I remember working (as a go-fer) on a memorable photo-shoot with a magazine where we were going to shoot the interior of a historic hotel. I was dumbfounded to learn that the shoot would begin at 1:00 in the morning on a new-moon night! And it would be completed before dawn!
When you look at the photo, it’s the most beautiful “morning light” you could imagine. Sunlight streaming through the windows; a glint of color on bannisters and dooknobs. And all of it totally artificial.
If you actually went to that hotel during the daytime, on a nice warm sunny day, you’d only-then observe that at no time during the morning or evening is the light in that room actually what you might have expected it to be; nor would it be what you need in a photograph. (Mind you, the light that I saw with my eyes during the shoot, didn’t look like it did in the film picture!) You couldn’t use the natural light, and if you shot during the day it would not only interfere but would also be constantly changing. And that was my eyes-widening introduction to just how artificial “natural” pictures actually are.
When you shoot that sunlight streaming through the window picture and make it look (I love the word, it’s like ‘Military Intelligence’…) “photo realistic,” a really good effective lighting setup is going to amaze you with its complexity. And yet, if you did your job right, all of that complexity is invisible.