How to Take Pictures in Low-Light
Low-light photography isn’t limited to dark, night-time photography; it takes many shapes and forms like low indoor light, cloud cover, or sets that have very little ambient lighting.
Some of the greatest images can be captured in low-light, making for some interesting, emotion-filled, alternative perspective images that are truly inspirational. It does take time, effort, and practice to master taking great images when natural lighting isn’t available, but it’s so worth it when you do.
While it may seem an unfavorable condition to shoot in, our tips for shooting in low-light will help you to get the shots you desire. These are our best tried and tested tips. Give them all a go and pick which one works best for you.
Let’s get started!
Maximize Alternative Light Sources
When there’s little light…light the way. There is always a lighting alternative for your low-light shoot that may provide the illumination you require. You can try a handheld light, a lightbox, a lamp, moving the object or person to a location where there is access to more light or using the camera’s flash.
Adjust Your ISO Settings
Adjusting your ISO number will increase the light the camera will capture for that image. So, naturally increasing your ISO number will capture more light, but will also create more image noise. Have a play around with the settings until you reach a number that feels right to you. You can always edit the image to reduce the noise post-shoot.
Shoot at Higher Shutter Speeds
If your images are turning out blurry, this may be due to the shutter speed. Shoot at higher shutter speeds to avoid your camera capturing too much movement and cast alternative lighting onto your subject for better focus.
Consider Shooting in Black and White
Shooting in black and white will take care of low-lighting problems, and depending on what you are shooting, it could create a really moody shoot. Great for overcast and rainy days or portrait shots that capture emotion.
Out of Focus
Depending on the camera you use, the lens may have a hard time focusing on the subject you are shooting. This is due to low-light. A quick fix for this problem is casting alternative lighting on the subject until your lens is able to focus better.
When all else fails, you can adjust the quality of the image during the editing process. Your editing program will be able to adjust brightness, highlights, color balance, reduce noise, and correct shadows.
Play around with your program and edit the photo a few times using different settings and compare each finished edit to the other until you achieve the image you’re after.
Forget JPEG, Shoot in Raw
Continuing on from our previous tip, post-shoot editing will provide much greater results if you shoot in RAW. RAW images contain much more detail compared to their JPEG counterparts. This means that when it comes time to edit, you will have much more freedom to edit the finer details than you would otherwise.
Shooting with a wide focus aperture will capture more light in your image, perfect for low-light images. The effectivity of this will greatly depend on the lens you are using. The quality of your image will not improve much using a standard lens, even with a wide aperture.
A camera with a full range sensor will work best for low-light photography than a camera with a regular sensor. A full range sensor will capture an image, in low-light, with a lot less noise. The sensor in your camera is directly responsible for capturing all the details, light, shape, shadow, exposure of an image which is why a full-range sensor is best suited for this type of photography due to its ability to capture more details.
Use a Tripod
Sounds simple, right? That’s because it is. Using a tripod will significantly decrease the movement and noise in your image, allowing your camera to capture more light resulting in a higher quality image.
Don’t be discouraged by low-light photography, as many times as you may try and fail. Even the most professional photographers must navigate low-light situations time and time again to get the perfect shot. And just as the saying goes, practice makes perfect.
We’d love to hear your low-light photography tricks. Leave us a comment below!