Artificial Lighting Tips from a Natural Light Lover

I am a natural light lover! Window light. Morning light. Golden hour light. I love it all. For the longest time artificial light scared me! But now what scares me even more is terrible light. Have you wanted to start using artificial lighting but had no idea how to use it, let alone make it look amazing? You’re not alone and I’m here to bring you to the dark side light side in the simplest way possible.

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Right now indoor lifestyle photography is trending for family photographers. As this new style of photography has emerged and more sessions are shot indoors, “natural light photographers” everywhere are panicking. How do you light a dark lit room while keeping the natural light look? I’ve tried several different options, including window light only, flash and several different continuous lighting brands. There is no right or wrong way, but MY absolute favorite is this cheap Studio FX2000 from Amazon.

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I LOVE THEM BECAUSE…

They’re Cheap

That’s right. For two light stands, 10 bulbs, and a nice carrying case they are just over $100. In the world of photography, there are very few things you can buy for $100. Remember, with cheap you get what you pay for. In this case, the light is beautiful. The set up is understandably priced right. They are not the sturdiest light stands and the set up is a little confusing at first. They work for what I need them to work for.

They Give Beautiful Light

I love the light this set up produces. You can see for yourself by studying the light in all of these sample pictures.

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They are SO easy (once they’re set up)

Once they are all set up, it’s just 5 switches to turn the lights on and you’re ready to shoot. You can position them wherever you like once they are on. They are easy to shoot with because the lighting is consistent. You aren’t guessing or working with different settings, like you would with a flash or strobe.

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I Hate Flash (because it messes with my shooting style)

Flash changes the look of a picture. Plain and simple. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s not my style. I like to shoot wide open. I like the challenge of using natural light, and finding natural reflectors. I like the simplicity of using continuous lighting.

They Mix Well with Natural Light.

The lightbulbs are 45 Watt 5500k Compact Fluorescent Daylight Balanced Bulbs. When I mix these with window light, they are the same white balance. If you’ve ever shot with a very warm continuous light, you know how hard it is to match white balances with two different light sources. Turn off the overhead lights, and let your window and light stands do the rest!

WHEN, WHERE & HOW I USE THEM…

  • indoor lifestyle sessions
  • at home with my kids
  • simple product shoots
  • indoor portrait sessions (restaurants, venues, churches, etc)

It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3…4, 5. Flip on 1-5 switches to light up your subject. Move the softbox closer for softer light, and further for harsher light. You can use one at a time, or both together depending on how much extra light you need. The possibilities are endless, and straightforward.

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WHEN/WHERE I DON’T USE THEM…

  • weddings
  • receptions
  • large events

They do an amazing job lighting a few people or small area, but are not powerful enough to light up a full venue. Also, they mix better with windows and natural light rather than incandescent lighting. If you want to learn more about lighting a larger event, check out these simple off camera flash techniques.

Did this tutorial help you?  Make sure to click here for more free tutorials! And if you have any questions, please let me know in the comments below!

Chat soon!
Kylee