The first question to answer to is what is natural light photography? Natural light photography is the style of photography that uses no flash to light an image. Or, to say it even clearer, natural light photography is photographing using the sun as the only source of light.
We learned how to use flashes, how to incorporate external light in a shoot, but we love natural light photography, and we believe that it is the best type of light for a boudoir session. Moreover, we think that natural light photography is also the best option you have for the day to day photos of yourself, from selfies to the images your friends take of you.
Do you want to know why natural light photography is your best ally?
Natural light photography is… natural
To us, compelling boudoir images are those that look real. If your images talk about you, then we believe they are good. Using flashes creates a new level of sophistication that has pro and con. While a good photographer will undoubtfully make those flashes enhance a scene, someone not as skilled will most probably end up creating something visibly fake. Knowing quite few photographers around, I would say that only 10% of them would know how to light a scene so well with flash to make it look like natural light.
Now, if you are interested in the “glamorous” look, then this may not be your case, but overall our idea is that a photo is powerful when it is realistic, when you look like… you. Natural light photography won’t picture you outside what is considered a “normal scene“; it won’t sculpt your body in a way your brain won’t immediately recognise. This is the biggest advantage of having your portraits taken through natural light photography.
No big flashes means it is easier to relax
Try to imagine the day of your client’s photo session. The excitement, the treacherous questions her mind will play, stepping outside her comfort zone. Now imagine two scenarios.
In the first she steps in a bright room with a nice window, where everything looks familiar.
In the second she steps in a dark studio with huge flashes, lots of cables and triggers beeping.
In which scenario would you feel more at ease, more free to express yourself for who you are. With this post I am not trying to demonise flash photography, I am just trying to show you why natural light photography may be the best option while your subjects step outside their comfort zone while being photographed for a boudoir session.
Natural light photography is kind on the skin
We photograph women from 20 to 60; one of the difference between the extremes is their skin. After a certain age, skin tends to lose its elasticity. Small wrinkles starts appearing on the body, and they are nothing but small signs in the skin. When you use flash, these lines tend to appear more visibly. This is because flashes tend to be more directional.
Natural light photography to the rescue! Natural light tends to be much gentler on skin, and if your customer base is not composed by young girls, you need all the help you can get. A gentler light underlines the skin a bit less, and makes the person appear younger.
You do not need photoshop if you are a natural light photographer; at least if you live in the UK, where there is a lot of soft light. In Italy I would use a lot the shades, to avoid my subjects being in direct sun light.
You will forget you are being photographed
Similarly to what we say just few paragraph back, the presence of big flashes can be intimidating. Moreover, every image taken is one flash. Every frame, right or wrong, is highlighted with one large pop of light going off. This is a constant reminder that you are in front of a camera. If your clients are having their boudoir photos taken, this may also be a reminder that they are barely dressed in front of you. All these are not the best way of enjoying your experience.
A natural light photography session is easier on them. If you have the right chemistry with your clients, then that trust relationship is the key, and everything that makes it happen should be welcome.