An Easy Way to Create Moody Shadows and Hard Light With a Softbox

If you want to know how to create hard light, but still want some control over your light source, this video is for you.

You’re probably wondering why anyone would want to create hard light with a softbox. Isn’t the point of a softbox to create gorgeous, flattering light with soft shadows? Well, the answer is yes to that, but as we all know, many items have multiple uses, and it turns out that a softbox can be a great tool for creating hard shadows. After the break, we have a video for you that demonstrates how you can create moody shadows with a small softbox. Continue reading…

Learn the Basics of Softbox for Controlling and Creating Soft Lighting

Ever thought about what a softbox is for? Do you really need it? Here’s a quick video that will give you some quick answers.

So, you’ve decided to play around with different lighting setups for doing studio shoots. One of the very first equipment you’ll come across and need to learn is the softbox. If this is the first time you’re hearing about it or it sounds complicated, let this quick video by Daniel Norton guide you on some basics.

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KOBRA Flash Modifier Is Still More or Less a Gary Fong Lightsphere

If you missed the chance to grab a KOBRA Flash Modifier, the campaign has recently relaunched on Kickstarter

Unsatisfied with your flash modifiers and think your flash photography could be better? Through a Kickstarter campaign last year, the KOBRA Flash Modifier sought to be a more lightweight, flexible, and attractively designed solution to this problem. The project by Red Tusk didn’t meet its funding expectations then, but now it’s back up on Kickstarter with some improvements, including better price points. Continue reading…

How to Achieve Beautiful Soft Light in Small Spaces

This quick tutorial will show you why small spaces shouldn’t limit your lighting setup for portrait sessions.

Want to achieve gorgeous, soft lighting for your portrait sessions but only have a limited space for a lighting setup? In a quick video tutorial for Adorama, Sony Artisan of Imagery Miguel Quiles shows us a simple setup that maximizes the space for beautifully lit portrait shots.

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Learn the Difference Between Hard Light and Diffused Light


If you’re new to photography, one of the most important lessons you have to learn is the difference of light quality from a hard light source as compared to a diffused light source. Knowing this will be useful for a lot of studio applications, from product shots, to fashion editorials, to creative portraits. If any of that is what you intend to do, here’s a LearnMyShot tutorial that should be of help to you.

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Creating Soft Light With a Strobe and a Large Diffuser

Flat light, lower and less shadows. Model: Erica Lourde

Flat light, lower and less shadows.
Model: Erica Lourd

Pro tip: you don’t need a massive umbrella, softbox, or octabank to get the look of really soft light. Instead, it’s possible with a strobe (flash or monolight) and a giant translucent reflector, silk or surface. But of course, photography isn’t all about the gear, so the knowledge of how to use these tools is also key. With that said, no part of this process is difficult to do.

Dan over at Adorama put together a video on how to use the tools to deliver soft light in a portrait using one light source. He uses a large silk, but to be very honest, it can be done with a large translucent reflector stand kit, a hot shoe flash being triggered off-camera and on one side of the reflector shooting through it, your model on the other side, and a neutral background. Frankly, you don’t even really need a strobe–you can do this with constant lighting or sun light; but constant lighting is pretty weak and sunlight is sometimes unreliable.

The video and an analysis is after the jump.

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How to Use Hard Light in Photography

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Elinchrom 1000 WS light review images Bec (1 of 3)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 5.6

Most photographers will preach to you about how soft, shadowless light is all that there ever should exist. They’ll continue on and on about this–and how great it makes people look. But in reality, hard light can do the same thing in the right situations. Hard light is used by many fashion photographers and portrait photographers to give their subjects a bit more of an edge in the images that they create. But it’s also used in product photography for the same reason and to make something stand out.

In this post, we explain how to use hard lighting for your photography.

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Why Shooting on Overcast Days Is the Best


While everyone wants to go out and shoot when the weather is bright and sunny, it won’t always give you the greatest exposures. For starters, bright sunny days give you lots of contrast–which you can like creatively, but it won’t give you the most versatility later on when you go to edit your images. Additionally, getting the right direction for the light can be tough too since you’re at the mercy of the sun.

Instead, the best time to go out shooting is during an overcast day. Want that classic shadowless look to your images? Or maybe a lot more versatility in your landscape image in a single shot?

Your best bet is to go shooting when it’s overcast. If you’re a beginner, then here’s why you should forget about going to shoot in the sunshine.

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The Differences Between Hard Light and Soft Light Demonstrated

Large diffusers can provide very soft light on a subject.

Large diffusers can provide very soft light on a subject.

Many photographers can’t always tell the difference between hard light and soft light. By definition, the differences have to do with the quality of the shadows. Hard light delivers very, very dark shadows that seem to muddle details while in contrast soft light delivers very light shadows or even no shadows at all.

While traditional photographers will preach the benefits of soft light for portraits all day and night, modern editors and art buyers prefer the look of hard lighting.

The folks over at LearnMyShot have put together a video comparing the two using a situation involving a light bulb. In general, the larger the light source is in relation to the subject, the softer the light will be. But as you see, the host pulls down a diffusion panel to change the look of the lighting.

The video on the differences between hard light and soft light is after the jump.

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