I still can’t really believe I’m saying this… I LOVE FLASH!
The reason I am so surprised with myself is because in all my education I have been taught over and over again that flash should be avoided at all costs because it’s terrible and harsh and does not look good ESPECIALLY with my light, timeless, soft evenly light style.
Well guess what! I love it anyway- partially because none of that is actually true. You CAN mimic natural light with flash! Now it does take extra setup, more equipment and more knowledge that just slapping a speed light on your camera – but is it worth it!?!? YESSSS!!! I don’t know why other natural light focused photographers shy away from, and recommend against learning about flash. My hunch is that it’s because they are afraid of it themselves and would rather just put it off as something that “I don’t do. I’m a NATURAL light photographer”.
One of the best things that I heard regarding flash early on in my studies was from George Seper (owner of P.I.- Photography Institute). He said something to the affect of- Don’t use the title ‘Natural Light Photographer’ as an excuse, like many do, to not learn and master flash lighting
I wasn’t ntent to only have control of situations when I was in favorable outdoor lighting and being a wedding photographer who only knows how to use natural light is someone asking for disaster because no-one is going to re-schedule their wedding day because it’s too overcast or the Bridal Suite doesn’t have a window.
I’m not one of those people who can just do “good enough”. The bride chose the day, not the weather or specific set up struggles (typically due to budget) and making the most important day of their life the best it can be in photos, despite the challenges is what gets me so many word of mouth referrals! My goal as a photographer is to make every wedding look like a million bucks whether they actually spent a million bucks or the majority of the wedding budget is spent on me (which happens a lot more than you might think).
Don’t get me wrong I still prefer to shoot in natural light. Having a light source so far away (the sun) provides amazing diffusion and soft light especially when the sun sets and the whole sky becomes a soft box of shadowless, cotton candy dream world (every Natural Light Photographer is swooning right now- including me). But in a day that only happens two times and even knowing how to articulately manipulate imperfect sunlight is sometimes not enough. One example of this is when it’s dark haha (oh yeah that happens).
Since learning flash I feel more confident in my title as a natural light photographer. This is because I feel like my style is that of ‘Natural Light’ even when it is in a situation where natural light is not possible.
You wanna know the difference between a wedding photographer that costs $1,000 less vs. a photographer that costs $1,000 or so more? I tell this to people often- It’s the photos you don’t see on their website or blog. In my opinion, in general, the cheaper photographer may post the same quality of images as the more expensive photographer on their website but the images you don’t see- the ones only sent to the client don’t match the rest of the gallery favorites. The slightly more expensive photographer will have consistent images throughout all they deliver. This is what I’m talking about when I talk about having a Natural Light Style – even for my images that aren’t in natural light.
Anyway enough geeking out! Can you tell which of the images in this post (they’re for my New Yogurt Recipe Post on HawsBees.org) are taken with flash and which are in exclusively natural light?
Let me know below in the comments which you think (white table or kitchen shelf) and why? I honestly want to know what your guesses are!
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