Photography and processing your images is all about having fun with your photography. Producing your own images and experimenting with them. The thrill of creating something you like gives you confidence and stimulates success.
With black and white printing we used to use different contrast grades of paper ranging from soft to normal and hard and they would give different contrast ranges in the prints.
Today we use Photoshop and use the contrast slider to give different contrast effects. The use of a different contrast can yield different effects which can enhance the image. A soft print may appeal to one person and a harder print may appeal to someone else, it is all a matter of what pleases you.
The normal image shown below was taken in harsh strong lighting. The image was then processed in Photoshop to reduce the contrast resulting in the image shown above.