Top Lighting Tips for the Perfect Picture
The Broader the Light Source, the Softer the Light
This is the first rule of lighting for photography. The broader the source, the lower the contrast, and it will suppress texture just as well. A light source that is narrow in its beam does the exact opposite. This is simply because a broad light source hits the subject with more directions and illuminates where would otherwise be shadows. You can position a subject near a window in daylight where the window is one that does not receive direct sunlight.
Bouncing Light Can Be For Diffusion
You can aim a narrow light source at a matte, broad surface like the matte, ceiling, or wall reflector. This reflects the light and diffuses it over a bigger area. You can use a shiny refractor here as well although this light will stay fairly narrow on the object of bounce. The extreme type of objects for this is a mirror. You can use a crumbled piece of aluminum foil spread around a piece of cardboard with its shiny side out. This can make a good reflector but not as soft as a matte surface.
This is an effective way to distinguish the relationship between the light in the background and the light on your subject. When you put the light source close to your subject, the falloff in the background will be much more pronounced if the light source is far off.
A neat tip is to have your subject be front lit by the window light and leave the room’s wall in darkness.