Artificial Lighting | What I’ve learnt so far

I have been thinking about artificial lighting for quite a while now. I mean every blogger can relate to the frustrations of using natural light – relying on sunlight & good weather is no way to be a productive blogger. I use to day dream about the prospect of being able to take photos whenever I wanted to & realistically any blogger who also has a non-blogging related job has minimal time to sit around & wait on the sun. After only having 3 decent photo taking days in all of February I finally decided to switch to artificial lighting. I’ve been playing with artificial light for about 3 weeks ish now & I thought I’d share my thoughts with you guys.

I will say that I am 1000000% obsessed with artificial lighting now – both the good and the bad, it has been definitely worth it for me as I now have complete freedom. But I wanted to share the pros & cons with you guys who are not very clued in with the world of artificial lighting. There’s definitely not enough content out there in regards to beauty blogging & artificial lighting & especially taking FLAT LAYS – so keep an eye out for lots & lots of content on the topic of artificial lighting!

Let’s jump in!

The pros

  • The most important pro of all – you can take photos whenever you want! That’s right you have complete freedom & as a blogger (whether you are full time or balancing it with work – you don’t have time to wait around, waiting for the sun to make an appearance).
  • The lighting is constant. Unlike the sun which changes & shifts throughout the day, with artificial lighting the light intensity & position remains constant. So if a photo isn’t working out well you can change the arrangement of the products, its not the lights fault.
  • You can take your time with snapping photos. When I use to rely on sunlight it was a race to snap as many photos as possible because you never knew when the sun would shift / disappear and not return. So you can creative structure your flat lays/ experiment with style & composition without feeling rushed.
  • If a photo needs retaking – you don’t have to wait for the next day or the next sunny day you can retake the photo immediately!
  • “standing up product’ shots are so easy to take – they were the most difficult to take with natural light!
  • You don’t have to experience that guilt of having a sunny day but not feeling like taking photos – which would happen to me – when there were a few sunny days in a row. I can take the photos when I feel like it.
  • It’s also easier to balance post writing with photo taking. I am a morning person & I need to get nitty gritty stuff done during the day as my motivation & concentration levels drop in the afternoon. So I write posts during the day and this always use to coincide with taking photos. So I always had to choose one or the other – now I can do both in the same day!

The cons

  • A decent artificial lighting source isn’t cheap – though it’s worth the investment
  • You need the space to set it up & it’s not super-duper easy to more around the room. And you need to set up the ring light & its stand – I surprisingly managed to do this all on my own.
  • You need to position the even semi reflective products in a certain way to avoid the reflection of the ring light to occur.
  • It doesn’t guarantee every photo you take will look “well lit” I still need to retake photos at times but overall my I have a much larger ration of awesome photos / to unusable photos. This wasn’t the case with sunlight as it was unpredictable
  • I found that the artificial ring light all on its own wasn’t 100% making the photos looking right. What I mean by this is using it next to my blog photo table & then snapping pictures – didn’t magically make the pictures look great, they still looked iffy. I had to plaster foam boards on three sides of the table to (white balance) the photos. I figured this out from some Googling. So you might needed extra accessories to get the photos looking right. Foam boards did it for me though you might need things like reflectors etc.
  • You will also need patience when it comes to playing with artificial light & experimenting with it. I spent several days just experimenting with it. flat lays are a tricky thing to get right

In case you guys were curious I will link you the ring light I purchased – Click here if you are curious!

And that wraps up this post! I thoughts this post was a good way to jump into the world of artificial lighting as I definitely plan to do lots of content on the topic. Do you guys rely on natural lighting or do you use artificial lighting? Drop a comment and let’s chat about it. Also if you guys have any Questions regarding artificial lighting, be sure to write them in the comments and I’ll get to every single one. As always I hope you guys have an awesome day and I’ll catch up with you in the next post.

