Tuesday, May 10, 2016


Doing portraits outside? Then why not use the “Best Light Money Can’t Buy”! Use controlled natural light instead of blasting people with flash. Here are some of the reasons that PPA (Professional Photographers of America) Certified, Master, Craftsman, Jerry W. Venz uses ONLY natural light for portraits outside:
  1. Natural light is simply the best light for portraits—Period! It’s also the best light for nature/landscapes. So, when you place people in nature natural light marries people with the environment. 
  2. Additive lighting, with flash, outdoors very obviously divorces your subject from their background—it pulls them out or appears to bring them forward to the camera. A point light source (flash) just does not blend well with natural light.
  3. Get the image! When photographing difficult subjects, like groups, children and pets, you can’t wait for a battery powered flash to recycle—they’re just too darn slow! Often, the best expression is the one that happens 1/2 second after you click the shutter and NO battery powered flash can recycle that fast.                   
  4. On the practical side save yourself the cost of buying several speed lights (which aren’t good for anything except weddings) radio flash triggers, stands, sandbags, portable soft boxes and reflectors.
  5. Put all this money (that’s thousands of dollars!) Saved and buy real professional flash gear and put it where it belongs—in your studio!
  6. Travel lighter and without needing to use your precious waning light, setting-up those speed lights, you can actually do more photography.
  7. I don’t even use reflectors outside—they don’t work on groups anyway—and if you think you need a reflector it means you’ve placed your subject in the wrong spot.
  8. Think about your subjects as they wait for you to set-up your speed lights on stands and do your test flashes and place your reflectors. How is all this helping your subjects to relax and enjoy their portrait experience?
  9. Since I know all this equipment isn’t necessary what’s the point? Is this about showing off? Are you wowing your clients with your hardware and your technology? How about wowing them with great images!                 
  10. How do I “control natural light” you ask? Instead of using additive lighting I use the Subtractive Lighting Technique. It’s beautifully simple in practice and the results speak for themselves.
In Part 2 I’ll show and talk about how I use artificial and natural Gobos, negative fill, using subtractive lighting to create three dimensional lighting outside.

So, ’til next week…Oh…if you have any questions or comments please don’t hesitate…

Author:  Jerry W. Venz, PPA Master Photographer, Craftsman, Certified
Training site: http://www.LightAtTheEdge.com

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