• What Amateur Photographers Just Can’t Do

    December 13, 2018


    I think I have spoken about this before but I see a lot of people claiming to be “natural light photographers.” This has always confused me because for me, the light to use is the one needed to create the best possible image. If that’s with existing, unmodified natural light, great, if not, more work needs to be done. The results are beautiful either way. The trick is being able to identify if the existing light is even worth using. 99% of the time in Vegas, it isn’t as high quality as modified light (reflectors, black gobos, electronic flash, etc.) but as a professional, one must be ready for anything and so many photographers selling themselves, for dirt cheap most of the time, just don’t have the skills to handle themselves in most lighting and environmental conditions.

    I want to show you an example of a family portrait that would not be achievable with unmodified natural light.

    bad natural light photography

    This is a situation where someone without the necessary photography skills is going to struggle. Here we have a family in shade which is darker than the sunlit background. I exposed for the background here because I want to be able to see the beautiful blue in the sky and mountain details. Unfortunately, since the family is shaded, this renders them much too dark.

    bad natural light photography

    I then exposed my camera for the family. They are now bright and viewable but now the background is completely washed out and lacking detail. The light on the family is also very poor. It is soft, yes, but it is flat, uninteresting and doesn’t make them pop from the 2d image into the 3d world. It lacks life! The “natural light photographer” might say, “No big deal! I’ll just fix it in Photoshop!”

    bad natural light photography

    So, they blend exposures to try to retrieve detail. Yes, the background has color but the family has terrible, muddy skin tone, mixed color temperatures and absolutely improper lighting on their faces. Dark eyes are bland, aren’t they? Don’t forget about the fake digital sun flare added to hide the mistakes of the photographer.

    family portrait photography las vegas outdoor

    Here’s where I come in. Doesn’t that just look so much more beautiful? All the faces are evenly lit and look like you can reach out and touch them. There’s light in the eyes, skin tones look fresh and natural instead of muddy and manipulated. The color is bright and vivid throughout and all of this was achieved using actual photographic knowledge. The computer is not ever going to replace my lighting whether it be natural light or otherwise. There’s just no replacing the quality of real photographic technique.


    If your family is getting together this month, please call me at (702)809-9763 to schedule your own family portraits session.


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