Why do I prefer natural light? Well, there are a few reasons behind my love for natural light. Before I get into those, I must say that I am in no way saying that natural light is better than flash photography.
See, the thing about photography is the many different ways light can be used and manipulated in order to create art. There is no right or wrong when it comes to natural light vs flash. It is all about your vision, brand, or your idea for the final product.
The word “photography” comes from Greek root words that combine to mean drawing or writing with light. Sweet huh?
Well, you see, this is non-sense to me. This whole natural light is better and vice versa craziness. It essentially comes down to your preference and your vision. Both lighting techniques create some amazing imagery.
I personally prefer natural light, but when I come into a situation where flash is need, then I break it out and use it. No biggie. I am not talking about very in-depth and technical lighting tools. I am talking about my speedlight and wireless sync should I need it off my camera. I typically schedule my sessions during times of the day where light is best. This is called the golden hour.
It is very rare that I use flash so I had to search far and wide to find a good comparison. The photos below (from Tiffany & Corey’s Elopement) show the difference in natural light and flash. The two images were taken about 10 minutes apart from each other. The first was with natural light and the second with one speedlight. They both give an amazing feel to the image. Using flash for the second image really helped me achieve the look I was going for.
The golden hour is the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset. This is when the light is at it’s best. It creates the perfect warmth and soft light right before the sun dips down over the horizon.
I actually prefer to photograph during the golden hour and about 15 minutes or so after the sun is gone down over the horizon. There is still an amazing softness about the light during that time.
Shooting in bright sun results is harsh shadows, strong backlight, and hot spots like no other. The best thing to do for someone looking for natural light in midday sun is to find shade. When you find shade, have your subjects back toward a shaded area vs a brightly lit area. Doing so will make sure your background isn’t blown out. Just test it out and look at the back of your camera, you will see exactly what I am talking about.
I could go on and on about this but you get it. 😉 Now is where I show you some photos from Emily & Colm’s Dry Lake Bed Elopement. The top row is golden hour and the bottom row is that light I was talking about for about 15 minutes after the sun has dipped over the horizon. Or in my case, Mountain.
So I encourage you to go outside of your comfort zone. Try to shoot in all types of light from all different times of the day. Also, try artificial light if you have never done it before. In fact, this gal (yes, me!) will be working on my flash skills as I want to play with it some more. I can’t wait to learn more!
Essentially, there will always be room to grow and better your craft. Challenge yourself!