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  • Writer's pictureVal Tannuzzi

Natural Light vs Studio Light: what's the Best Choice for Acting Headshots?

Updated: Mar 9

Val Tannuzzi Natural light or studio light

There are numerous techniques to headshot photography, and one of the primary differences between headshot photographers, aside from price, is whether they prefer to shoot with artificial lighting or with natural lighting. I like and feel comfortable with either, but my best choice is a combination of both techniques, which I call hybrid method, and is my first choice for acting headshots.

When a client initially contacts me, I offer them the best time for natural light headshots. I also mention that if time of the day is a problem, then artificial lighting sessions are available as well. At Val Tannuzzi Photography both types of sessions are done in a studio.

My go-to method might be something not every headshot photographer utilizes: natural light at front and artificial light only on the back of the person. Since I've been shooting at the same space for 6 years now, I know the ideal time of the day to do so, which changes depending on the season. I don't have many pet peeves as a photographer, but time of day for hybrid lighting is one of them. Of course, these session are weather-dependent as well.

In-studio with artificial lights can be done at any time since I don't depend of natural lighting to do so, and this gives people with limited schedules more flexibility to book a convenient time. These sessions are also ideal for stormy days when rescheduling is not an option.

Whether you book a natural lighting or artificial lighting acting headshot session with me, you will get professional quality and editing and most of the time, people will not be able to tell the difference.

These are a few examples of my hybrid method photography (using natural lighting):

These are a few examples of my artificial lighting headshots:

Some people have the idea that natural light is best for commercial headshots, and artificial light is best for theatrical. As you can see above, when you work with me we can create both types with either lighting method.

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