Please Stop Calling Yourself a Natural Light Photographer and Learn How to Light

To light, or not to light, that is the question.

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard someone say, “I’m a natural light photographer,” there would be enough money in my bank account to take off three months out of each year to travel for the fun of it. To the uninitiated, the proclamation that one only shoots in natural light may sound like a badge of honor, but to most working professional photographers, this concept is confounding at best and downright ridiculous at worst. Be that as it may, there is a growing legion of photographers who have embraced this “natural light only” mantra due either to their inexperience with utilizing lighting equipment, or out of some misguided notion that the “natural light look” is somehow superior. What if I were to tell you that all light, natural or otherwise, behaves identically regardless of the source, provided that you are photographing someone on planet Earth? If you understand principles of lighting and how it behaves, you can make artificial light sources look like natural light, and turn day into night, or vice versa. Being able to shoot 24 hours a day means that I can adapt to the needs of my clients as well as challenges posed by mother nature, which translates to more billable hours and more income. Sounds a lot better than only being able to photograph client work while the sun is out, doesn’t it?

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Lighting Made Easy, A Book Review

Kevin Kubota's Lighting Notebook
Kevin Kubota's Lighting Notebook

Kevin Kubota's Lighting Notebook

Being a photographer has its downsides. We work in a very fast paced, ever-changing field. We need to constantly update our style and keep on top of current trends to make sure we don’t sink into the competition sea and sink like so many before us. We do this by using several different methods, one being trying to wade through all the books and magazines to find those special ones that stick out, grab your genuine attention, and actually teach you something. I recently come across a book that does all of that: Kevin Kubota’s Lighting Notebook.

Editor’s Note: This is a guest blog posting by Travis Lawton, the Lawtographer

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