When it comes to light, I believe beginning photographers make a distinct separation between natural light photography and flash photography. Many think that you are either on one side or the other. Nevertheless, a lot of amateurs feel inspired by natural light photographers and follow their style to the point where they refuse to use flash. But beyond the inspiration they get from ambient light photographers, many stay away from flash for a number of reasons. The first one is they don’t know how to use it correctly. One of the hardest parts about learning photography is learning how to create your own light. Ambient light offers a comfortable solution.
(Success Tip #1: 52 ways to learn photography when you have little time to spare )
When shooting with flash, you have to carry extra gear. Again, comfort wins with many photographers.
Finally, I’ve seen a lot of amateurs trying to use flash and ending up with poor results, then finally giving up on flash photography all together.
As much as I love ambient light, I believe they are wrong. You cannot call yourself a good photographer or a pro until you master light. You must learn how to use it in its natural state, and you must learn to create your own. After that, there is another important skill you can use to create awesome results: balancing natural light with flash. It can be very confusing and frustrating if you don’t know what you’re doing. Why would you bring flash to a place with plenty of ambient light? Because ambient light can be flat and boring or it could be harsh from one side and cast plenty of shadows on the other. One or more flashes will add drama to your shot. If you place your light source correctly and enhance the shot with a little retouching, you will end up with some eye candy.
Too see a demonstration from the field, I recommend watching this video made by Gavin Hoey and Adorama TV. Gavin shoots in a beautiful location, somewhere in the British woods, with one flash and different types of ambient light and he also explains the retouching process.
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