Natural Light Photography : 6 Reasons You Should Turn Off The Lights
when it comes to photographing indoors, most people are very surprised that i will intentionally turn off all of the lights before taking out my camera. but really, besides thinking through my camera settings, turning off the lights is one of the most important things i do to ensure a successful photo. when it comes to photography, i have always focused on natural light and learning to work with the light that i am given. natural light photography simply lends to better, more honest images. as you prepare to photograph indoors, here are 6 reasons you should turn off the lights.
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Natural Light Photography: 6 Reasons You Should Turn Off The Lights
1. Better Skin Tones
skin is something that soaks up and reflects color so easily. knowing this, you want to make sure you aren’t casting any unnatural color onto the skin. overhead lighting and artificial light can make the skin look yellow and unnatural. by turning off the lights and only using natural light sources, you are able to capture skin as it truly is and preserve skin tones.
be sure to read more about color casts and how to avoid them.
2. Shadows Will Fall Naturally
when using natural light, the shadows will naturally fall where they should, based on how your subject is positioned towards the light, and will create a more honest and flattering look. overhead lighting can make shadows appear in unnatural places, such as under the eyes and nose, which can be very unflattering.
3. Better Global White Balance
with natural light photography, you are only using one light source: the natural light. when you are only using one light source, you are only working with one white balance and your white balance will globally be the same. in the image above, my only light source was the natural light coming from the windows on camera left and right. if i were to have turned on the lamp, i would have competing white balances: the harsh yellow from the artificial lamp light and the cooler white balance from the outdoor light source. by only using natural light and turning all other lights off, you are eliminating uneven and competing white balance issues within your frame.
4. Natural Light Surprises
when you turn off artificial light and only use natural light, you will be surprised and what you will discover. in the image above, all of the light were off in my bedroom before i picked up my camera, with only a 6 inch opening in the blinds positioned behind the baby. through those blinds entered beautiful light, which acted as my sole light source. when you turn off all the lights and play with the natural light you are given, you are bound to see that natural light comes with a lot of beautiful surprises that can make for very compelling images.
need help combating low light? here are some tips for working in low light situations.
5. Depict Realism
natural light photography simply depicts realism. it allows you to photograph what you see, accurately. in the image above, i wanted to capture how the light honestly played on the baby’s feet while she was eating and, by only using natural light, i was able to portray the scene as i was seeing it in present day.
6. You Are Given Ultimate Control
natural light photography means that you are in ultimate control of your light. instead of relying on artificial light and it’s uncertainties of how it will play on your subject, you are given the creative freedom to move closer or further away from the light or control how much light is let into the room, through blinds and curtains. in the image above, i purposefully positioned myself and my baby close to the light source (the window) in order to create deep shadows. should i have stood across the room, further from the light, i wouldn’t have created as many shadows as i originally wanted.
i promise you, one of the best things you can do for your photography is use natural light. natural light photography is so honest and rich, allowing you to accurately depict the scene as you see it in real life. it allows you to take full control of your light, capture skin tones accurately, play with shadows naturally, improve your white balance and depict realism with your camera.
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