Styles 101: What is Natural Light Photography?

Clients often aren’t aware of the intricacies of photography, especially when it comes to the multitude of styles out there that some professional photographers offer. To help them better understand the types of photography that can be illustrated in their carefully created images, this series of posts provides explanations and examples of every photography style listed in Photographer Central.

Understanding how to use light is something all photographers should know very well. However, natural light and studio lighting require completely different techniques. Natural light photography means producing images using only light from the sun. While natural light photography can be created indoors, it would need to be within range of a light source such as a window or doorway. These types of images can include artistic solar flares, backlighting, window light, and other techniques. The only rule is that photographers cannot use any studio lights. This type of photography often leads to images that look more casual or even intimate.

When working with a professional photographer who shoots in natural light, you’ll often hear about the term golden hour. This refers to the period of each day that immediately follows sunrise or comes right before sunset. Photographers highly value the golden hour because the kind of light available is usually much softer and diffused. By capturing the image during the golden hour, the photographer knows that the shadows will be less dark and highlights will be less overexposed. 

Photo credits: Jason Comerford Photography, Sweet Moments in Time Photography, Samantha Melanson Photography, Apple of my eye photography by Jamie Brown, Shelley Paulson Photography


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