How to Light a Scene by Just Using Hard Light

When a photographer looks into their toolbox, typically hard light is one of the overlooked tools. In this video, learn how to light a scene using just a hard light source and create a unique mood in your images. 

Often times, when picking what light I'm going to use, soft light is always my light of choice. However, every scene is different, and sometimes as photographers we are required to adapt and use hard light to illuminate the scene.  In this short and informative video released by The Aputure YouTube channel, they interview Los Angeles based film maker and director of photography Megan Spacey. She helps break down what hard light means, and the best ways she uses it to light her sets. 

Spacey defines hard light as being a small source, and is often characterized by casting harsh and defined shadows. Additionally she notes that hard light is generated from a small source of light and is based on its relationship to the distance it has with its subject. A prime example of this is the sun. 

Now that the defining factors have been outlined, they dive right into how to properly use it. The four ideas that Megan dives into are the light direction, the light quality, the lights shape, and the utilization of haze in conjunction with using hard light as your main source.

The aspect that stood out to me the most was using the hard light as a backlight. In my work, typically I don't use hard light, or backlight to be more specific, but after watching this video, I will definitely be adding that technique to my toolbox. I love that in the video they go into accentuating the hard light, by incorporating haze into the scene. Spacey also notes that if you beam the hard light into the haze, it will create shafts of light, and if you place soft light behind the haze it will create a misty effect. 

If you want to see more in depth lighting videos, be sure to check out the Aperture YouTube channel for insightful videos every week.

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