7 Reasons We Love to Shoot with Natural Light

We love to shoot with natural light. Even though we own numerous off-camera flashes, remote flash triggers, light stands, continuous lights, shoot-through umbrellas, reflectors and other light modifiers, we rarely use them. These are our reasons.

1. Carrying around less equipment is more fun.

Part of the reason we went to a mirrorless system is for smaller size and lesser weight. Modern cameras have a ton of dynamic range, and the ability to selectively bring up exposure during post-processing means that shooting with light modifiers is not absolutely necessary anymore.

Why lug around more heavy equipment when we can go out with a small camera and lens, and take photos as we feel like it?

2. It costs money to get good lighting equipment.

That money could be spent on vacations and traveling, and we enjoy taking photos outdoors much more than in front of a boring plain backdrop.

3. Our kids like to run around a lot.

Catching them with lighting equipment would be difficult when they are always on the move.

4. Our kids also really like to knock over light stands.

Just after this shot was taken, the light stand was knocked over. Luckily no one and nothing was hurt.

4. It’s stealthier.

Using the flash draws quite a bit of attention to the photographer. We prefer to be as unobtrusive and capture those candid moments when people are being themselves, which is also why we love silent shutter.

5. We get better facial expressions.

Bright flashes can make kids and babies very unhappy, as we found out during a few baby and family photo sessions. Stressed babies also make for stressed parents, and that’s no good. Since then we have stayed away from shining bright light in baby faces!

6. We love the way natural light looks.

Natural light is beautiful. Artificial light has a time and place, and we enjoy playing around with strobes for certain looks, but our favorite look is all natural. We love the way highlights and shadows look in real life, and shooting with natural light has helped train our eyes to look for the best light in every situation.

7. We also love to shoot landscapes and environmental portraits.

We look for the best that the sun and clouds offer us, and we are constantly chasing the light. Getting lucky with amazing natural light is another part of the fun!

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3 responses to “7 Reasons We Love to Shoot with Natural Light”

  1. Paul says:

    You do take some amazing photos. I’ve enjoyed reading your various posts. As a Sony newcomer, it is very useful to see how other people use their cameras and the successes they have. It would be great if you could perhaps note what lens, aperture and shutter speed you used for each shot. My daughter is not keen in front of the camera and likes to move (!) so she is hard to get good portraits of. I’m thinking a longer lens (70-200 F4 or 24-105 F4) might help me sneak more candid shots of her! Best wishes to you all.

  2. Hi Paul, thank you for visiting our website and commenting! We usually shoot aperture priority, minimum shutter speed 1/125th for our portraits. We shoot wide open for any given lens to let as much light in as possible, or maybe stopped down a small amount. For landscapes we usually shoot at f9 or above, and use much lower shutter speed such as 1/20th depending on the focal length.

    For your daughter, I suspect that you want to increase your shutter speed and get a fast lens that is around f1.8 to freeze her movements, rather than go to F4, unless you have a ton of light and are shooting in bright sunshine. Even in overcast lighting we find that around f5.6 we need to go above 400 ISO. Also I suggest keep taking those photos. Eventually your child will come to see that you’re taking photos of her because you love her. Our kids now ask us to take photos of them. :)

  3. Jesse says:

    I love your photos! In natural light I often find I have to raise the exposure in post which blows out my highlights. I also raise the shadows which brings out noise/ is unflattering. How do you get around that?

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