shine the light on your finger in front of the wall. Move the light around and you will learn a ton about shadows.
Links /resources mentioned in this podcast:
June’s regular assignment on the Photography.ca forum — Breaking the rules
June’s level 2 assignment on the Photography.ca forum — Creative self portraits
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