The biggest advantage of natural light is the price. It is readily available and doesn’t cost much to harness or enhance. Also, creating an effective lighting setup can be achieved by simply observing and making adjustments. If nothing changes and everything can be accomplished in one shoot, one can probably get away with this method.
Unfortunately, life isn’t that simple. As professional photographers and filmmakers we can’t rely on clouds, having enough windows, or even the weather forecast. We often need to shoot over extended periods of time, and tear down and reproduce scenes shot days or weeks before.
We wouldn’t get much done if we had to wait for the perfect sunset every time we needed an exterior dialog scene for a romantic piece. Or, if for continuity’s sake, we had to shoot in chronological order, chasing the sunlight, and at the same exact location.
In order to make an average shot more sophisticated and deliver a higher production value to our clients, we need to understand the importance of key lighting concepts and techniques, and rely on essential tools like Sekonic’s light meters and color meters. Without them, everything is a simple guess.
I just released an online course on Lynda.com titled “Lighting Design for Video Productions” where I cover all these concepts and more. If you haven’t already, please follow me on Twitter (@EA_Photo), and join me on Facebook at Eduardo Angel Visuals.