Home Forums Let’s Talk Photography "Strictly" Natural Light Photographers Reply To: "Strictly" Natural Light Photographers


I’m learning off camera flash, because I want to know how to add dimension to my photographs and you really can’t do that unless you use lights.

There are a lot of excellent landscape photographers who are going to be upset to hear that!  There are also some excellent wedding/portrait photographers that might fall out of their chairs, laughing, too.  Lighting is a convenience, not a requirement.

Light follows the rules laid out in physics.  Always.  Usually you don’t control the light, so much as control the light source.  You position man made lights to direct light to certain areas, or you add reflectors, or gels.  Natural light (we should really call it ambient light) is a bit different because you have to work with it.  If you want a different colour, you set your watch or alarm clock, or pray for clouds/clear sky.  You shoot at certain times which are pretty predictable, you can even get computer and smart phone apps to figure out the desired time.  You find windows facing the right direction, or covered areas.  You might still use reflectors.  You may also make use of existing man-made light sources, like neon and incandescent lamps.

Some photographers will use a lot of lights to light a building, and by a lot I mean over a hundred!  Usually once you get beyond a building or two, you reach a point where the number of required heads becomes completely impractical because of the number of transport trucks required to carry them, and the time and manpower to set them up and collect them again after the photo.  Enter the sun, which can light your entire scene for free.  If you want the shadows to go in a different direction or to be longer or shorter, it is just a matter of timing.

As a final thought, if you are shooting with a camera and your subject is shooting with a gun, flash may not be the wisest choice!