Modern lenses and sensors have become incredibly good. Not a single manufacturer is making a terrible camera or a terrible lens. They’re all highly capable of resolving lots of details but the only way that they can be taken even further these days is by using artificial lighting like a flash. Yes, this has always been true, but even more so now than ever. Why? Because if two photos are shot of the same exact subject (we’re not talking about charts; charts are for people who sit there in labs all day and photographers don’t do that) and scene, it would be very tough for anyone to tell the difference between the two. Further, if you add artificial lighting in the same exact way, it will become even tougher to do.
So what does that mean?
The only way to actually take the absolutely fullest advantage of those expensive lenses that you’re buying is to use artificial lighting. Granted, we’re not talking about landscape photographers–you folks need to go to large and medium format to get better results. But when it comes to the resolution of monitors and screens, cameras are generally out-resolving them by far.
But instead, the concert photographer wanting to some day become a music photographer and shoot band portraits will need to learn how to manipulate lighting to make it do what they want.
Aspiring wedding photographers that want sharper photos need to learn the ins and outs of TTL, bouncing a flash for maximum success and coverage, and learning how to mix ambient and flash light together.
Portrait photographers will need to work with their subjects on putting together a beautiful set of images and making them pop from the image by using lighting.
Lighting, more so than any other technique, will differentiate you as a photographer from many of the others out there. Even if you’re not as strong at marketing yourself, you’ll have a chance at creating images that can speak for themselves.
Lighting, combined with your own unique creative vision and ideas, will take you ever further than working without it and waiting for specifics to happen naturally during the day or night.