Soft & Hard Lighting

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    Here is my understanding of soft & hard lighting..

    Duncan Rawlinson

    These are two great photographs which do a wonderful job of highlighting the difference between hard and soft lighting. The hard lighting shot in particular shows the harshness of shadows caused by lines in your photograph. There are the shadows caused by the railing, trees, telephone poles. As you can see these objects create shadows which take on their attributes of their own objects in shadows. This is why it’s important to use hard lighting with care. Harsh shadows will change your composition, create shapes that you may or may not want and possibly even change the shape or dimension of other objects within your photograph.

    From a technical standpoint, these two photographs show exactly the definition of hard and soft lighting. Great work.

    I know this assignments wasn’t necessarily about composition, but I do want to point out one thing. In your soft lighting picture you amputated the top half of the window. This amputation is really distracting for the viewer. Be extra careful not to cut important elements off with the 4 walls of your photograph. Take a look at these compositions of windows…

    There are also some great pictures where the edges are amputated as well, but the amputation needs to be carefully planned.

    The last comment I have about the same photograph has to do with visual space. When you have a person in your photograph looking one way there should be more space in the direction they are looking. This is not a hard set rule, but it’s a good place to start until you can find shots that would look good reversed.

    You’ve placed your main character a little further to the left in this picture and she’s looking left. She should be position to the right to show more of the distance she’s looking in. Look at this photograph for example.

    Notice there is more space the direction they are looking. If this couple was located further to the left it would look like they were going to walk out of the photograph.

    I hope this helps! Great work!

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