Photography – Natural Lighting Versus Off Camera Flash

Why You Need To Use Flash All The Time!

I get questions all the time about my photography and what sets me apart from most photographers. A lot of it has to do with the lighting and I thought I’d show you a few photos of natural lighting and off camera flash photography side by side so you can see the difference. All these photos were shot one frame apart and are simply a product of a light’s misfire. It doesn’t happen often, but I thought I’d show you so you can see the difference between “natural lighting” and “off camera flash” photography.

Examples of natural vs. flash photography:

Check out the amazing difference a portable light makes to this photo;

A well lit, off camera flash can really make for better outdoors wedding photography.

A well lit, off camera flash can really make for better outdoors wedding photography.

I see that a lot of wedding couples are looking for “natural light” photography. That’s what this looks like;

A poorly lit photo can really ruin outdoors wedding photography.

A poorly lit photo can really ruin outdoors wedding photography.

The photos with added off camera flash have more contrast, more “pop” and a lot more drama. It’s also the only way to insure you can get sky into a scene the way our wonderful eyes see it. For those of you who don’t know what off cameral flash photography means, it means that the flash providing that bit of drama and pop to the photo was not from a flash on my camera. I always carry a portable flash that I can trigger from my camera allowing for better control and better flash reach. Most on camera flashes are not powerful enough to make much of a difference outdoors anyway. If you ever see a photographer wandering around Detroit with what appears to be a satellite dish, odds are it’s either an off camera flash or there’s a REALLY good game on and they want to make sure they are getting excellent reception to listen to it 😉

 

Here’s another example from a wedding with and without off camera flash. What your eye would see in real life is closer to what the off camera flash produces (without quite as much drama obviously). It’s harder to catch moments (and I still shoot those regardless of perfect lighting or not), but once you get used to seeing light look spectacular, it’s awfully hard to go back!

off camera lighting for wedding photography

off camera lighting for wedding photography

Using off camera flash to improve wedding photography!

Using off camera flash to improve wedding photography!

Here are a few samples with seniors;

Troy Senior photo where I did use a flash to enhance the senior picture.

Troy Senior photo where I did use a flash to enhance the senior picture.

 

or do you prefer this natural version?

Troy Senior photo where I didn't use a flash to enhance the senior picture.

Troy Senior photo where I didn’t use a flash to enhance the senior picture.

Off camera flash, even on a cloudy day will fill in the shadows under the subject’s eyes. It also lets me shoot into the sun so my clients aren’t stuck facing the sun as the only way to light a subject.

Troy Senior photo where I did use a flash to enhance the senior picture.

Troy Senior photo where I did use a flash to enhance the senior picture.

This was a cloudy day and the difference is much more subtle, but still noticeable. Do you see how the off camera flash evens out his skin tones a bit?

Troy Senior photo where I didn't use a flash to enhance the senior picture.

Troy Senior photo where I didn’t use a flash to enhance the senior picture.

A portable flash, or off camera lighting also evens out shadows in my background for a cleaner look. Again, this is a subtle difference, but having beautifully lit photos is one of the many things that sets my work apart from those that don’t know how to make light do exactly what they want… every time and within two shots.

Troy Senior photo where I did use a flash to enhance the senior picture.

Troy Senior photo where I did use a flash to enhance the senior picture.

Troy Senior photo where I didn't use a flash to enhance the senior picture.

Troy Senior photo where I didn’t use a flash to enhance the senior picture.

 

Hope you enjoyed the tutorial so you can see what natural light photography looks like versus using off camera flash in your portrait photography.

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