Donald Leon Farrow Discusses Indoor vs. Outdoor Photography

Donald Leon Farrow works hard. But when he’s not directing the engineering process at American Italian Pasta Company, Donald Leon Farrow enjoys studying and practicing photography. Recently Donald Leon Farrow answered some questions about indoor photography vs. outdoor photography and the lessons he’s learned about adjusting for the differences in lighting.

Q: What is it that you enjoy about photography?

Donald Leon Farrow: Photography is more of a creative outlet, which offers a pleasant change from the work of engineering. But there is a technical side to photography.

Q: How so?

Donald Leon Farrow: Understanding light, composition and how a camera works in general can make the difference between good photography and great photography.

Q: Is it better to take photos using outside lighting or inside lighting?

Donald Leon Farrow: Both have their benefits. In general, it depends on the subject.

Q: What’s the difference, lighting-wise?

Donald Leon Farrow: Outside provides natural light that is hard to duplicate in a studio. The result is an effect that is more authentic than indoor light.

Q: What do you mean by “more authentic?”

Donald Leon Farrow: Outdoor light tends to be more intense, with golden hues. Indoor light tends to have more blues and greens.

Q: The problem with outdoor light is that it can’t be aimed…

Donald Leon Farrow: Yes, obviously the photographer can’t do anything to change the direction of the sun, which is why you often see professional photography crews waiting around half the day for the sun to be in the perfect spot.

Q: If sunlight is available indoors, is it better to use that than the flash?

Donald Leon Farrow: Natural light will almost always look better, and today’s high quality digital cameras can produce high-quality indoor photographs with minimal light.  Even here – natural light through windows can produce a more vibrant photo.  In certain indoor circumstances a flash may be necessary.

Q: What time of day is best for optimum lighting?

Donald Leon Farrow: For outdoors lighting, the times just following sunrise and immediately prior to sunset are best. There’s a warm glow that’s preferable to direct sunlight.

Q: What if there’s no direct sunlight?

Donald Leon Farrow: Professional photographers can learn to light a studio in a way that takes great pictures. For those who don’t have access to that kind of lighting, adjusting the ISO on the camera can help make your photos pop.  At the same time, cloudy days produce a naturally  diffused light – which is excellent for portrait photography as the diffused light leaves no harsh shadows.

Donald Leon Farrow is a graduate of Western Michigan University, where he graduated with a degree in automotive engineering. Over his twenty-plus-year career, Donald Leon Farrow has overseen projects for a variety of companies, including Avon Products, Philip Morris, and Nestlé USA.

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