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  1. Caitlyn

    April 21, 2018 at 4:38 am

    I used to work with artificial light a lot at my previous job. I hated setting everything up. It’s definitely a learned skill I should probably work harder at. I usually use outdoor light but the Texas sun can be pretty harsh. Sometimes I look outside and realize it’s my prime shooting time so i usually rush around gathering everything up to get my pictures before the light changes.

    1. The Makeup Aficionado

      April 21, 2018 at 6:29 am

      My set up remains the same. I have my blogging table by the window which has been there for a while. My ring light is in the corner and plugged in ready to go – the space of my room allows me to always have my set up ready to go and all I do is switch it on and boom we are in business. Of course others might have to pack it away after a photo session – the freedom is worth it for me. x

  2. Shireen L. Platt

    April 21, 2018 at 3:02 pm

    I don’t have space to set up in my home hence I never invest in artificial light. I wish we do have the space though, it’s a pain to depend on natural light all the time.

    Shireen⎜Reflection of Sanity

    1. The Makeup Aficionado

      April 21, 2018 at 10:03 pm

      I’m so lucky to have the space in my room as its quite large & I’ll definitely in the future make sure I invest in that extra space to have it set up. I’m quite lucky that I can permanently set it up in my room & all I have to do is switch it on/off

  3. Danielle Alexa

    April 21, 2018 at 4:12 pm

    I really need to invest in some artificial lighting, it can be so hard having to rely on natural lighting!

    Danielle xx
    https://www.fashionbeautyblog.co.uk/

    1. The Makeup Aficionado

      April 21, 2018 at 10:01 pm

      There is so much freedom for me now I wish I had done this earlier! Yeah natural light means you are relying not only on daylight but good weather as well.

  4. Elegant Duchess

    April 21, 2018 at 4:45 pm

    Artificial lighting is definietely super helpful especially that I can only take photos at weekends and the weather has been so dull and gloom for the last few weeks. I still prefer natural light but as you mentioned sometimes we just don’t have a choice xx

    http://www.elegantduchess.com

    1. The Makeup Aficionado

      April 21, 2018 at 10:00 pm

      I’m quite happy with how my photos have been turning out I actually don’t miss natural light anymore haha, it feels so good taking photos whenever I feel like & of course when I start working I know I’ll be so limited with when I can take photos.

  5. Velvet Blush

    April 21, 2018 at 5:52 pm

    I normally rely on natural light, I do think artificial light seems like a good option but it’s just setting it up and finding room for it, I wouldn’t have a spot I could keep it (so much junk everywhere haha) xx

    Velvet Blush

    1. The Makeup Aficionado

      April 21, 2018 at 9:58 pm

      Natural light is all well and good but for me February in Australia only gave me 3 days of decent light so it left me absolutely tired of relying of it. I’m lucky my room is big enough to permanently set it up, all I have to do is switch it on & off.

  6. Christine

    April 21, 2018 at 10:39 pm

    I wish I could do artificial light but haven’t had the time to research this! I’ve been using natural light but it really is a pain to wait! It’s super brutal here in Canada too – we haven’t had sun for the past couple of weeks and now that the sun is out, I want to be out and not indoors taking photos! haha When I get some time, I will need to do what you do and play around with artificial light! Great post!

    https://covetedbeauty.blogspot.ca/

    1. The Makeup Aficionado

      April 22, 2018 at 12:25 pm

      Thank you. Yes as pretty as natural light is it is so limiting & a pain to rely on.

  7. Hannah

    April 22, 2018 at 3:34 pm

    I’ve thought about investing in lighting for a while now, and I’m definitely going to start saving for it! Being able to take photos whenever would be a dream! I can also imagine that all your photos come out the same too, as I often have the problems of photos look so different because of how the weather is outside! If that makes sense haha! Great post xx

    Hannah | luxuryblush

    1. The Makeup Aficionado

      April 23, 2018 at 12:42 am

      It’s one of the best blogging investments I’ve ever made! The sun can be so impractical – it’s hard enough securing a sunny day where you have the time to snap photos but the sunlight shifts throughout the days and then some photos end up turning out so bad. I get exactly what you mean – that was one main reason I couldn’t stand natural light.

