Hard and Soft Light

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    It’s been a crazy few weeks and you probably thought I’d gone AWOL, but I’ve finally found time to get on with this next assignment.

    I’ve tried harder this time to try and incorporate more of a wholistic approach to this assignment and not just focus on soft/hard light, and while I know these aren’t my best pictures yet, I think the time spent on this has helped deepen my understanding of hard/soft light and the other principles taught so far.



    I used a polarising filter to cut out the reflection on the glass in this one. There is still a bit of a reflection over the clock, but far far less then without the polariser.

    As usual I’ve submitted smaller photos to make it easier to upload. Hope that’s OK.

    I’m looking forward to you feedback, and getting stuck back into this course!


    Duncan Rawlinson

    Hi Tom!

    Thanks for sending in another assignment.

    And no worries on taking your time. That’s one of the benefits of this course… You can go as fast or as slow as you want! 😉

    This lesson is quite simple but what it teaches is very important. It’s the ability to recognize the light in your shooting environment and shoot a decent photograph in two very different situations.

    In these photographs in particular you’ve done a few things. You’ve noticed the type of light and tried to shoot an interesting image.

    On your image of the flowers it’s hard to tell if it’s just dark or soft light. Given that the photo was shot at ISO 1000 i’m inclined to think it’s both a little dark and soft light.

    Do take note here about the distinction. A soft light can actually be quite bright. Take a look at the quality of the light in this photograph:
    [attachment=2:1hxn02nx]soft light example 2635870214_e891cbc1ee_b.jpg[/attachment:1hxn02nx]
    photo by seier

    Note that the shadows have soft edges and the diffuse artificial light source. This worth pointing out btw. A direct and harsh light can actually be made diffuse and soft simply by putting something in front of them like a big transparent white sheet.

    For example this “hard” light is made soft with diffusion like this:

    Now your hard light example is also interesting. Take note of the rigid shadows in this image! The quality of the light certainly meets the criteria here. One thing that I don’t like about this image is how the building with the clock and the bell is cropped at the top. I want to see the whole thing for some reason.

    What I do like is your use of the frame within a frame to focus the viewers attention. Of course the reflections aren’t ideal either but you tried your best there. Perhaps shoot this one at another time of day.

    Also there are some pretty strong lines in this image which is nice as well.


    The main thing here isn’t this little assignment. It’s the ability to see the light you are shooting in and take advantage of that light.

    As always nice job Tom!!!

    See you on the next one.


    Oh yeah, I think I understand the distinction better after that feedback. In fact, I now see that it isn’t black and white, but actually there are many varying degrees of hardness/softness as shown in your example.



    Duncan Rawlinson


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