Warren Rowe Photography | No Such Thing as a "Natural" Photograph

No Such Thing as a "Natural" Photograph

August 03, 2018  •  Leave a Comment


I've heard this many times, and it can be quite frustrating. For example, I take a photograph of a particular scene, I show the client how it looked while explaining that I would have to edit it then place it in the client's gallery. The client says, "You don't need to edit it at all, for you got the scene naturally in the camera." 

No I did not capture it "naturally." I captured the image according to the settings I set up in the camera, whether it was in Auto, Manual, Aperture Priority, whatever, and if I used a filter or not. A photographer has to set up his camera accordingly to shot it the best way possible. It just doesn't happen all by itself, even if you do nothing but shoot in Auto, because the Auto setting doesn't automatically capture what it sees properly. Most often, you have to change the settings to make the shot more like it should; even so, you might have to add external lighting, remote lighting, use a reflector, etc. The camera doesn't "create" a "natural" look by itself.

I had one guy tell me that he loved the "natural" look of a test photo I took over a year ago. It wasn't natural at all; the settings on the camera were wrong in several ways: ISO was too high, the aperture was more open than it should, and even the shutter speed was too long. On top of that, I left my UV filter in place and the sun's rays hit the lens at such an angle where a large lens flare showed up in the photo because of the rays hitting the lens and the sensor at that angle, covering the subject and making the result unusable. The guy swore up and down that the photo looked "natural," and didn't need editing at all. In the end, I chalked it all up to the thought that he had no clue what a good photograph should look like and left it at that.

The thing is, everyone, that you really can't perfectly recreate a "natural" look in-camera. You just can't leave your camera's settings alone or like in Auto and expect everything to turn out just peachy perfect. It just doesn't happen that way. You have to set up your camera's settings to get the closest to what you are actually seeing at that moment. It just doesn't "naturally" occur in-camera, and it won't. For those who think that it does, a good explanation is in order for them...and hopefully they get it. If not, there's not much you can do about it.

If a person thinks that a photographer can get the "natural" shot in-camera the very first time while in Auto and changing nothing whatsoever, that person has a much better chance of getting struck by lightning 50 times before the "natural" shot happens, if at all. Almost always, settings in-camera has to be changed and proper editing must occur in order for the finished product to look like it should.

I hope that this helps you to realize that there is really no such thing as capturing a "natural" photograph in-camera, and that some editing is always needed. Thanks for visiting this blog, and come back often since I am back to working toward regular entries again.

Till next time...Warren


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