December 9, 2019
Night, or low light, photography can be incredibly challenging but it also offers lots of opportunity for creativity. It’s so important as a professional photographer to know how to shoot in every scenario, especially low light. Follow these 6 useful tips on how to be a pro at low light photography. Once you learn the basics and understand your camera better, you’ll discover how fun low light photography can be!
If you are not shooting in RAW, let this be your first and most important photography lesson. I could go on and on about why you should be shooting RAW but I’ll save that for another time if you wanna hear it. When you shoot in RAW format, it records all of the image data, giving you the highest quality files. Whereas JPEG files, are compressed files with little data. You may not notice the difference on camera, but it is a tremendous difference. With RAW files, you have additional information, so it is much easier to correct during post-processing.
2. CRANK dat ISO, sis.
Do. Not. Be. Afraid. Of. ISO. ISO is your BFF from here on out. Some cameras and lenses are better suited for low light situations. Keep in mind, it is important to know your gear well so you can know just how high you can confidently push the ISO. . The higher your ISO, the more light reaches your camera sensor. However, when you boost your ISO, the more noise (or grain) your image will have. A noisy, sharp picture is usually always better than a blurry one. Also, in my opinion, grain is not necessarily a bad thing! In fact, it gives images a more artistic and moody feel. I love me some grain. Hell, I even ADD grain with my presets!!
3. Shoot at faster shutter speeds to avoid blurry images.
“Why do my photos always turn out so blurry?” This is one of my most commonly asked questions, especially with low light photography. The answer is your shutter speed! A longer exposure time will allow more light in. However, unless you have a tripod or you have magic hands that don’t shake, it’s not an easy task. Any movement with a slow shutter speed, will result in blurry images. Typically, I rarely ever shoot under 1/200th of a second. I personally keep my shutter speed 1/200th+, and just boost my ISO.
4. Set your aperture as low as it can go.
Opening up your lens aperture will allow more light to pass through. The lowest f-stop number your camera will allow, is your maximum aperture. If you’re shooting with a kit lens, you will be pretty limited with how low your aperture can go. Investing in a wider aperture lens is vital for low light photography.
5. Low light photography doesn’t mean NO light photography.
To get beautiful, sharp images without the use of a flash, it is important to try to incorporate as much light as you can elsewhere! Use other light sources! Street lights, candles, light coming through a window, and other ambient light can help create stunning shots. Position your couples, or subjects, near these lights! Do not, however, position the light behind them unless you are going for a silhouette image.
6. Shoot in Kelvin.
If you’ve never heard of Kelvin (k), you’re in for a treat. One of my favorite manual settings that truly saves me so much time in Lightroom. Kelvin is a white balance mode where you manually set the temperature of your photos, while shooting. Opposed to the AWB setting, you can capture colors as accurately as possible, avoiding those ugly blue, yellow, or orange tones. It may seem overwhelming thinking about learning yet another manual setting, but I promise you it’s easy to learn!
Don’t be afraid of a little challenge. These places are where we grow the most! I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone this week and put these tips to use! And when you do, I’d love to see them! Drop them in my inbox…I can’t wait to see the beautiful images you create.