5 tips for shooting in low light
One of the regular questions I get is how do I shoot inside my home if the light isn’t that great? The following five tips always come to mind as the most important, so today I want to share them with all of you! Whether your home doesn’t get the best natural light or the photo opp is happening but not in the most ideal location for lighting, or even when it is evening and the light isn’t the quality you want, there are several things to keep in mind. Let’s dive in…
Tip #1: Find the available light
This is by far the most important one. If it does happen to still be daytime but inside your home is dark, you want to move your subject to a light source that will be more flattering. My two go-to options are a window or the front door. Simply moving your subject near a window will give you enough light to illuminate the face while also giving your image an artistic edge.
The front door is another great option to try. If you don’t care for the look of the background or your front door, simply move closer to your subject to cut out the excess background. You can see an example of this below.
Tip #2: Turn off your flash
A lot of people assume that compensating for low light or lack of light would be best with a flash. This actually isn’t ever the most flattering. Yes, in some cases we do need to use the flash simply to document the moment and get the snapshot, but there are so many options aside from that. My advice is to use your flash feature on your mobile phone or the one on your DSLR as a last resort. Instead, get creative. If you are using a DSLR, try bumping up your ISO. If you are on your mobile phone, try to find a unique light source. Sometimes this can be the glow from a device or even birthday candles.
Tip #3: Hold Steady
One thing to remember that is extremely important is to hold your camera steady. If you are using your mobile phone with the flash turned off in a low light situation, make sure your hands hold it steady or perhaps use a tabletop tripod. If you are using a DSLR, be sure to brace your arms on something to help keep the camera shake to a minimum or use a tripod.
Tip #4: Manage your expectations
When shooting in low light, you have to make sure you know you will not have a perfectly sound photograph. You will notice grain, shadows, and even blur, but keep in mind that you are documenting the moment and that is the most important thing.
Tip #5: Edit in black and white
I cannot sing the praises of a black and white finish enough when it comes to low light photography. A perfect example is this snapshot I took at bath time. The image on the left is straight from my iPhone 6Plus and you can see that while it’s an OK photo, there is a yellow tint from the lighting in the bathroom as well as some shadows. Then after a little editing and a black and white finish, it looks a million times better on the right. Don’t ever underestimate the power of a good edit!
I hope you find these tips helpful as you continue to document and photograph the every day. See you next time!