natural vs artificial lighting 101

difference between natural light and artificial light

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lighting is the foundation of photography. in this blog, we will break down the difference between natural light and artificial light.

if you haven't already checked out our blog on ‘soft vs harsh shadows’, we go into the nitty-gritty regarding the importance of knowing what kind of vibe you are looking for for your ecom store! 

natural light-

natural light is alluring because of the natural spectrum of colours cast on objects during different times of the day. it is also readily available for anyone to use as long as the sun is shining! 


  • as long as it is daytime, anyone is able to utilize natural light to photograph a subject
  • the hue of sunlight can be used to dramatize a mood or convey a narrative- ie. sunsets are typically warm-toned and exhibit a dreamy look, whereas sunrises are more cool-toned and exhibit a more cold vibe. 


  • unpredictable weather conditions affect the success of a shoot! if you have planned for a summery, bright and lively shoot, a single storm cloud can dampen your day and cause you to have to reschedule your shoot. 
  • sunlight is more challenging to manipulate
  • the sun is a giant clock- the best times to shoot are very limited, therefore you may have to rush through a shoot to have ideal lighting situations
  • typically, photographers still have to use some sort of ‘fill’ to help control shadows. this can be in the form of a reflector/bounce or an artificial light source 

artificial light-

for photographers, artificial lights open up endless possibilities for shooting! this man-made light comes in two different forms– strobe (flashes) or continuous lights (similar to large lamps). there are very few limitations when it comes to artificial light, though it does take a bit more practice and patience to really nail an aesthetic. 


  • easier to manipulate and control- with artificial lights, you are able to control how bright the light is and where the light is coming from. there are also ways to diffuse light or create some crispy, harsh shadows. if you want to exhibit a specific mood, there are coloured gels that can be added to the light source to change the colour of the light. 
  • very reliable, and allows for shooting at all times of the day and in any location!
  • higher shutter speeds- because artificial lights are so powerful and bright, you are able to use higher shutter speeds resulting in clear action shots like splashes, drips, and pours. 


  • cumbersome and expensive
  • using artificial lights takes practice and patience to be able to really master
  • unless you have battery-powered lights, you may struggle to find a power source on location

at pronto, we use solely artificial lighting to capture our clients’ amazing products. this helps us to stay consistent and allows us to produce consistent scroll-stopping content in a snap ;) 

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