10 Low Light Photo Tips

Written by  on September 1, 2011 

Lighting is a crucial element of any photo, and with digital cameras it’s even more important. The particularities of digital photo make natural light more desirable than flash; with flash or with bad lighting the results can be pretty disastrous.

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Photo: Andrew Stawarz

Well, of course, using the flash can be useful on the spot, but it’s a) distracting and b) makes your photo looks flat. So how are you supposed to take great low-light pictures without a flash? Here are our 10 best tips.

Use your ISO settings
ISO, or light sensibility, is the first easy way to overcome a low-light situation. By increasing the ISO factor as high as you can, your camera becomes more sensible to light and thus needs less of it to take good pictures.

Slow down shutter speed
Slower shutter speed means more exposure, which in turns means more light allowed in the lens for your picture. If you slow down your shutter speed, you have better chances of getting a good low light picture. However, there are some problems with that; check the next item.

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Photo: [martin]

Don’t shake
Camera shake is your enemy in low light settings. Your best friend is a tripod (or monopod), but if these are unavailable, check for stabilization options on your camera, either on the body or on the lens.

Check your aperture
Aperture determines how much light is allowed in your lens; a low f-stop number means a wide aperture which helps take good low light pictures with a digital camera.

Get some light
No flash doesn’t mean no light. If you can use an alternate light source, do so. Either move your subject closer to it or move the light closer to your subject—never put the light directly behind your subject, however.

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Photo: henkerik

Get new lenses
If you’re serious about low light photography, getting a fast, wide-aperture lens might be your best bet. Fast lenses with wide aperture are a must for low light photography. It also helps minimize camera shake.

Play with your color balance
If you adjust your white balance, it’ll help your camera render colors more realistically. You can also get rid of color shading caused by low light situations. Play around with your colors and contrast and see what happens.

Use Black & White
Black and white photos aren’t old-fashioned—they can be very artsy sometimes. If you don’t feel comfortable fiddling around your options, just use black and white and you’re likely to get good low light photos.

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Photo: NedraI

Change your format
Some formats do better in low light than others– .raw, for example. The images have higher resolutions and better quality, and are more easy to fiddle with in Photoshop.

Edit your photos
You can usually use a good photo editing software to enhance low light pictures. You can arrange the contrast and brightness, convert to black and white, etc. However, don’t expect miracles: a bad photo can’t be made great by editing it.

And our last tip: practice and experiment. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and so are photo skills. Use your camera as much as you can and you’ll see your skills get better in no time!

Category : CamerasTips

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