Photo shooting in low light photography can be immensely challenging and every single step of your camera setting would change, even if you’re shooting the same scene in the daytime. Today, we’re revealing each and every step along the way that would help you to capture great photos in low light.
Before diving deeper into the tips, you need to understand the types of low light you might encounter for photography:
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These are the dark areas which are found in the daytime. Shadows created by large buildings or trees could be upto 2 stops of light than the well-lit areas.
- Low Light
After the sunset, there are areas that may still be visible, yet too dark to capture. It may occur even in indoor photography as well.
This is when only the brightest objects are visible at night time.
#Tip 1: Using a High Shutter Speed
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Shutter speed affects and regulates the light entering into the camera – the faster the shutter speed, the less light will enter the camera. If you are around a low-light situation, then the chances are you may not have your tripod with you. You need to be careful to not select too slow speed or you’ll end up with blurry photos.
Using the rule of thumb, can help you with taking sharp photos by setting the speed to a fraction of the focal length. For example: If you take a photo at 30mm, you would set the shutter speed to 1/30th of a second. Any slower than the motion blur is likely to occur. It’s worth mentioning that this rule is only relevant to full-frame cameras. For a crop sensor, due to its magnifying effect, it would be better off choosing the speed of 1/45th of a second.
You would also need to drastically increase the shutter speed, if the subject is moving. If you happen to have a tripod with you and you’re shooting a still object, then you could increase the shutter speed to virtually as long as you need. You can use an external shutter release trigger to minimise the camera shake.
#Tip 2: Going For a Wide Aperture To Let the Light In
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This refers to the hole from which the light passes through in your lens: the wider it is, the more light you let in. Rather confusingly, the wider the aperture, the lower the f-number. This step isn’t useful until you use your standard kit lens and find the maximum aperture somewhere around f/3.5. This would let in enough light for good results. The point here is that, if you want to take a well-exposed photo in low light, you need a lens with a wide enough aperture to let more light in. Setting your lens to stop at f/1.8 actually lets in 4 times more light than f/3.5, which is a huge difference for a small change in number. A wide aperture will produce a shallow depth of field. There’s no way around this without making your aperture narrow again and increasing the ISO or slowing down your shutter speed.
#Tip 3: Higher ISO Can Get You the Right Exposure
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Though this may sound easy, but can get trickier to manage on most of the cameras as the higher the ISO, the more the digital noise and could look pretty ugly on the image. If you’re struggling to get the exposure you’re looking for just by changing the shutter speed and aperture, the best thing to do is to raise the ISO. Remember how stops work though: doubling the ISO number doubles the amount of light that your camera can see. Though there are cameras that at higher ISOs aren’t very good at determining colors, but you could easily convert your photos to black and white.
#Tip 4: Using Fast Lens for Low Light Situations
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One of the physical attributes of the lens is the aperture. The choice in a lens is important when it comes to the maximum achievable aperture. Most of the consumer find their limit at f/3.5-f/5.6 for maximum aperture. Professional zoom lenses often have a constant aperture of f/2.8. Many prime lenses could reach f/1.4 and even some of the most specialist lenses can drop down to f/0.95. The wider the aperture (the lower the f-number), the faster the lens is considered to be. Low light photography situations need the fastest possible apertures to capture them. F/1.4 will give you twice as much light as F/2.8. However, beware that widening your aperture will decrease your depth of field, making it more difficult to place in focus. This is a great technique to use during visible low light situations, in automatic or manual modes.
#Tip 5: Stabilizing the Camera Without a Tripod
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If you are taking low-lit scene and do not have a tripod or flash unit, there are more than a few methods that would help your images to be well-exposed and sharp. One of the methods is to stabilise your camera by using your camera strap around your neck. Making the strap taught will allow you to shoot at lower shutter speeds. You can also use string, threaded through the eye of an attached tripod plate and stood on at both ends under the photographer’s feet. This can be taken as a temporary tripod.
If you’re looking for some of the best digital cameras to get your hands on for some great low-light photography, check out from our extensive collection here: