Flash often gets a bad rap among lifestyle photographers. When I first started my photography journey, I often noticed that many photographers would specifically refer to themselves as “natural light” photographers. Cameras these days are amazing, and many can photograph well in fairly low-lit conditions. While using flash is not absolutely necessary for every professional photographer, it is definitely a skill worth knowing. After all – depending on what you photograph – you never know what kind of lighting scenario you may encounter. Let’s take a look at 3 common myths related to flash photography.
Myth #1 – Learning Flash is Complicated
What did you think when you first purchased your camera? Were you overwhelmed? Probably. You probably also took the time to study all about it and to practice the new skills you were learning. The same holds true for flash. Learning something new can always feel overwhelming and frustrating. The more time you invest in anything, and practice it, the easier it will become. Learning to use flash is no more difficult than learning about the exposure triangle and using your camera in manual mode. And of course nothing beats hands-on practice. The more time you spend actually practicing using flash, the faster it’ll click.
Myth #2 – Flash Looks Unnatural
Flash can look unnatural, but here’s the great news – it doesn’t have to. It can easily be used to mimic natural light, if that’s what you are trying to achieve. It all depends on your camera and flash settings, and the placement of your flash. This is also why it’s a good idea to have the equipment necessary to enable you to use the flash OFF of your camera. You will have much greater flexibility and making your flash mimic natural light will be much easier.
Myth #3 – Flash Equipment is Expensive
Flash equipment can be as big of an investment as you choose, but you certainly don’t need to spend a fortune to get started. I recommend starting with the very basics. You just need the foundational pieces – a light, modifier, light stand, and trigger. You can continue to add more equipment as you progress. I have always used a simple one-light setup for both my studio and lifestyle newborn work. I have added a few different kinds lights to my inventory over the years, but I can’t say that it was necessary. Sometimes it’s just fun to buy a new toy!