NATURAL LIGHT vs STUDIO LIGHT...

(and what might be best for your session)

   Natural light portraits tend to have an air and openness to them that differs from the more contrasty and dramatic renditions I might otherwise create with many of my techniques.  To help highlight this difference in overall effect, have a look at two similar images from an outdoor music shoot I did with an amazing cellist, Becca Bradley:

Natural Light Only.

Outdoor Studio Lighting Used.

   Even though the above images are similar in some ways (and captured moments apart), do you notice how the "natural light only" image tends to have more open, calming, and earthy tones?  It's not that the studio lighting version is bad...not at all!  It's just that they each have their place, depending on what you are looking to achieve. 

STRIKING THE BALANCE...

   As a photographer and image maker, I've discovered that sometimes there's a middle ground, though, that can be incredibly beautiful for my clients in the right contexts.  I never want to overwhelm a situation, but rather create pockets of opportunities for subtly adding a little extra "special sauce" to a few images within the span of our time together.  And so while we can pursue a more natural light session as desired, I often still bring a small hint of studio lighting to these sessions to accent certain situations and scenes:

Natural Light Only.

Natural Light Only.

Small hint of studio lighting used to highlight the expectant mother against the sunlit background.

Small hint of studio lighting used to highlight the expectant mother against the sunlit background.

   While the effect can be subtle, when applied to the right situations, the resulting images sing!  And no matter what, both of the above images are incredibly beautiful in their own way; wouldn't you agree?  What do you think?

   Even with a small hint of studio lighting in tow, because I have significantly less gear to move around and manage (I leave the "big guns" at home), natural light sessions are great options for individuals, couples, and families on the move, and those times where we'd like to explore a greater number of angles and possibilities that exist within a beautiful location.  It also allows the overall flow of the session to be slightly more easy-going, and gives a bit more free range and breathing room to the parents who know they, and especially their children, need it...thank you...I see that hand!  ;)