01 Apr The Picture Patch Club – #1
Artificial and Natural Light in Photography
When capturing an image, you need to decide which lighting environment you want to match the look and feel of the image that is desired. The options you have to decide which lighting to go for are artificial and natural lighting.
Before we discuss what are the pros and cons of artificial and natural lighting. We will discuss what both artificial and natural light is, and how they affect each photograph.
Artificial light is any type of lighting that we can control. Below is a list of a few artificial light sources as an example;
- Street Lighting
- Strobe Flash
- Led Lighting
Advantages and Disadvantages of Artificial Lighting
If you’re a fan of being able to control and adjust the lighting of your photo then artificial lighting is for you. A benefit of this light source is that it’s available at any time of day whatever the weather. That’s why we choose to adopt this light source on most of our photo experiences. Including products such as; the photo pods, bullet rig, projector booth and our brand new vintage photo booth to name a few.
A disadvantage of artificial lighting would be that it does require investment and can be known to burn a hole in your wallet. On a shoot then it would often be a need to use more than one source of artificial lighting. Which could turn out to become expensive. However, opposing this point I would say that there are many brands making this artificial lighting cheaper nowadays, along with DIY artificial lighting. There is always a way to cut the costs of implementing this lighting method.
In the photo above we used static LED lights as our artificial lighting. As you can see the lighting is giving a nice, soft lighting on the subjects as they pose with our lovely Balloon Wall at Confex 2019.
In the photo above we have used a studio strobe light from our photography department to create this bright, clear and crisp effect on the subject. This is a great example how artificial light can be used well indoors.
To explain natural light would be very straightforward. Natural light is available light produced by nature. The most notable examples of natural light are the sun and the moon.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Natural Light
I believe the largest benefit of natural light is that it’s free and easy to find. You can literally walk outside and there you go. Natural light is at your dispense and won’t cost you anything to obtain. Another advantage would be the different colours and effects this lighting has. This is all depending on the seasons, weather and time of day. We would recommend a photographer just starting out to just head outdoors, and experiment with natural light.
Disadvantages of natural light are that the seasons and weather can be unpredictable. To obtain the colours and contrast that you want, you would need the weather to adhere to these needs, which we all know might not be accessible on the day. Therefore, the shots that we all want are not on demand so to speak. However, the way to secure desirable shots is by investing in colour lens filters, reflectors or diffusers to help achieve the effect you want in the camera.
This photo shows how natural light can be used to achieve the desired image. For example, the day this photo was taken was an overcast in Autumn. This explains the soft feel of the image.
The photo above shows that taking photos on a clear day in natural light can portray the subject in a fantastic light. This is the lighting we highly recommend beginning photographers get out and start taking photos in.
When to use artificial and natural lighting techniques?
The type of lighting you will need all depends on the type of photographs you’re looking to take. For example, artificial lighting is difficult to work with when starting out. We would recommend using natural lighting techniques when starting out. Natural light photography works best for reportage and street photography. Artificial lighting is used a lot in the professional photography industry in fields such as product, fashion and commercial photography. Any shoots that you may have in these photography fields, artificial lighting is the way to go.