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What is Soft Light

Horace He

Last Updated: December 26, 2023

What is Soft Light

Soft light is a type of illumination that produces shadows with a gradual transition from light to dark. It is characterized by the absence of visible harsh shadow lines on the subject or object being illuminated. Soft light is achieved by diffusing or scattering the light source, typically through the use of a medium or equipment that spreads the light and reduces its intensity. Examples of soft light include natural lighting on a cloudy day, sunlight entering a room through a curtain, or indirect light. These examples share the common trait of being diffused, which makes the light source larger and softer, resulting in a gentle and flattering illumination.

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In photography, soft light can be achieved using various methods such as using white fabrics, softboxes, scrims, or other light modifiers. These tools help to diffuse the light source, making it larger and softer. Additionally, bouncing the light multiple times before reaching the subject can further enhance the softness of the light.

Soft light setups often involve using multiple large sources of light or placing the light source close to the subject. This is done to prevent the creation of harsh shadows that are typically associated with hard light sources like the sun. The size of the light source plays a crucial role in achieving soft light. The larger and closer the light source is to the subject, the softer the light becomes. This results in reduced contrast and filled shadows, creating a more flattering and even illumination.

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