Soft Light Shooters On Every Corner
It seems like most photographers now a days enjoy shooting with soft light- a large light source usually diffused which creates very soft or no shadows. This is a very pleasant look and very suitable for all types of portrait photography including wedding, family, seniors, etc. The typical method is to match the ambient light (background exposure) with the light on the subject and use a wide open lens with a shallow depth of field. This often creates a lower contrast
, romantic tone with a lot of blown out backgrounds on bright sunny days- a VERY popular technique used by many photographers as their choice of technique. Why not? It sells, it’s easy, it pleases most clients, it’s popular, end of story… right? When was the last time you wanted to do something like everyone else? Uh, like never! Heck, that’s why we became artists so we can do the NOT so popular thing!
The consummate photographer who takes their work seriously loves to use all types of light to convey different types of tones and emotions. CAN I BRING YOU TO THE DARK SIDE? I often use hard light for much of my portraiture work to create rich colors, sharp detail and DRAMA with a high amount of light contrast.
What is Hard Light?
Hard light is created by a strong and small light source that creates sharp shadows. Most people think of sharp shadows and equate the notion of “yucky light”. However, I embrace this “yucky light” and use its qualities to create a completely different look especially combined with my “black box” method (eliminating ambient light). If you are not familiar with this technique please come and hear me lecture live or better yet download the best video in the world on small lighting techniques, my creativeLIVE CRAZY STUPID LIGHT
, 3 day workshop!! Best $149 you can spend if you want to understand light! http://www.creativelive.com/courses/crazy-stupid-light-scott-robert-lim
Creating Hard Light WOW!
A great way to “wow” with hard light is to add backlight on your subject- use the bright sun or with my favorite method, FLASH i.e. using my inexpensive Strobie 130
. Flash is small, portable and very easy to set up. If you don’t have backlight, separation light or rim light, then hard light doesn’t really work for me, BACKLIGHT is the KEY
to using hard light and creating WOW!
To create drama with hard light, try making your background dark by raising your f-stop and lowering your ISO, especially indoors. Take a picture with your camera with out ANY flash and if it looks very dark or completely black, you’ve just created a “black box”. When indoors ISO 100, F8 or F11 and 1/100 will do it most likely! Now you are in control, you only allow the viewer to see what you want them to see by using and directing light on whatever you want visible in the frame.
Here are some examples of how I use hard light, all these pictures use bare, undiffused, small portable flashes, mainly my Strobie 230
and my wireless, radio controlled, Tiny Trigger
off camera lighting system.
Experiment and have fun, using hard light can open up a whole new look by adding drama, sharp detail, rich and vibrant colors to your portfolio. BE A COMPLETE PHOTOGRAPHER AND KNOW HOW TO USE SOFT OR HARD LIGHT.
Hard Light Images by Scott Robert Lim
I used multiple Strobie 130s ganged together on a Big Boy Bar
to give a hard/soft light look
Interested in creating hard light? Check out my Strobie 130
, the perfect tool for creating hard light. Your comments and likes appreciated and makes future posts better and more frequent, the more people express they like this type of post, the more I create! Hope you learned something.