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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Soft light- what it is and how to create it

Soft Light

Image from Kickerlight
Soft light is when the light that falls on the subject comes from multiple sources, from multiple directions or from a single, very large light source quite close to the subject. Soft light does not cast deep shadows and where shadows are present it has a soft edge, rather than an abrupt transition from dark to light. Soft light source examples would include: indirect sunlight, overcast skies, soft boxes, and umbrellas.

Image from Kickerlight
Contrary to soft light, hard light produces a narrow beam of light from a single source producing a hard-edge shadow. Examples of hard light sources are direct sunlight, car headlights and open-face lights.

How to create Soft Light

The easiest way to create soft light is to bounce the light of a surface before it reaches your subject. The way to bounce light is by redirecting it off a highly reflective surface, such as a white wall or ceiling or a reflecting object made for photography. A cheap way to produce a reflective object is using white paper or a poster board to direct the light where you want it on your subject. Anything that reflects light without adding color to your subject will make a good reflector in most situations.

Why use soft light?
Example of a soft light as a Key Light
Image From Kickerlight

Soft lights are used in the studio as the Key Light. The key light is the primary light on your subject. It is usually placed 30-40 degrees left or right  of your camera. The key light is not directly placed on your subject because it is used to create a 3d look to your subject rather than a direct light that gives it more of a flat look.

Remember the closer the light is to the subject the softer it is. Also the larger the light the softer the image is!

Here the Soft Lights/ Boxes that we carry:

Smith Victor 600-watt Soft Light     $139.95

KSB-500 Economy Soft Light Box Kit     $154.95

KSB-1250 Economy Soft Light Box Kit     $509.99
Soft light- what it is and how to create it
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