Of all the types of direct sunlight, side lighting is probably the most useful when it is important to bring out modeling and texture in the subject, and this is all down to the way that the shadows fall.
Shadows are the feature of side lighting that stands out the most, and it is these shadows that show the relief of surfaces and objects. The other condition under which the sunlight is at right angles to the camera’s view is when the sun is overhead, but, in this case, the ground limits the extent of the shadows, and also tends to act as a reflector to fill them in. The shadows from side lighting have three effects. The first is that the shadow edge traces the shape of the front of the subject, and so has a modeling effect. The second effect is on surface texture. Shadows are longest under side lighting, and so the small ridges, wrinkles, and other fine details of a surface show up in the strongest relief. The third effect of side lighting is on contrast. If the sky is clear, and there is nothing nearby to reflect the light, such as buildings, the contrast between light and shade will be high.
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