Shooting In Low Light

Taking photos in low light conditions always returns amazing results if the right equipment and methods are used. Golden Hour is considered the best time for photography, but so is the Blue Hour. Which is an hour before the Golden Hour in the morning and an hour after it in the evening. Photos with street lights still on are amazing.

Photographing a person in a low lit room adds some mystic feel to the image. If that low amount of light you have is reflected and directed properly, the results will be outstanding. Here are some things to consider when shooting in low light, so your photos don’t come out as just black frames.

ISO and Shutter Speed                    

It feels that the easiest way to compensate poor lightning is to crank up the ISO number. But once you do so the noise will appear and you will need to spend quite a bit of time on post-processing to get rid of it. It’s not really the best option and we would recommend going this way only if you don’t have a tripod with you. If you can mount your camera on a tripod then you should keep your ISO low and increase shutter speed instead. This will also add some artistic effects, such as “frozen” sea water or car lights looking like laser beams when they pass by – depending on the scene. However, if you shoot a person (or an animal) you would need to use faster shutter speed and combination of ISO adjustments and a flash.

Tripods

Using a tripod in a low light photography is a must. You can even by a small Manfrotto pocket tripod – this tiny fellow is capable of holding a full-frame DSLR with a 100mm lens on it. When on a late evening photowalk, you can place it on any still object on the street to stabilize your camera and take a few seconds exposure photo. Two things you have to note to yourself when doing this:

  1. Turn the image stabilizer OFF or it will try to “stabilize” what is already stable and will micro-shake the camera.
  2. If you don’t have a remote shutter trigger with you, set your camera on a 2sec timer. This way you will have time to take your hands off it after you push the button to avoid shaking.

Flash

Due to its close range using a flash is mostly necessary for shooting indoors. You simply cannot light up the whole street with it. However, you may find it useful to light some of your scene a little more than the rest. You really have to experiment with this to find what works best for you, your photography style and the equipment you have at hand.

Let us know what methods you like the best and what gear you use.

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