June 26, 2022

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Natural light versus artificial lighting: David Yarrow explains

Natural light versus artificial lighting: David Yarrow explains

Lighting is central to photography, whether natural or artificial. So, which is the best? And does photographing outdoors provide better results than studio lighting or vice versa? It’s an area of particular expertise for world-renowned London-based photographer David Yarrow.

Yarrow boasts decades of experience photographing in some of the world’s most extreme and remote locations. He’s, therefore, immensely well-versed in capturing images under any number of often challenging conditions. That’s in addition to the photographic artist and author’s similarly vast experience working under studio or otherwise artificial lighting.

Natural light

Photographer David Yarrow’s main passion is for the natural world. The photographic artist most often captures his images under natural light. According to the artist, this immediately has one main advantage.

That’s because it’s readily available, courtesy of the sun and the moon. Natural light allows photographers such as David Yarrow the freedom to work mainly without constraints. Among the most significant such constraints is artificial lighting equipment’s often expensive, heavy, and delicate nature.

At the same time, natural light is generally impossible to manipulate, Yarrow reports. As a result, photographers are at the mercy of nature when using light from the sun and moon. Adverse weather and other environmental factors also require additional consideration.

However, when conditions are perfect, David Yarrow and other skilled photographers can achieve incredible results. Flawlessly reflected in Yarrow’s massive body of work, the same beautiful and often breathtaking results would be almost impossible to match under strictly studio conditions, according to the expert.

Artificial lighting

Natural light often plays a crucial part in David Yarrow’s work. Still, there’s always a time and a place for artificial lighting, even for the David Yarrow Photography team. The same is true whether in the studio or on-location, where relying on natural light isn’t an option.

The main advantage of using artificial light, David Yarrow photographer, points out, is that it’s easily controlled. It’s also not reliant on weather conditions and other factors outside of the control of himself and the David Yarrow Photography team.

Be that as it may, the David Yarrow Photography founder is quick to reiterate how costly, cumbersome, and ultimately delicate specialist photography lighting equipment can be. The same is true whether working in a studio or on location.


It’ll come as little surprise that David Yarrow, photographer, conservationist, and artist, prefers natural light for his own work. Still, Yarrow is under no illusion about the need for artificial lighting. For example, in commercial settings, he points out that natural light often isn’t an option.

Instead, the ability to capture images under natural lighting is a luxury in many cases. Ultimately, with that in mind, Yarrow says there will always be a place for both.

Accordingly, he recommends making a choice based on circumstances. It’s for the same reason that the expert believes in the importance of having a handle on both natural light and artificial lighting techniques. In some instances, it may also be possible to simultaneously combine the two to achieve a result that would otherwise be impossible.For more from David Yarrow photographer and the David Yarrow Photography team, follow @davidyarrow on Instagram. Alternatively, like David Yarrow Photography on Facebook or catch David Yarrow Photography – In Focus on YouTube.