Why I Love Shooting With Artificial & Natural Light

I am a NJ Photographer and lover of lighting. I’m not a master of it though, but it’s on my to do list. When I have the opportunity to photograph someone new, I usually try to do it outdoors where there is a mixture of sunlight and my strobes. The day I photographed Janet, we were at a local park where the Battle of Monmouth took place.

There is a sheltered area to eat away from the harsh sun, so we went into there to snap some photographs of her. I asked Janet to stand so the sun was behind her, which serves two purposes.

  1. Created enough light on her back to separate her from the background.
  2. Illuminated the background so I didn’t have to.

There is a big benefit to using the sun as light source when mixed with strobes. In fact, the benefit is one of my favorite photographic theories.

As you know, normally your aperture and shutter speed both control the exposure of the scene. However, when using strobes, something else occurs. Your shutter speed now controls the exposure of the natural light and your aperture controls the exposure of your artificial light. That blows my mind, and makes playing with light so much more fun. This provides the opportunity to shoot flash at high speeds so day looks like night. It also provides the opportunity to take the background and brighten it up so the subject pops off of it more.

As you see in this photo of Janet, I did just that. The sun was very harsh, so after finding the right shutter speed, I slowed it down a couple stops to bring up the brightness. My final exposure for this photograph was 1/100 at f/3.2 ISO 100. For my artificial light, I used a white shoot-through umbrella and a small softbox.

Of course, both were triggered by a PocketWizard Plus II. I am a lover of lighting, and that is my story.

Thanks for reading and happy shooting,


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