Another area where people get confused in lighting is the difference between hard/soft light and high/low contrast. Many people intuitively think that high contrast pictures are made with hard light and less contrast are made with soft light like so:

Lower contrast on the face and soft light
Contrasted picture, hard light

In fact contrast is the ratio between the brightness of shadow and brightness of light part whereas hard/loft light is about how sharp the shadow border is.

For instance, here is contrasted picture with soft light, see how the shadow gets gradually deeper on her face.

High contrast, soft light

And hard light picture with uniform light field. Notice the shadow from her chin, shadow on the ear and boldness of textures in general. Compare it with picture #2.

Even on areas with no shadow (face) we see that the light is not soft

This texture difference has a lot to do with this question and also leads us to our next topic about texture/color balance.

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NextUp: Question about Light Temperature and Mood in Hidden Studio Series