Hard Light vs Soft Light

For this week’s article, I will share with you the difference between using a Hard Light and a Soft Light for photography.

In photography, one of the main components is light. The light that travels through our camera’s sensor determines the output we will get of an image.

So it is important that we understand these two light components to utilize them properly.


Hard Light is a form of light that is particularly smaller than your subject. Hard shadows and high contrasts are basically the key notes of a Hard Light.

For example, during a bright sunny day, although the sun may be very large, it is also very far as we know it. On this instance, the light emulated from it is considered a Hard Light.

With a Hard Light, you will easily determine the direction as to where the light is coming from. Textures and shapes will be fairly exposed in your output with the light and dark parts of it clearly obvious.

Results will portray hard edges and there is barely a transition or gradient from the light to the dark part of the image. To give you a clear idea of this, above is a sample of an image taken with a Hard Light.

Contributed by Glenn Wesley Dulay