Conversations of a Photographer – You cant shoot natural light

In this conversation of a photographer the topic of ‘you cant shoot natural light’ came up in a discussion.

Natural Light…what is it?

Natural lightIn photography natural light refers to a photographer that only uses natural light hence the name natural light photographer. Such photographers use only sunlight to capture their images, so they do not use any type of artificial light such as flashes and strobes to light their subject.

Strobist…Whats that?

Im sure you have seen my work by now and the way I capture my images

natural light

particularly my portraits. I’m what is know as a strobist. Sounds like a dirty word but it describes a photographer who uses flashes and strobes or any type of artificial light to light their subject.

Now dont get me wrong neither is correct nor incorrect its all a mater of preference and to some extent training. Every photographer starts out as a natural light photographer photographing flowers and animals. Then some decide to extend themselves and see what else they can do and start to learn reflectors and on camera flash then off camera flash then strobes then studio lighting then…it goes on and on and on.

Some photographers like myself keep learning new techniques but from time to time fall back to shooting flowers, plants animals and scenes as I did but take it to another level. There is nothing wrong with that, its up to what the photographer likes to do.

So here is the conversation or part of it from my perspective.

Person – So why do you use lights on all your shoots

Me – Well because I like to control the lighting situation.

Person – Ok but cant you do the same thing without it?

Me – Technically yes but using lights gives me more flexibility and more control over my images.

Person – Sound like its easier to shoot with lights if you can control everything?

Me  – No… I wouldn’t say that. I takes some getting used to.

Person – ’cause  I see XXX photographer dont use any light and their pictures look like yours

Me – (feeling some kinda way about that statement) look like my work? I highly doubt that.

Person – (not realizing that they are treading on thin ice) Yeah you ever check out  XXX page? (facebook page) they shoot just like you.

Me – (This Ni**a head cant be right) Ummm yeah i know their work and its not the same not even in the slightest from the sheer fact that we are two different people that use two different techniques…but if thats what you see then thats what you see.

Person – I ein trying to dis you or nuttin I just wondering why you dont shoot without lights –  thought you didnt know how.

-Oh boy-

Me – (why you little…) Nah man, have you actually ever been to may page or website? All i shoot are natural light images. Yeah it may be an old boat or a historic site but its the same concept. I mean post alot of cell phone pictures that people think I used my big camera for.

So NO…

I DO know how to shoot natural light I just prefer to shoot with lights and depending on circumstances I would switch to natural light or even mix the two. It not that big of a deal for me.

I had to cut that conversation short because its never good to talk to a person who dont know how to read between the lines. The best conflict resolution is to avoid conflict.

Person obviously never really looked at my images and was definitely not a fan and for sure was never a client other wise he would have know better.


Can you tell which images below were shot using lights vs those shot in natural light?


natural light

In the end Im a photographer not a guy with a camera. I can capture images using many different techniques. Just because one person limits themselves to one technique or style does not mean I should do the same

In the words of erykah badu – Now keep in mind that I’m an artist and I’m sensitive about my shit.


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