I bet that you have heard stuff about light when it comes to photography, even if you are an extremely newcomer to this beautiful world. Understanding light takes time and passion, and with the proper guidance you might find yourself enjoying it pretty fast. At this point there is a fundamental thing that you have to know, there are two main sources of light in this world, natural and artificial. They both can coexist in a splendid way, but being able to control light via flashes (aka speedlights) is where the mastery of photography flourishes in the most spectacular way. Without further ado, let’s talk about the main advantages of being able to control light via Speedlights in contrast to simply relying on naturally available light.
Let's face it, natural light is only pleasing at specific moments of the day, and even that beautiful light can resist to behave in the ways you want or need. Artificial light like the one you can with a Speedlight is extremely accurate, and can be reproduced over and over again until you achieve that specific image that you've been dreaming of. Don't forget about power though, otherwise you'll end up just as limited as simply relying on natural light.
I can't think of a serious photographer nowadays producing art that won't rely on previous planning and conceptualization. Artificial light copes perfectly with this mind-set since you can build pretty accurate light schemes that will help you out in achieving exactly what you are looking for. Improvisation is nice, but you can't leave it all to serendipity. Controlled lighting conditions is the perfect (and perhaps only one) way to go if you want to achieve a specific result product of your own genius and creativity.
Light produced by Speedlights can be molded in various amounts of ways, from snoots to softboxes, to beauty dishes and simple yet lovely bouncing. Artificial light responds to the hand of the master, and it can be used almost like crafting clay in a photo shoot. Therefore, there is no better reason for trusting Speedlights if you are aware about building a style of your own. This is what makes a photographer's work so unique from the rest of the world, lighting craftwork. You simply can't see yourself as the author of a photograph if you're not the one behind the light filling up the scene.
Every photographer matures over time, and eventually starts to build upon a style. Simply by watching previous work, a photographer can recall lighting decisions, and a beautiful hermeneutical process begins after reading our own stuff. Every photograph triggers out memory, and you can simply become better in your own style by learning from your own lighting mistakes.
If none of the aforementioned reasons convince you to start working with Speedlights, at least try it out for the fun of it. I'm really sure that you will find a rare and pleasing experience after watching how different real life can present to you by crafting light inside specific scenes. People wrongly think that they have to invest huge amounts of money on sophisticated lighting solutions. Nowadays things have changed for good, and there are simply too many great options from which you can pick up when building your set-up. You don't need to invest huge amounts of money in artificial lights, at least at the beginning. Once you start noticing which things work better for your visual style, then you can start investing in higher quality stuff.
Please don't get me wrong, I do love the natural quality of available light, but it is really hard to achieve consistent and highly expected results with it, especially when working around an artistic concept. Understanding how natural light behaves is crucial for understanding how to deal with artificial light in a proper way, and I truly believe that they both can coexist, but is with artificial lighting that they photographer can really become the true author of the scene.
by Federico Alegría