When going to various places to take photographs, the conditions will not always be in your favor. Poorly lit places are a strong obstacle for many photographers that can ruin your photos.
However, there are measures that can be taken to minimize the effects of low light conditions and ensure your photos come out looking good.
Below we’ll provide 10 low light photography tips that are quite indispensable for beginning and aspiring photographers. You can follow them to improve your low light photography.
1. Make Proper Use of Your Camera’s Flash
When faced with a lack of light, many photographers will make use of their camera’s built-in flash to overcome the issue. This is a good solution, but it is advised not to overuse it. The flash feature will provide a source of light, but if you don’t use this feature properly, then it can lead to blurry and grainy pictures.
It should also be noted that in some cases, using your camera’s flash can create an unnatural lighting effect and end up enhancing shadows making the picture look worse.
Also, there are some authentic low light cameras from Nikon which can do perfect work in any situation with using their own flash.
Although, an external flash unit is also a helpful addition as they usually have more options and are geared towards low light photography than built-in flashes.
2. Adjust Your Camera’s ISO Settings
Adjusting your camera’s ISO settings to match the lighting conditions is very important for taking good photographs. In case you weren’t aware, a camera’s ISO settings are an indicator that shows how sensitive the image sensor is to light and how much light it allows to enter.
A lower ISO will allow less light to enter, while a higher ISO will allow more light to enter. Usually, you will want your ISO settings to be around 100 or 200 when there is sufficient light, or you risk having the image come out as distorted.
In low light conditions, you should bump up your ISO settings to somewhere around 700 to 800. This will allow you to take a better picture. Make small tweaks as necessary until you are satisfied.
3. Add a Light Meter to Your Camera
Recent cameras often come with built-in light meters, but it is also possible to buy a light meter and install it on your camera. Light meters, as the name suggests, measures the amount of ambient light.
These measurements can then be used to auto adjust the ISO settings and camera shutter speed instead of adjusting the parameters through trial and error. It is recommended to use a handheld light meter for better results as they are more accurate.
To use a light meter, simply hold the measuring cell over the object which you want to photograph. Some light meters have an option to check for continuous exposure, which will show you how the lighting changes with time. After you have gotten your readings, you can then use them to adjust your camera.
4. Adjust the Camera’s Aperture
The aperture of a camera is the opening of the lens that allows light to enter. In low light conditions, you will want a wider aperture to make sure more light enters.
Usually, you will want the aperture to have a measurement of f/1.8. This will maximize the amount of light that can enter. Do note that wide apertures will create blurry images, so you need to adjust your ISO settings to offset this effect.
5. Decrease the Shutter Speed
Decreasing the shutter speed will increase the exposure to light, and thus, it is recommended to do so during low light conditions. The general rule of thumb is to set the speed to a fraction of the focal length. If you decrease it any more, you will end up with blurry images.
One thing you should remember that if your camera is not steady when taking photos with slower shutter speed, you will very likely end up with blurry images. It is recommended to use a tripod to minimize the effects of motion blur and only use this setting when taking photos of still objects or people.
6. Make Use of External Light Sources
One can opt to make use of other light sources to make it easier to take photos. Using careful positioning, one can make the light not look unnatural and have the picture come out looking good.
Like if you are streaming using the best youtube streaming cam, then you can use external light sources to get a better focus of your work area or face.
You should remember that low light conditions don’t necessarily have to be that way, and a little external light can go a long way towards helping you.
7. Change the White Balance in Your Camera
Another setting that needs to be accounted for when taking photos is the white balance. White balance is the setting that, when adjusted, allows white to be rendered properly in photos.
In the absence of sufficient light, your camera will pick up colors differently. You can do this via the manual white balance option in your camera and adjusting the temperature until you get a satisfactory photo. There are also options such as auto, daylight, and cloudy, which can be tested too.
8. Make Use of Your Camera’s Exposure Compensation
Most cameras will have exposure compensation. This is a feature that will adjust the brightness in certain images to make them come out looking better. In low light settings, the exposure compensation will work to brighten the image.
And most cameras have a dedicated button to enable this feature, while some have dials for easier adjustments. You will generally want to crank the dial to the positive end as much as you can to get a good photo.
9. Make Use of the Viewfinder Autofocus
Cameras often sport two different types of autofocus. One is the viewfinder, and the other is live view. For low light conditions, you will generally want to use the viewfinder as it allows you much more freedom than a live view.
You can adjust the focus more in the viewfinder, which will help you avoid blurry, out of focus photos.
By accessing this mode, you will be greeted by several autofocus points that you can choose to suit your needs. You can also let the camera automatically focus, but in low light conditions, this will often not give you the intended results.
10. Image Enhancement and Processing
Taking good photos in poorly lit conditions is a very difficult task. Even with the best camera settings, the only hope of getting a good, clear photo is by means of post-processing and editing.
There is a wide range of image editing software available. The most recommended one is Adobe Lightroom. Do note that you should learn to use this software properly or have someone with the proper expertise help you out.
As tough as it is, taking satisfactory photos in poorly lit conditions is not impossible. It takes a different approach and a good knowledge of how your camera works and often the use of image editing software to come up with the desired results.
Hopefully, our 10 low light photography tips will prove to be useful for aspiring photographers.