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Lesson 4 from: FAST CLASS: Understanding Light

Mark Wallace

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Lesson Info

4. Terminology

Next Lesson: Science Of Light

Lesson Info


There are lots of words that photographers used to describe light. Let's start by talking about two of the most common terms in studio lighting. Hard, light and soft light. The best way to tell if light is hard or soft is by looking at the shadows. It casts hard light casts a very clearly defined shadow. Its edges were hard. A soft light cast a shadow that's hard to tell, where it starts and stops. Its edges. Air soft. On a day where the sky is clear, the sun will throw a concentrated beam of light that will produce deep, sharp shadows on the subject. This is hard light, but if the clouds come out, then the light becomes diffused instead of the light traveling in the same direction, it is cast in different directions, and the source of the light becomes much larger. A larger light source will throw a wider beam of light with shadows that are more open because light is bouncing around and spilling into the shadows. This is soft light. An important term is effective size. The effective s...

ize of a light is based both on the physical size of the light and its position in relation to the subject. In other words, the closer ally it is to the subject, the larger it's effective size and the softer the light will be. The farther away light is from the subject, the smaller the effective size and the harder the light will be to illustrate this point, let's look at the sun. Although the sun is 100 times the width of the earth, it looks like a tiny speck in the sky. That's because it's 93 million miles from the Earth. This makes the sun's effective size very small, and therefore it gives off very hard light. Now, if we were able to move the sun very close to the Earth, it's effective. Size would be much larger and the light it casts would be much softer. We can change the quality of light by changing the effective size of our light source. Since moving the sun closer to the earth would be impossible and a really bad idea, there is another way to modify our light source. We can use modifiers. Now let's bring back to clouds. In this scenario, the sun would be the light source, and the clouds would be a light modifier. The sun lights up the clouds and the clouds become a huge light. Over the earth. Now are illumination is the entire sky, not just the tiny dot of the sun. The effective size of the light is much larger, and the light is much softer. Sometimes soft light is called diffused light and hard light is called harsh light. Contrast is the difference between the darkest and lightest areas in an image. The greater the difference, the higher the contrast in much the same way you can change how hard or soft delight is by moving a light closer or farther from the subject. You can also change the contrast of your image by changing the position of the light. When you position the light in front of your subject, you get a low contrast lighting. If you move your light to the side of the subject, you get a much higher contrast. Lighting

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Understanding Light Day 1 Presentation
Understanding Light Day 2 Presentation
Understanding Light Day 3 Presentation
Gear List
Zone Lighting Basic Setup