I went to the shop on the weekend and had my Canon 5d mk iii in my backpack. The attendant asked me what was in my big bulky backpack, so I explained it was my camera and that I never leave it in the car as it is very valuable. He replied "iPhone photos are just as good". Lets test the theory and you be the judge. The look I was going for was the morning sun glowing through the leaves and not much background clutter. Image one was taken with my iPhone, and image two was taken with my full frame SLR camera. They turned out to be two very different images. Although I should stipulate that the second image was edited from raw and the iPhone jpeg had no post editing (although editing of the iPhone image would not have made a significant difference). I also used full manual mode for the second image; selecting the aperture, shutter speed, ISO and selected focal point amongst other things to achieve the results I was after. These sorts of selections would not be possible with a camera phone.
Many photographers advertise themselves as "natural light photographers" as a selling point. To most people this doesn't mean much or they assume that natural light must capture natural images better. This is a misconception. I know of a few natural light photographers who successfully use natural light and they make perfect use of the light available to them from mother nature. They do this by taking their photos at the right time of day and position their subjects perfectly. Unfortunately, our weather is anything but predictable and the use of additional lighting can be very beneficial to those who know how to use it. Others may advertise as "natural light" if they haven't mastered the use of added lighting.
As an example, the picture below was taken before sunset with the sun setting behind. This picture could not be achieved with natural light alone as the subjects would have been dark silhouettes. The flash lighting that I used highlighted their faces, while maintaining that beautiful golden background glow.
Fill flash can also be used when there are harsh lighting conditions to fill in shadows (under eyes etc) which is much more flattering. Added light also helps to make images sharper and can help reduce graininess.
Natural light photographers are very limited in when and where they can take photos and the wrong lighting conditions can really make for a bad photo.
While I always try and shoot at the right time of day (the golden hour), that is not always possible. Most of the time I use some sort of added flash (even if its subtle) and find this produces the best results.
Michelle Sanchez - Adelaide Photographer