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Oct 11, 2012

Check out this photo battle: Natural vs. Artificial Light

Natural vs. Artificial Light

Today’s battle isn’t between two photos, it is between two different styles of photography: using natural light or artificial light.

In today’s episode we discuss the pros and cons of both natural and artificial lighting. The great thing is that there is really no right answer, neither is better than the other, it just comes down to what you prefer.

Now it is up to you to tell us what you prefer – Natural or Artificial Light. Be sure to vote below and write in a comment why you feel the way you do. It will help everyone improve their photography and help us get to know you better.

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  • Raven's PhotoStudio

    I use both either separately or together. My battle complaint is whether or not you leave your camera on automatic or if you use manual as you should. In my opinion if you’re always an automatic you’re not a photographer your camera’s doing all the work and anyone can push a button in that case.

  • Raven's PhotoStudio

    I use both either separately or together. My battle complaint is whether or not you leave your camera on automatic or if you use manual as you should. In my opinion if you’re always an automatic you’re not a photographer your camera’s doing all the work and anyone can push a button in that case.

  • Christina Sylvester Skinner

    I voted natural light simply because it’s what I’m comfortable with. I first learned with natural light back in college using film. I’m very intimidated by artificial light setups. I’m comfortable, and very happy, when shooting into the sun at the golden hour. I embrace backlighting and flare. My approach to photography probably has a lot to do with that though. Being a mom to a toddler and infant means that I’m capturing life as art, instead of making works of art from concepts (if that makes any sense). My personal projects are mainly lifestyle and for that you just go with the flow and catch moments as they happen and deal with whatever light you have available. Obviously my bath time images are using ambient light because it’s in a bathroom at night so I guess that’s technically artificial. I would define myself as a photographer that uses available light but is terrified of the strobes sitting my closet. hahaha!

  • Daniel Troutman

    I actually started with strobes because I believed it to be the harder of the two disciplines to master. It forced me to learn a lot about light patterns and ratios quickly because with flash you control every light source in the photo. I use flash about 80% of the time because I personally like the look but I now feel that perhaps there are some holes in my bag of tricks. Most of my clients prefer the look of strobes but I get some that want a more natural and “airy” feel to their portraits. Thanks to working with strobes I know where the light source (sun) needs to be for a great look but am struggling with positioning my subject correctly to achieve it. I believe that as a pro I have an obligation to my clients to continue to try and master both types of lighting. I feel that anyone saying they only use natural light or strobes are limiting themselves as artists and possibly adding an unnecessary degree of difficulty to capturing the image. It’s like Tiger woods deciding to only use a putter. He may be good enough to pull it off but why would he want to?

  • B Piscitello

    I feel like learn how to use flash could really help you understanding how any light works and how to use it for your advantages. 
    But I love natural light.

  • Dracorubio

    I would suggest a slight change of definition. I consider all lights I have almost no control over (sunlight, streetlights, all other available light) as natural light. The lights I deliberately take with me and place around for a shot I consider artificial light.
    I love both for their unique qualities and possibilities.

  • Rebecca Swayne Limbert

    Natural light is pretty…and it’s easy to take a pretty picture with.  But I’m a control freak, and once you know HOW to control artificial light, it is VERY powerful, and there are many more options. So I vote artificial. :D

  • Pete_Glogiewicz

    I’m Voting artificial light. The level of control you get is fantastic. Although I do accepth that many beautiful images are taken using only natural light, for me its a personal choice and artificial wins it.

  • JJWerline

    I definitely like using Natural lighting! Only because i was never really taught the tips and hints and rules on shooting with Artificial lighting. I have played around with a few soft boxes and Speed Lights and such but i never really figured it out to a “T”. And with Natural light i can adjust on the fly without moving a light source here or there and or power a strobe up or down. But this is just my opinion! LOL

    P.S. Those computer monitors in the back had my attention for most of the episode!! Very cool slide show but it was definitely taking the attention off of you.

  • Bleak

    Artificial, you can control your own sun, moon and stars, meaning you can control many lights to archive what you want.

  • Razertw

    The monitors you´ve got there seem to be representing colour very differently. I assume the one on the right is calibrated and the other one is not. Am I right ?

  • Izayaa™

    I think that natural light is beautiful, BUT I would love to get better with my artificial lighting techniques. I don’t have the right gear, I don’t even have a flash (I never use the camera on my flash, I need an off-camera flash). But if I had the gear I would most likely use artificial light. 

  • remzter

    Really depends on the situation, when recording a Phlearn episode, definitely artificial but when there is beautiful light outside why not use it. Cannot make a choice, use both, hope the battle ends 50/50.

  • Erin Guest

    Hard to make a decision. I love natural light for romantic portraits (it lends itself really well to boudoir and glamour photography) but then I love the full control – which I am not even close to mastering – that artificial lighting affords you.  With natural light you’re sort of stuck with a WYSIWYG scenario and there’s only so many modifications you can make, obviously artificial lights aren’t limited in that way.

  • Stephane

    It really depends on the subject. For wildlife and landscape, preference goes to natural light… And for indoor, often restrictive without artificial lights.

  • Michael Baldwin

     Teach me not to read properly

    “Because the one on the right is way off! I use it for twitter, etc so it
    doesn’t bother me too much most of the time, but new monitors are in
    the cards soon!”

  • Tsaqib Al-Hasawi

    I would not vote for this because both have the advantages, both have their own styles. There is no win or loose between natural or artificial light. Sorry Aaron, but I would love to see more videos on natural light. Peace. :-D

  • Bryan Dockett

    i’m voting for Artificial light. Its not easy to control when once you master the control of light artifically you can create any photography you can dream of. Remember photography is light . I think if I was a x-man I could want to control light. I’d be the best photographer in the world….. the world pinky!

  • Helen Davies

    Great episode!
    I would say in terms of photography, I only really know about natural light, given that when most people set out in this field, not many people have the money to pay out on strobes and other kit.  I am getting to a stage now, where I want to know more about artificial lighting, and hoping that it will extend potential shooting hours at the end of a work day, now the dark nights are drawing in.

    When watching this video though, I didn’t think the natural light was a patch on the artificial light, but I wonder if we are so used to watching anchor men and women in well lit television studios, it sort of conditions our thinking?

    Great topic though!

  • Gonçalo Motta

    A tough choice, however I chose natural. 

    I love the use of artificial light specially if used in a unconventional way or place. The work of Tim Simmons comes to mind, aswelll as Benoit Pallié (hope i’m writing it righting it right).

    But since I rarely shoot with artificial light, I’ve learned to understand light in the environment. Searching the best spots with a special light. And at one point, to me photography became a lot more about light, than about subject. Became almost a silent obsession. That’s how powerful natural light is to me.. 

    • Aaron Nace

      Because the one on the right is way off! I use it for twitter, etc so it doesn’t bother me too much most of the time, but new monitors are in the cards soon!

  • Guclu

    if u know everything about the light , you dont care how to control the sun ; let the sun control you let the sun decide the light wil be warm or cold , well the artificial light is hard to get :) flashes triggers softboxes beauty dishes battery packs etc.. they all not cheap and not light :) hard to get , hard to carry :p (sorry for my english)

    • Aaron Nace

      You are totally right Stevie, I didn’t realize it was going until part 2. I will be sure to cut if off for future episodes.