Do Artificial Lights Give Photographers More Flexibility? (2023 Updated)

Hey, this is Mehmood again from Camlense. Today I will be talking about light, not that light, artificial lights for photography. Most people are asking about the importance of artificial lighting in a studio.

Let me tell you, as a photographer, one of the most important things to keep in mind is indeed lighting. Professionals use artificial lighting in photography since the early days of the medium. Therefore, I decided to compile a complete review of lighting for the studio.

What are artificial lights?

Artificial lights are man-made sources of light that can be used in photography. To create eye-catching photos, photographers need artificial lights. With strobe, continuous, and LED lights as the types, it’s important to choose the right one for the job. Each type has its perks and downside, so pick wisely to snap that perfect shot.

How do artificial lights help photographers?

Artificial lights give photographers more power to take charge of their shots by adjusting the light’s intensity, color, and direction according to their own will. These controls are especially useful in low-light or indoor photography, where natural light can fall short of the desired effect. Achieving the perfect ambiance for the subject has never been easier.

How do photographers use artificial lights in their work?

Artificial lights are a jack-of-all-trades for photographers and can be used is various ways. They come in handy for adding fill light to portraits, creating dramatic effects in still photography, and lighting up video productions. Whatever the need, these lights have got photographers covered.

Pros of Artificial Lighting in Photography

  1. Flexibility in Controlling Light
  2. Adjustable Power
  3. Easily Positionable
  4. Color Temperature Control
  5. Better Image Quality
  6. Increased Sharpness
  7. Improved Color Accuracy
  8. Consistent Results
  9. Reducing Variability
  10. Improved Consistency in Photography
  11. Low Light Photography
  12. Ability to Photograph in Low Light Situations
  13. Ability to Photograph in Low Light Situations

Cons of Artificial Lighting in Photography

  1. Cost
  2. Complexity
  3. Portability
  4. Heat

Types of Artificial Lights

There are several types of artificial lights available to photographers, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.


Flash is one of the most powerful artificial lighting sources that give off a bright burst when triggered. Flash can be used ON/OFF cameras and is a good choice for photographers thanks to their versatility and portability. When you are shooting in low light or in the studio, flash becomes a must-have tool in your camera gear.

Continuous Lighting

Continuous lighting is a type of artificial light that stays on constantly, providing a constant source of light for your scene. These lights are often used in video production, but can also be useful for still photography.

Studio Lighting

Studio lighting is a type of artificial light that is specifically designed for use in a studio. The studio lights are mostly big and powerful lights in order to provide the photographer with control over his/her indoor lighting.

Hard Light vs Soft Light

Hard light is the harshest light. With the hard light, you see a very harsh transition from highlights to shadows. The shadows are much deeper, and the highlights are super bright and gleam. It’s those specular highlights that will make the face look kind of oily and gross and everybody gets them, especially when you use hard light.

Soft light has a smooth transition from highlights to shadows and the deepness of shadows isn’t that deep. They are almost as bright as the highlights. Soft light has a very smooth gradual transition and nice mid-tones and the difference between shadows and highlights isn’t usually as much.

Artificial Lighting for Portraits

For portraits, it is obvious that soft light is best which is created by an artificial setup. It looks great but if you’re trying to show the texture or something, the hard is often better. In fact, for things like birds and wildlife, I really like hard light.

By understanding the difference between soft light and hard light, shadows, and highlights, you can master artificial lighting and make the best photos of your career.

Artificial Lights Create Soft Light

The soft light created with an artificial lighting setup is good for many types of photos. Soft light is mostly used in portraits where a soft contrast and shadows make portraits appear real. Soft light can be made naturally in the daytime when the weather is cloudy. The same can be achieved in the studio using Softbox or diffusers.

Artificial Lighting Setup

Following are a few devices used to create an artificial setup. In case you want to purchase these products, you can click on the embedded links.


The softbox is a kind of strobe that lights up the face of the model in a soft way. This is also called an Octobox and has a huge surface that creates nice, soft, and even lights because you have light coming from the inside where the bulb itself is.

The light hits the corners inside and bounces in the opposite direction creating an even light. If you are standing in front of it, it’s really bathing you in light from all different directions and the light isn’t traveling in a straight line, it’s traveling in every direction.

When you focus this light on your subject, you will see soft light which is actually really nice. The Softbox leaves a very gentle shadow along the far side of the face if the light is coming from the other direction.

Light Diffuser

In the picture above, you can understand the work of the diffuser. The left picture is without a diffuser and the right one is with a diffuser. You can see how the shadows on the nose change and that’s the difference between hard light and soft light.

Light Reflector

As the name describes, the reflector reflects light. You can place the reflector on the opposite side of the light source. The reflector will reflect the light back eliminating shadows. In the picture, you can see with the reflector has equal highlights on both sides. The same lighting setup is used above creating shadows on the other side.

The reflector bounces all the light back and fills the shadows. It’s like a hard light and you can see the line of shadows which is hard but there is more light in the shadows. Simply, it’s a hard light source with a fill

Using Diffuser and Reflector Together

You can see the picture below where the diffuser and reflector are used at the same time. You can see the very even when using the diffuser. With the diffuser, the light gets softer, and with the reflector, the light balances the shadows on the other side of the light source.

How To Create Natural Light Effects With Artificial Light

How to Master Artificial Lighting

To master lighting, you need to practice all the time. Whether you are out indoors, I want you to be studying the light. If you’re outdoor on a completely sunny day, you will have one main light, the Sun but the shadows on the face will not be pitched black. It is because the things around us work like natural reflectors.

In simple words, there is no way I can make you a master of light. You must have listned to the saying “Practice Makes a Man Perfect”. You have to be aware of of the method of uses and then keep practicing.

When you are indoors, I want you to look at the lighting in the room and see how many different light sources are there. Also, how they are affecting the shadows on people’s faces or objects around you. Notice those shadows and which lighting sources are filling those shadows.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

How do photographers choose the right type of artificial light for their needs?

Photographers choose the right type of artificial light by considering their shooting environment, the subject they are shooting, and their desired outcome. They also consider the cost and portability of the light they choose.

What are the most common uses of artificial lights in photography?

Artificial lights are a photographer’s go-to tool for adding fill light to portraits, creating captivating still-life shots, and lighting up scenes in video production. No matter the project, these lights bring the needed illumination to make the subject shine.

Can LED lights be used for both still photography and video production?

Yes, LED lights are versatile and can be used for both still photography and video production.

How do photographers control the direction and intensity of artificial lights?

In photography, artificial light can be precisely directed and adjusted by using light modifiers like reflectors, softboxes, and diffusers. Photographers can also play with different types of bulbs and gels to change the color temperature of the light. With these tools, they can easily create the perfect mood and atmosphere for their shots.

How do artificial lights compare to natural light in photography?

Artificial lights provide more control and flexibility over lighting than natural light. However, natural light has a unique quality that cannot be replicated by artificial light. It is up to the photographer to decide which type of lighting is best for their particular shot.


  1. A portrait photographer may use a strobe light with a softbox to provide even and diffused lighting for their subject.
  2. A still-life photographer may use multiple LED lights to create a dramatic effect by highlighting specific elements of their composition.
  3. A videographer may use continuous lights to light a scene, providing enough light for the camera to capture clear footage.


So, that was all about artificial lighting. I hope now you know all about lighting a studio and creating artificial light. The products we shared above are what most photographers use in their studios. So, I will do recommend considering them. That’s all for today. Thank You.

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