  8. Gabrielle

    April 22, 2018 at 5:29 pm

    I agree artificial lighting doesn’t come cheap, but boy is it worth it! You make a great point of it being constant, as well as allowing aaaaall the time you need to shoot various photos 🙂

    aglassofice.com x

    1. The Makeup Aficionado

      April 23, 2018 at 12:43 am

      It is 100% worth it, I did use some of my birthday money but I find $150 AUD a completely reasonable price and I’d be happy to pay that again in a few years because the freedom I get is definitely worth it. I can finally take photos whenever I feel like and that is so liberating!

  9. Sam

    April 22, 2018 at 10:15 pm

    I remember when I invested in artificial lighting and man it was such a life saviour. There are for sure its cons, but overall I can’t believe I haven’t invested in it sooner. I made a lightbox from a recycled cardboard box and keep a few light reflective and light absorbing material around so it’s easier for me to get the shot right and do less in post. It took me awhile to fully get the hang of it and get the lighting how I want it (I’m still learning everyday!) but overall one of best blogging investments I’ve made. Happy to hear that you love it as well!

    Sam Hodgett || Beauty & Lifestyle Bits

    1. The Makeup Aficionado

      April 23, 2018 at 12:40 am

      Exactly! It’s not a perfect process but the pros DEFINITELY outweigh the cons! Even if one is a full time blogger (which I am not), it’s not practical relying on dalight & good sunny weather to take photos. I always felt flustered on a sunny day because there were so many photos I wanted to take and I didn’t know where to begin & then the sunlight being so random – you don’t know how the photos would turn out. I’m also able to take photos when I feel like – whereas sunny days would leave me feeling forced to do so or I’d regret it later.

  10. Kay

    April 23, 2018 at 12:23 pm

    I bought a pretty big ring light, but barely use it these days anyway – I personally much prefer natural lighting, although like you said it can get pretty frustrating! I think I’m just bad at using artificial lights, my photos don’t come out looking good at all when I use it. Natural lighting is always my fav, if you can get it right, which can be veeery challenging! Thanks for sharing, lovely. <3 xoxo

    Kay
    http://shoesandglitter.com

    1. The Makeup Aficionado

      April 23, 2018 at 10:29 pm

      I spent a lot of time experimenting & practicing with artificial lighting till I got my photos looking right. It’s definitely not straightforward – lots goes into setting it up but not relying on the weather is so freeing despite natural light being pretty its not easy to balance that with life/work.

  11. Sneha

    April 24, 2018 at 7:30 am

    Natural light is my favourite kind of light, but I got a pair of softbox lights a couple of months ago. I’ve not had as much of a play around with them as I’d like (because they take ages to set up), but I do like the results! A good mix of both is what I’m aiming for. 🙂

    Sneha | lifewithsneha.com

    1. The Makeup Aficionado

      April 24, 2018 at 11:24 pm

      I’ve gotten to the point where I am happy only using artificial light, I’m super lucky that my set up is permanent in my room & I just switch the light on & boom we are ready to go.

  12. Katya

    April 25, 2018 at 3:21 pm

    I think the artificial light is a good investment. Natural light is good but sometimes you can’t rely on it much.

    StyleSprinter Blog by Katya Bychkova

    1. The Makeup Aficionado

      April 25, 2018 at 10:30 pm

      Exactly! Sure natural light is pretty but as a blogger and our never-ending to-do list – its just not reliable.

  13. Nur Hidayah

    May 1, 2018 at 4:32 am

    I always rely on the sun to take my pictures, but it looks super orangey even though I already have edited my pics. I need to buy the ring light to get a better pics, I guess.

    1. The Makeup Aficionado

      May 1, 2018 at 11:42 pm

      Natural light is all well & good but I found that it was hard to be productive and organized as I had to plan everything around good, sunny weather.

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