Quality of light

The quality of light affects the mood of the picture.

Hard light
Hard light, like that found on a bright, sunny day, creates very bright and very dark areas in the same scene. Another example of hard light is when the camera's flash is the only light source, resulting in bright subjects against a very dark background. Use the dark shadows as design elements or soften them with fill flash if you're within range.

Soft light
Soft light is very camera-friendly—smooth, diffuse, even, with few shadows to confuse your camera. Cloudy days and large shaded areas offer soft light with no harsh shadows or intense bright spots.

Light even has colors. Early or late in the day, sunlight has a warm golden glow. Frigid temperatures in a snow-covered landscape can be conveyed with bluish noon-hour light.