Medium light used in photography is a result similar to the sun light blocked by soft and scattered clouds. Shadow created by this light is not sharp but rendered as a actual shadow of an object.
A translucent material in front of studio flash will create similar result. This can be in form of a thin white plastic roll or a studio umbrella. Diffusion of light is not as much as compared to soft light but quality and nature of the light source is altered.
This type of light will go well with a subject having semi-matt surface. It is soft enough for even illumination and hard enough to open up details in the textured surface. So a balance is maintained and light plays good part to emphasis texture in a controlled manner. In food photography, fashion and glamour photography and in most of the semi-matt products shot, this light is indispensable.
However, on smooth and polished surface, this light is not very useful. High light created by this type of light does not have enough area to completely show the full story. Secondly, if an umbrella is used for converting light to medium source light, reflection of umbrella will be visible in the object as a distorted high light.
Similarly, on matt surface, this light will not be able to capture texture as effectively as hard light. So medium source of light can be used as a filler or second light, when you are shooting this type of subject.
Distance of a light source from the subject is an important consideration, which has to be taken in account. A medium light at very close distance will become soft light and if the same light is used from a greater distance, it will be characterized as a hard light. Size of the light source should be in relation with the distance, or, however big the source is, with increased distance, it will become a point source of hard light. Example is the sun, which is the largest source of light in terms of its size and diameter, but those 15000000 odd kilometers distance makes it a point source of light.
Read more about soft light
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Read about light attachments used in photography
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