Portrait Photography Tips: The Pros and Cons of Using Window Light vs Flash (VIDEO)

If you’re interested in portrait photography, you’ve likely had to decide whether to shoot your subject with natural window light or artificial light from a flash or strobe. Most photographers will admit that neither is “better” than the other; they’re just different and suited for different subjects, different situations, and different tastes.

To explain the pros and cons of shooting with window light vs flash for portraits, photographer Manny Ortiz enlisted the help of his photogenic model wife Diana to test both lighting approaches at his home studio. In the revealing video below, he shows the benefits and drawbacks of each while displaying his end results images of Diana.

“Obviously one of the benefits of flash is you’re able to control the light,” Ortiz says. “I would use window light for a lifestyle kind of shot or just a really flattering portrait of somebody, because the light is soft, and if you use it straight on, you get really nice catchlights. But you can’t take windows everywhere, and that’s when flash comes in. And flash is more specular, it really defines somebody’s face, so it’s great for beauty shots and for fashion.”

Watch the comparison video and tell which you think were the better final photos: those shot with natural or artificial light? And then go visit Ortiz’s YouTube channel for more helpful photography videos.