Hard light refers to light coming from a single source aimed directly at the subject. This would often be a naked light bulb or strobe light, with nothing in front of it to disperse the light. And the sun on a cloudless day is the most natural source of hard light. Hard light produces a strong distinction between parts of the subject that are lit, and parts that are in dark shadow, with a clear delineation between the two areas. For example portraits lit from the side in this way show the subject half in light, half in shadow.
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