Definition: Soft Light

Definition: Soft Light  | Glossary entry

Soft Light

Soft light is light that creates shadows with a gradual transition from light to dark. There are no hard shadow lines. It is created from a scattered or diffused light source. Soft light is found where the lighting is indirect or where it passes through a diffuser, clouds or some other medium which scatters the light. Diffused light can be light that has bounced off one or more surfaces before it hits a photographic target.

Soft light may be created by many light sources which prevents the harsh shadows created by a single hard light source. A soft light source is large (relative to the subject being lit) and/or close to the subject.

Soft light creates gentle lines with gradual
transition of the shadows from light to dark.

A light which is very soft has a wide transition from light to dark. The transition of light to dark gets progressively smaller as light gets harder.

A softbox creates diffused, soft light.


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