Many photographers prefer shooting portraits with soft light than hard light. There’s certainly a good reason for it: it’s more flattering on the subject, more forgiving, and requires less retouching. But does it mean you should discard the hard light? Absolutely not! Even though it can be more demanding to work with, there are reasons to love hard light and embrace it in portrait photography. In this video, Lindsay Adler shares three main reasons why you should do so.
Using hard light in your portraits gives you more control over the shadows. In other words, you can choose exactly where you want to put the shadows in your images. This will result in a clean, crisp and precise look, and it can sure look amazing in portraits.
2. Creative shadows
Using hard light gives you a chance to make creative shadows. If you use gobos, lace or anything like that, there’s no way to make their shapes visible if you use soft light.
3. Vintage, film noir look
If you’re into vintage, film noir vibe, then hard light is the way to go. You’ll create photos that are romantic and dramatic at the same time, just like those vintage noir movies.
Another thing I’d like to add is that, if you want to tell a story with your image and provoke a certain feeling, light is one of the things to take into consideration. Hard light creates drama and adds edge to your photos.
Personally, I prefer soft light and most of my portraits and self-portraits have been shot using it. However, I realize the potential and importance of hard light, and I’ve experimented with it a couple of times when I wanted to create more dramatic and impactful images.
So, if you haven’t already, try embracing hard light and playing with it in your next photoshoot.