See how the shadow ruins this picture?

Shadow and light intensity may be basic lighting considerations, but they are perhaps the most important.

Consistent lighting is crucial for properly exposing pictures. If two sections of a frame have a high contrast in light intensity, part will be underexposed and the rest will be blown-out (overexposed).

Besides even lighting, we also prefer soft light. The best time for soft light occurs at sunrise and sunset. Incidentally, you also minimize light contrast at these times by the very nature of less-intense light.

Portrait photographers especially prefer soft light because of how it smoothes skin and textures. It's pretty obvious that shooting outside at noon would not be your preferred portrait scenario. Intense light from directly overhead would cause shadows underneath facial features. And where the light would land, all blemishes and facial textures will stick out.

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