Artificial light is anything un-natural. Sunlight and moonlight are natural light, and anything else is artificial.

lighting-flokati-1-b&a-low light&optimal settings

To demonstrate, this first image (left) was taken at 8pm in the studio with my usual settings for natural light at noon:  f4.0 1/320 and ISO400.

You will notice that the original straight-out-of-camera (SOOC) image is quite dark and lacks any colour vibrancy. The edit has been adjusted to compensate for exposure and white balance. Notice that some of the detail is lost in the darks/shadows, and that the darks themselves become almost “matte” because they were brightened along with the highlights.

Of course, if I were to continue (start) doing client “photoshoots” at 8pm, I would 100% have to invest in artificial lighting equipment. However that equipment doesn’t have to be huge, expensive, or fancy equipment and can be the most simple form of artificial light.

When I say artificial light, the first thing most think of is the building lights or their on-camera flash. Flash can be a super scary thing for new or hobbyist photographers because of how unflattering most consumer cameras make it look.


Take the next image (right) as an example. At first I kept my original settings and turned on the flash, but being in manual mode, we end up with a white image if the flash settings are not adjusted (I excluded that image for obvious reasons).Instead, I put the settings on AUTO and used the standard through-the-lens (TTL) settings for on-camera flash. 

Honestly, it was so difficult not to immediate delete it. It is unflattering, there are harsh shadows, and though the “subject” might be well lit, the rest is not. 

lighting-flokati-2-b&a-flash through diffuser

Another (better) option is to use off-camera-flash (OCF) to adequately light your portraits. This allows you use your preferred settings and still have that even, flattering, natural-looking light.

The image on the left was in my original settings (see above) and the flash was directed through my diffuser. Since my sessions always take place between 9am and 3pm where there is plenty of light, I have not had the need to invest in a softbox & strobe combo. Instead I used the diffuser included with my 5-in-1 reflector set and positioned the flash to shoot through it directly onto my “subject”. (See Diagram below). You can see that the photograph is well lit while still leaving some dimentional shadowing, still looks natural, and no harsh underexposed shadows or blown out highlights.


Another option is to adjust your settings according to the lighting conditions. This is usually my go-to option during my day-time sessions. I do a little tweaking and I get my desired image. You just need to watch for noise and depth-of-field (DOF).

For demonstration purposes, I did the same: changed my settings to reflect the available light. In this case I had the room lights on, which were just a bunch of spiral bulbs in a ceiling fan.

I ended up boosting my settings to f2.8 1/100 and ISO1000. I am lucky enough (actually researched and tested before buying) to have a professional grade camera that allows me to bump my ISO that high without getting too much noise (grain), the steady tripod and lack of flailing baby allowed me to lower my shutter speed to brighten up the scene, and widening my aperture allowed some extra light to seep in as well.

The product: Of course, a custom white-balance would be ideal to prevent the extreme warmth in this image, but it’s completely fixable in post-processing. The image below is SOOC.
(ps: what do you guys think of the new logo?)

lighting-flokati-1-low light&adjusted settings

Props & Equipment:
5-in-1 Reflector:
Wrap: Ardene’s