The Light Series: No Flash vs. Flash

So this is a topic near and dear to my heart. And let me preface this post by saying this is not to knock anyone’s photography, or to say that anyone is doing it wrong or that my way is the only way it should be done. That being said, the way I shoot is different. And that is completely intentional. People ask me all the time if the sky in my photos are fake. And the answer is NO! The skies are not fake. I have used one fake sky in my career and that was because the client specifically asked for it.

So why is this such a big deal? Well the main reason it is a big deal is because there has been an influx of “self-taught” natural light photographers with the availability of digital SLR cameras. It is relatively easy to have a nice camera and take “good” pictures. And that is completely ok. But, but, when you shoot only natural light you are not allowing yourself to capture the beauty that is around your client. Now full disclosure, when I started I shot predominantly natural light. But again, I wanted to be intentionally different, so I learned very early on how to use off camera flash. For those who don’t know off camera flash is a speed light, or strobe that is triggered by a transmitter attached to my camera allowing the flash to fire and illuminate my client.

Using flash in my case strobes, which are my preferred choice of flash, I am able to not only bend light to my will, but also able to shoot pretty much anytime of the day, even in the dreaded middle of the day when the sun is at it’s apex. Natural light photographers, for most of them, cannot do this. They absolutely could, if they were willing to learn how to strobe their client, as well as use it correctly.

The photos below are the same day same time, one is shot with natural light, one with two strobes. The angles are different but there is enough of the sky in the first photo to see that you cannot see any blue sky or clouds.

The second photo has two strobes set to full power, for you photographers ISO 200, F/10, shutter speed 1/400th of a second.

The first picture is a decent photo, but if you had to choose between the two, would you really choose the first one? I kind of doubt it. The sky isn’t fake that is really the way it looked and being able to capture that is only possible if you understand how to use flash.

Thanks for stopping by and until next time my friends be extraordinary,




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