Photographers often segment themselves into flash versus natural light when it comes to portraits, but the truth is, there is merit to both ways of shooting.
Coming at you from photographer and YouTuber Manny Ortiz is a look at how similar portraits look in the same spot, at the same time using natural (and on this particular day, beautifully harsh) light versus a flash. His tools of choice for the shoot are a Sony a7R V, a Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Lens, a Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG DN Art Lens, and a single Westcott FJ400 strobe with a beauty dish.
There's some stunning backlight that makes for some interesting touches of light with Ortiz's photo subject, but while not using the flash lets him get a lot of freedom of movement and composition, it's hard to balance out the light on the model with the background and sky. The flash makes it much easier to control both. Ortiz mentioned that he used to just bring up the shadows in the model in post and not worry about the light, but that's also a recipe for disaster, he notes. It's also probably a lot less work to get it right in the camera versus spending hours in post-processing.
While the strobe makes the photo pop with a 3D look and balances out the light on the model and background, the downside of this is that many places won't let you shoot with a light, or a large beauty dish might attract a lot of unwanted attention. There's also the simple fact that you'd have to carry the light around with you and you're more limited in where you can place the model and yourself to make the most use of the strobe.
There's also the wind factor. It looks like, at least in this case, investing in something like a sandbag might be a good bet as well. Although, that's another thing that you'd have to carry around.
Which looks better to you, the natural light portraits or the flash portraits? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.