So I often get this question, and even more so, I ask myself this question (usually out loud to someone else who doesn't give a crap). Flash or natural light? This is a tough question to answer and comes with pros and cons for both. Of course, every situation is different. But I wanted to post this blog based on a situation where you could do either. To spice it up a bit I going to throw in RING FLASH vs. NATURAL LIGHT.
In this instance, the studio offered natural light near tall windows and more space further from the windows to 'stop down' light. Alternatively, you could put a shade over the windows to stop down the light, but to make it simple we had two options. To shoot close to the window to capture with natural light, or more away and use a flash. Lucky me, I did both :).
This first gallery is shot with NATURAL window light. That means no artificial light, studio lights off.
This second gallery is shot with a ring FLASH that is attached to the camera.
There is enough natural light to focus, but ONLY FLASH light is lighting these images. #ringflash to be exact
Now, don't forget there is also every variation of light between gallery a and b. 20% Natural light and 80% Flash from 1-100%. Steady light (studio lights) but today we are sticking with the two options.
Both of the options look great, but they offer two very different feels. Natural light is softer, more inviting, innocent. Any light that isn't shining directly through the window onto the subject is essentially being diffused and creates a very balanced natural for starters gives you more choices. You can usually capture more in between moments, particularly the after moment, as you are not waiting a couple seconds for the light to recycle.
Au-contraire this is usually a recipe for higher ISO. That means more noise and well straight up this looks like every other studio shoot on the planet.
Ring Flash gives of more of an edgy look. It feels harsh with an attitude, was some spunk, and a lot of contrast. The down side is a ring flash, in particular, doesn't let you walk too far away. I like the Alein Bee one as it actually attaches to my camera. I can walk as far as my extension. The hand positioning isn't practical if you needed to shoot for hours on end I could forsee this being a setback.
I hope this provides you with some useful insight on natural lighting and ring flashes. Happy shooting!!