I know that a certain KOMU reporter said that we should treat our audience as if they had the attention span of a gnat. However, that is not how the subjects should be treated. Not many people are attracted to a blinding light, but a bright light may be needed for the shot.
This all depends on one question. What effect do you want? Let’s say you want a dark or sinister look. Then, you would probably end up using hard light. Why? According to the Lights Film School website, hard light creates hard, dark shadows, which makes the Joker in The Dark Knight even more intimidating. Hard light’s rays are almost parallel, and that is what is behind the shadow effect, since these rays can be cleanly interrupted. In addition to sinister, hard lighting can be used to create dramatic and glamorous looks as well.
Contrastingly, soft light does not create hard shadows. Soft light is diffused. The clouds blocking the sun, light shining through a t-shirt, or light shining through a glass, are all examples of soft light. Some say soft light is used to create a realistic effect, but some people say that really it is a combination of hard and soft lighting. Perhaps the best use for soft light is for portraits because it creates a clear picture, but at the same time it is not too bright and unpopular blemishes are not as noticeable.