Lighting Systems for Brand Photography: When to Use Natural Vs. Artificial Light

“As a brand photographer, do you use natural light or artificial light?” Lately, I’m getting asked this question a lot. Whether it’s another photographer asking questions in my DMs or someone I’m working with on a one-on-one mentor call, everyone wants to know how I get just the right lighting during a session. So, let’s talk about when to use artificial light in your shoots and my two favorite lighting systems for brand photography!

Ideally, I like to shoot in spaces with lots of natural light. But that’s not always possible in brand photography. Sometimes, a client will choose a session location with little or no natural light or harsh, unflattering shadows. So, I always bring two different lighting systems to every brand shoot. That way, I am prepared even if the light isn’t perfect or falling like I want it to.


1. Off-Camera Flash 

I use an off-camera flash when working in a space with good natural light, but I still need to bounce a little extra light for balance. For example, if some harsh shadows are falling on one side of my subject’s face, I bounce the light from the flash in the same direction as the natural light. An off-camera flash is perfect for this job since I only need a little extra light to chase that shadow away. Alternately, I bounce the light straight up to the ceiling to get a nice, soft fall of light on my subject.

My favorite off-camera flash by GODOX.

2. Constant Lights

I will break out my constant lights whenever a session location has limited or no natural light to work with. Or I’ll also use them if the background walls are too bright, dark, or distracting. The system I use has two softboxes with adjustable lighting temperature and lighting power. So, I can warm or cool the light as needed and dial in just the right amount of extra light. I like to place them on either side of my subject or use one light on my subject and the other as a fill to help eliminate any harsh shadows.

My go-to constant lighting kit by UBeesize.

And that’s all there is to it! Choosing the right lighting systems for brand photography sessions doesn’t have to be complicated. The products you use just have to work for you and help you capture images your clients will love. You can find more tips and resources to level up your brand photography business here. Or sign up for a one-on-one mentoring call here. I can’t wait to help you grow and streamline your business!


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