Daylight Studios & The Importance of Natural Light

Blog > Daylight Studios & The Importance of Natural Light

Daylight studios are photography, videography, and production studios with a strong source of natural light capable of lighting entire sets or spaces. Canoe Studios has a long list of distinguishing factors, but arguably the most popular, sought-after, and important factor of all is the constant source of brilliant natural light that bathes all seven of our premium studios.

Daylight studios are a rare resource for serious photographers, directors, and creative professionals looking to create the highest quality media, especially in New York City. 

Luckily Canoe Studios has managed and produced countless editorial photos shoots, fashion photo shoots, portrait photo shoots, event shoots and more, meaning we’re not just a reliable source for natural daylight studios, we also have a well-defined playbook for maximizing natural light and understanding its importance.

Daylight Studios Are More Cost-Effective


The question we hear from prospective customers more than anything else is, “Do you have any daylight studios?” The short answer: yes. Seven of them, in fact. That’s 40,000 square feet of naturally lit production space ready to host the shoot or event of your dreams.

But why is this such a popular and important element for photographers and creative professionals everywhere? Light is obviously one of the key determining factors for the character and mood of any photo or video. But beyond that, using natural light can also be quite cost effective. Artificial lighting rentals, as well as grip and electric equipment, can quickly rack up a sizable bill.

Natural light? Absolutely free, minus the cost of the space you’re using to capture it. The natural light within daylight studios also offers a texture and authenticity that’s challenging and time-consuming to recreate artificially. With any photography studio rental, time is money, and more setup time ultimately means less shooting time.

Keds And Taylor Swift 1989 Style Event (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Keds)

Daylight Studios Offer a Spectrum of Color


Daylight studios also offer an amazing amount of variety, depending on the time of day you’re shooting. The “golden hour” light around sunrise and sunset will look completely different from light captured during the day. The dusty blue color of early dawn or late dusk light has a completely different temperature and mood. Likewise, a cloudy day will look much bluer and softer than a sunny day.

There’s an entire spectrum of color and character that a daylight studio allows, and targeting the right time of day to match the mood of your shoot can save a lot of time, money, and effort versus creating an artificial version of your ideal lighting environment.

One pro tip: start early! Load-in, setup, and framing always take longer than crews estimate, so make sure to give yourself at least 2-3 hours before your prime shooting time to get prepared to capture the perfect light. Acquainting yourself with the space and scouting the perfect corner of the studio to set your subject is a crucial part of the process, so give you (and the light) ample time.

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Daylight Studios Still Need Reflectors and Side Lighting


The sun is an amazing source of light for any production, but any photographer or videographer worth their salt knows that you need to have more than one light source to create an even and controlled balance of light across your subject.

Even daylight studios need the all-important assistance of a reflector, which Canoe Studios can happily provide. A reflector bounces sunlight towards the subject to balance out the backlight, ensuring an even distribution of light across the subject. This is a great source for contrast or side lighting as well since it allows you to harness daylight and limit its direction.

Without a reflector or some additional source of light, unbalanced lighting can often make subjects look severe or stark, especially in direct sunlight. Side lighting, even if it is just one small reflector, is essential!



Embrace Artificial Lighting in Your Daylight Studios


Choosing your lighting setup is not binary! Many of our clients opt for a hybrid approach to their shoot by using daylight as a primary light source as well as additional artificial sources to retain greater control over their lighting setups. For example, a camera flash can enhance a daylight photo dramatically if taken from the right distance and angle.

Artificial lights allow much more control and precision, although these rentals often raise the overall shoot budget and can require more time or crew members to setup, adjust, and breakdown.

The beauty of lighting an environment, especially in a daylight studio, is that there are no hard-and-fast rules or rigid techniques. As long as the photo or the shot looks good, using any combination or manipulation of daylight, artificial light, or inventive hybridization of the two does the trick!


Daylight Studios Need Blackout Capabilities Too


“Too much of a good thing” also applies to daylight studios, and sometimes an abundance of natural light (especially on a cloudless, sunny day) can be overkill. That said, there are plenty of editorial clients who want more controlled lighting setups using only artificial lights.

Fortunately all of Canoe’s daylight studio spaces are “blackout capable,” meaning they can completely block all sources of incoming natural light if necessary. Similarly, they can be used to blackout large sections of the windows to limit the amount of natural light if the floor to ceiling windows are simply too much for your shoot.

Regardless of your needs, our daylight studios have full blackout capabilities, high-voltage power outlets, and more professional lighting kits than you can shake a camera at.

Daylight studios are a photographer or videographer’s best friend! We’ve just barely touched on all the amazing benefits of a daylight studio and the limitless creative potential they unlock, but hopefully this has you confident about what you need to find before your next shoot.

Canoe Studios has everything you need out of a daylight studio: an abundance of natural light, over 40,000 square feet of versatile space, a 30-foot LED wall, a 1,000 square foot south-facing terrace, a full catering-ready kitchen, blackout capabilities, cycloramas, high-speed internet, and a fully-trained staff of production-ready experts ready to help realize your vision from beginning to end.