Much of what we do as photographers is to soften light. Meaning make the shadow less harsh.
You do that by making the area that emits the light larger with respect to the subject.
Look at this recent studio image:
For a picture like this, straight out of the camera, you would (and we did) use studio lights like this:
A beauty disk and two strips. All designed to direct light, but especially to make the light source larger.
(Do you see how the two strip lights also throw a wonderful lit vignette onto the background?)
Joseph and I teach this kind of lighting (see www.cameratraining.ca).
I am also teaching for the next three days: pretty much all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Henry’s Digital Imaging Show at the International Centre. Come see the show: worth every minute!