Anyone that knows me, knows that I use all sorts of lighting techniques to produce the images that I produce.

Most of my images it is obvious that I have popped in an artificial light here and there and to be honest without using portable studio lights or the smaller speedlites I wouldn’t be able to produce most of the images you see grace these pages.

A lot of photographers struggle with the idea of using artificial lighting and a lot of photographers come out with terms like:

  • I prefer natural lighting.
  • I dont like the looks of lights
  • People look like they are a deer in the headlights
  • It washes out my images

Now while there is some truth to the above statements I have a different view.

Lighting or the use of available lighting is an essential part of making up an image.  In fact without light we wouldn’t have an image.  The use of available light for me is very important and how it is used or not used is even more important.

Yes you can completely destroy an image through the use of artificial lighting but you can destroy an image without using artificial lighting also.

The lighting of your subject doesn’t have to be obvious as a massive flash in the face and can be soo subtle that you dont even know the subject has been lit.

Take this photo for example.


Artificial lighting can be used to enhance your portraits.

Artificial lighting can be used to enhance your portraits.

While it was a great time of the day to capture this, the natural lighting was way to flat.  The dress appeared to not have any depth or texture and the shape of the subject was not highlighted because of the available lighting..

To get around this I introduced some more available lighting in the form of a small speedlite set at around 45 degrees from camera right of the subject and just out of frame.  This allowed for a directional light to push across the subject and create shadows and depth on not only her dress but her entire body.

Now I have to ask you….  If I didn’t tell you that it was lit using so called artificial lighting would you of noticed?

The lighting in this images was selected to enhance the image and not be the image.

This can be a very important part and something to note.