If photography is about capturing light, how do you take photos when light is scarce? Low light photography is a special kind of photography that requires a few tricks and techniques to get right. The next time you’re caught in a dark place, will you know how to take shots that look great?
You run into low light scenarios all the time: grungy restaurants, late night excursions through the city, or even out in the middle of nowhere under a night sky. Don’t settle for blurry movements, noise, and black nothingness – here’s how to take control of these situations and get great results.
The Right Setup For Low Lighting
While impromptu low light photography isn’t impossible, it’ll turn out better if you are prepared with the right kind of equipment and mentality. A lot of the fundamentals hold true whether you have a lot of light (which is what you usually want) or not much light at all. The difference is in how you apply those fundamentals.
Learn Proper Exposure
One of the first things to learn as a photographer is the exposure triangle: ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed. These are non-negotiable. You must know these like you know your own soul if you want to take good photos, whether they’re taken in low light or not.
If you want to capture action, raise the ISO. This makes your camera more sensitive to the light it picks up. The downside is that higher ISO usually leads to grainier photos. The trick is to find the right balance. Keep pushing it until the graininess is more than you can tolerate then back down a bit. If your subject is stationary, slow down the shutter speed. This increases the amount of time that your camera sensor is open, thus picking up more light. The downside is that any kind of movement will register as a blur so this is not good when trying to capture action or motion.