Authentic Photography: Natural Lighting vs. Studio Lighting

Authenticity is a central tenet of fine commercial portraiture photography. However, there is another element that underpins great professional headshot or corporate photography and that is the power of natural lighting. However, for many, the idea of professional photography usually revolves around the studio photography experience. In this article we will highlight the differences between natural lighting and posed studio lighting and how they differ and more crucially which one is best?

Natural Lighting – What Does This Mean?

In the context of photography, natural lighting is about leveraging the power of natural light, which means any light that is powered by sunlight. In other contexts, ambient light can also be considered a form of natural lighting as outdoor spaces where available natural light creates a unique lighting experience.

Now, many people think harnessing the power of natural light is simple enough – one takes a photo outside and the power of the natural light makes them a pro. However, understanding the power of natural light means understanding a great many different contexts and issues. This means understanding when the sun will rise, be at its zenith and set. Also, this means understanding your environment – from greenery to urban spaces – and how this intersects with your natural light experience.

Professional photographers can also help enhance natural lighting photography conditions using professional equipment to help make even greater photographic experiences. There are many tools, from a reflector to a scrim, which can either bounce light or soften light, to enhance the photographic space and provide a greater backdrop facility.

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Studio Lighting – What Does This Mean?

The lighting experience of a photography studio is different to the experience of natural lighting. This is about harnessing the power of artificial light and the ambience therein to create unique lighting experiences to power the photographer’s canvas. Therefore, at its core, the studio lighting experience is powered by the trusted flash of the camera.

The lighting of a photography studio will start by illuminating a set area and this artificial space will provide the basis of their photographic journey. From this setup, the use of single-flash camera lighting can be matched or enhanced using “off-camera” lighting technologies – from strobes to beam lighting.

The skill here is understanding how these different lighting technologies and equipment interact and therein provide a basis for modification which will provide a visual return for the photographer within the studio environment. These modifications, from strobes, lighting umbrellas to modelling ‘beauty’ lighting dishes, provide a means to create any lighting effect within the indoor space.

Which is Better – Natural Light or Studio Light?

At Stace Photography we do not believe one lighting format is better than another. However, the growing popularity of natural light as a medium for authenticity is something any business, looking at creating unique corporate headshots or photography output, should consider. But we believe in listening to our clients.

We start our collaboration with clients by harnessing the power of conversation so that we can better understand their needs and wants. We plan our photoshoot strategy based on these discussions. This means we can collaborate throughout the process – which means no nasty surprises later on!

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