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Tips for Low Light Photography

There is no second opinion on how essential the lighting is during a photography session. However, sometimes we have to photograph in low lighting conditions without any strobes or other advanced lighting equipment. The factor that first comes to mind in this scenario is the built-in camera flash. The flash might solve the light problem, but using is not recommended. This is because it can completely destroy the quality and depth, making the photos look flat. In this article, we will be going through several amazingly effective tips for low-light photography that will make your next photography session look surely phenomenal.

Increasing the ISO:

The ISO settings in your camera basically decide the sensitivity of the camera sensor towards the light. For instance, if the ISO value is higher, then the image exposure will also be higher. Similarly, if the ISO value is low, the image exposure will also be decreased. Usually, a value of 400 and above ISO is considered a higher value.

The question that arises here is that if the ISO is such a good solution for low lighting problems, then why not photographers always use it. This is because increasing the ISO value also produces noisy photos. So the preferred value by professionals for low light photography is up to 800.

Using ISO as a solution always brings the chance of grainy photos. If you end up with a great photo but with noise, then worry not, you can fix your grainy photos in Photoshop.

Using slower shutter speeds:

A slow shutter speed means that the camera shutter stays open for a longer time. And the longer it stays open the more light will enter. You need to take care of two things while using slower shutter speeds. Firstly, there should not be any motion in the frame (unless you are trying to capture a motion blur on purpose). Secondly, the camera must be stable because the slightest shake can blur the image.

Photo of couple - Tips for low light photography

Photo edited in Lightroom.

Tripod and remote shutter release:

One of the most important tips for low-light photography is that we need to make our camera stable. For this purpose, a tripod and a remote shutter release is a perfect solution. The tripod will keep the camera in place and the remote shutter release will cut out the possibility of the camera shake while capturing the photo manually.

Another solution for the camera shakes is in-built camera feature i.e. image stabilization. You can find this feature on both the camera body and lens. Different camera manufacturers have given it different names. For instance, on a Nikon camera, you can find it as “Vibration Reduction (VR)” and on a Canon camera as “Image Stabilization (IS)”.

Adjusting the aperture -Tips for Low Light Photography

The aperture of a lens is similar to the iris of a human eye. The light passes through it and it also controls the focus on the subject. A wide aperture opening will allow more light to enter. Here confusion is common because the aperture size and the aperture value work oppositely. A wide aperture means a smaller f-stop number and vice versa.

Choosing a faster lens:

The next tip for low-light photography is using a faster lens. A faster lens means a lens with a wide aperture. If you are choosing a specific lens to help you shoot in low lighting conditions then go for the one with aperture values ranging from f/1.4 – f/2.8. The aperture value also affects the shutter speed. A wide aperture will allow faster shutter speed, resulting in crisp and sharp photos.

Lights in a street - Tips for low light photography

White balance:

Colors in a photograph are one of the most essential factors. However low light can highly affect the colors producing a washed-out look. In order to cope with this problem, we can use the white balance. Let’s understand the concept of white balance with a simple example. You might have noticed while shooting indoors or in-room light that your photos turn out to be yellowish. After switching the white balance to the settings specified for indoors, the colors seem to be corrected. So basically the white balance helps you get as natural and perfect colors as possible.

Shooting in RAW -Tips for Low Light Photography

Shooting in the RAW format will allow you to make the most changes without destroying the picture quality. RAW format stores more information than any other format. That is why the file size of the RAW photos is also larger.

Post-Processing:

During post-processing, do not destroy the image quality in order to make the image brighter. Edit the  exposure, highlights, whites, and blacks, etc. You can also fix the grains to some extent. The best photo editing software that will give you total control over your images are Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom.

Conclusion -Tips for Low Light Photography

In the article, we covered all of the basic tips for low light photography that will allow maximizing your creative potential even in unsupportive low light conditions. Our last but not the least tip is to keep practicing.

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