Would Someone Please Explain…

January 8, 2009

…What are the benefits of  “all natural light” photography?

I want to preface the rest of what I’m about to say with the fact that I am not pointing fingers at any specific people, it’s just that I have seen this used as a marketing angle for years now and I still don’t get it.  Light is light, and it’s an absolutely essential ingredient in any and every photograph ever created.  So what would be the appeal of “natural” light, and why would a photographer label themselves as such?

Is natural light healthier?  Other businesses are touting the benefits of their products using all natural ingredients, things that are organic, or made from renewable sources.  Things that make you feel good when you buy them because a big man did not have to cut down a poor defenseless tree and it was never tested on fuzzy bunnies.  Does that apply to light?

Is natural light great because it’s ‘natural‘ and will make the subject look natural?  Would that version of natural be before or after a few rounds of photoshop?

I’m all for being an “available” light photographer.  I have been one of those for 16 years now.  That means using any and every available light source that will assist you in rocking out the type of image you are going for.  Natural, artificial, home made, whatever!  I can’t imagine limiting myself to one type or style of lighting or light source.  I can’t imagine giving up control over my final image to the whims of nature.

What are the parameters of natural light?  Is a candle flame natural, or is it just the sun we’re talking about?  What if the sun is not playing well that day?  What if your subject wants to be in a windowless office or at night, are you completely F@$%#d if that happens?

OK, I’m done.  Climbing slowly down off my box of soap and going back to work.

3 Responses to “Would Someone Please Explain…”

  1. Hi James – wanted to wish you and Meredith a great 2009. Went to SPA this year not going to make it to DWF – hope you have fun if you are going. I want to thank you for the AWESOME tips last year on the lighting at DWF – I had a blast playing last year with OUTDOOR LIGHTING!! and I am stepping it up more this year – natural light is great but you gotta look different to Uncle Joe and add some drama sometimes is goooood!

  2. Michele DeFoe said

    I have to say that my absolute favorite photograph from our wedding was done with one patio light and a flashlight. Neither of those are natural. I’m with you on this one.

    Thanks James!

  3. Tracy said

    Love this post! Amen:)

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