Can you tell the difference? Lighting versus no lighting

Do you ever find yourself frustrated that you've lost a stop or two in light, and that puts your shutter speed at a rate you just can't reliably handhold? It can get really difficult to handhold at 1/15 all the time, but in some parts of the country (raise your hands east coasters!) we deal with lower light all the time. Adding just a little bit of extra light to your scene to gain that extra stop or two is so easy and totally doable for absolutely everyone. You don't have to be a lighting guru, have a team of assistants, or even more than one simple flash.

I wrote another blog post about using lighting with photos and how I had posted them in a Facebook group where people tried to guess whether the photos had artificial or natural light. What I learned from that experiment was that many people assume that artificial light has "a look" and natural light looks completely different. This is only true if you're either not intending to make the artificial light look like natural light or if you simply don't know how to. In the comparison below, one is natural light and one is with a flash and soft box to mimic natural light. I've edited them both.

Can you tell which is which? 


Artificial lighting is used when you're shooting in a place that doesn't have a lot of light or you're trying to craft a certain look that you can't get with natural light. Using lighting with film and digital cameras is no different, it simply takes getting to know the cameras you're working with, understanding what you want out of your light source, and experimenting with different films to see what you like about each one. You can use a strobe, LED lights, flashes, or any other lighting gear to achieve the look you want. We don't always have perfect light to shoot in, so learning how to use lighting gear is essential to being able to present professional, high quality images to your clients. 

In this particular situation, I took a natural light photo first and then took a few photos that were exposed differently to get a silhouetted photo of the two of them. I specifically used lighting to light just the flowers while they stayed silhouetted. I also used lighting to get the same photo I had taken in natural light after the light had gone down by about a stop. I like to work with as little gear as possible, and I never have a team with me, so the less gear and more simple the setup the better. This was shot on my Contax 645, Fuji 400h rated at 200, Phottix trigger, Canon 580 EXII flash and a medium sized soft box. 

At our big workshop, we focus on teaching all aspects of film and most specifically how to shoot in ANY lighting situation. We'll be using a variety of lighting gear and you'll be shooting in situations that are difficult to hone your skills. We believe you don't excel at anything if you stay in your comfort zone, and we've seen tremendous growth with past attendees from following this simple rule.

-Sarah Collier, Founder