When comes to "photography tools", more than 98% of people would think of cameras first, and only the remaining 2% of people might think of light. Yes, light is the most fundamental tool for creating images and the basis of our photography.
We're here today to learn about the light quality and how we could apply it to our works.

The painter creates a painting with a brush, and the photographer uses light to depict an image. The photographer combines light and shadow to reshape the elements of the picture. Just as brushes have different colors and degree, the light here is not a single one.

What is "light quality"? Perhaps many people are unfamiliar with the concept, but we all must feel their existence. Because it is everywhere in our life.
Light can be divided into soft and hard light. Hard light is the bright and direct light, such as sunlight, artificial spotlights.

Take the portraits as the example, when models are exposed directly by a light, which is typically the hard light conditions. The transition between the light and the dark area of the model's face is not very smooth.

Although you can use the reflective plate as a fill light to soften the light, the key light source is still very strong and bright. The hard light also causes overexposure exposure.
If put the light towards the reflector behind the light would be softer.
The difference between the two is clear, although the subject remains bright and dark, but the transition in between becomes soothing.

When many people use a soft light source, they would feel that they are surrounded by the light. Because it's less directional and easier to get a larger area of lighting, giving you a sense of being wrapped.
Now, let's explore the practical features of this two kinds of light sources in daily life. The sun light is hard light, but it could be the soft light with the help of the cigarette.

The direct sunlight or the reflective light from buildings are hard light cause they are not enhanced with soft-treatment.
The direct light is hard light. And it would become the soft light after passing through other objects (soft boxes, cloth, curtains, opaque glass).
Different light qualities features with different characteristics, which also give light emotion. Hard light is more concentrated and strong, suitable for the strong picture; soft light is soft, inclusive, but also more friendly, suitable for most pictures.

Most of the ring lights on the market today are soft light. Without any special soft treatment or with the help of other props, you can produce a soft and uniform light, making the subject's temperament more affable, the face more perfect. It is suitable for photography and videos.