Thank you all for the wonderful feedback from last week’s first “Ask Megan Monday”. Honestly, I just assume that people don’t even read my blog so it’s always reassuring to get responses and even questions for future Monday’s. So keep it coming!
This week I’m focusing on just one question that I received since the answer has many parts to it (and could probably fill up many more Monday’s, but I’ll try to keep it somewhat concise today.)
Are you solely a natural light photographer or do you use an off-camera flash as well? If so, which do you prefer?
When I began my journey in photography a few years ago I definitely labeled myself as a natural light photographer. Was it because I just loved natural light? Because I craved that golden glow? Because I adored capturing beautiful sunflare and that warm haze? No. It was because I was so stinkin’ scared to death of learning off camera lighting! For some reason I was really intimidated by the thought of using anything other than natural light for my images.
But last March when I attended Nichole Van’s Life as Art Workshop I had the opportunity to play around with her lights after one of her sessions where she explained how to set up, trigger, and use an off camera flash and I took this. Um…hello! If this is what could result from learning another lighting technique, then why would I choose to limit myself? I don’t think that I had even returned to California before purchasing my own set of lights and beauty dish. I knew that I wanted to be able to offer my clients a broad range of images and I felt that for my own business, learning off camera lighting was essential. And last year I also had the opportunity to attend Ali Hohn’s Rock that OCF Workshop to deepen my knowledge of lighting. The more I learn, the more I just love using my lights. It really just gives me so many more options and I love that.
With all that said, I don’t think I actually prefer one over the other across the board. It really depends on each specific session, subject, and look and feel that I want for the image. For example, I always use natural light for my newborns. I just feel that they are so fresh, so natural, and natural light really compliments that and brings out that new baby softness in their images. But for high school senior sessions I just love using my lights. It just feels more bold, I love the dramatic shadows, and really fits the style of my senior photography.
If anyone is interested in knowing what lights I have, I use Alien Bees and have the B400 (for my studio sessions–my space is on the smaller side so I need a flash with less power so it doesn’t have to be all the way across the room) and the B800 (perfect for outdoor sessions and lighting up your subject while also getting gorgeous sunflare. The sun it one powerful light source so you need a flash with a lot more power to get your subject properly exposed.) I also use a beauty dish as opposed to a softbox, but that’s totally just a preference thing.
So that’s today’s Ask Megan Monday. Let me know your thoughts or if you have any questions for another Monday.