Desert Maternity Session Part 2: Natural Light, Bright & Airy

natural light maternity session

This maternity session was a study in two locations, on two different days, with two different kinds of light (natural light and off camera light) used at both sessions. To see the “dark and moody” photos, click here:

For this session, we went to Saguaro National Park east (Alessandra wearing her blue dress) and Saguaro National Park West (Alessandra wearing in her red dress) to show off both locations in a way that honors the ability to switch between lighting scenarios. Alessandra wanted to do two different locations because she loves the desert, and really wanted to highlight what it had to offer. I wanted to give her not just what she asked for, but more, by varying the light sources to give her all the feels!

The Saguaro East location was much more conducive to natural light because of the way the light falls there when you get closer to sunset, so you’ll see more light bright and airy images below that came from that location. In the above link to the dark and moody, you’ll see an off camera light used two ways, one to create a natural result, one to create dramatic imagery. People definitely have their favorites, but the best part is that I photograph using both at every session and wedding I photograph. As a result, there’s a mix that all tells the story, and puts you in the best light! Pun intended!

Using natural light is definitely a choice, and a style, but using natural light the right way also takes practice. Natural light can be very bright (overexposed) and done properly or overexposed incorrectly. You should be able to tell the difference, but it’s ok if you can’t! That’s not your job, it’s mine : ) The biggest difference for me about when and how to use natural light versus off camera light (I use Profoto lights) has everything to do with time of day. Sometimes using only natural light will work, but even if it does, I still bring my lights just in case I want to do something epic and creative with the sun. However there are times of day when you just can’t (or shouldn’t) use only natural light because of the way the sun falls on the subject. It’s my job, and pleasure, to know how and when to use light to create a fabulous result.

Which do you prefer? Natural or off camera light? Can you tell the difference?


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