Today we are talking about Low Light Photography Tips using your dslr camera. Are you wondering the shutter speed for low light pictures? are you attempting low light photography without a flash? All of this is covered in our ultimate guide to low light photography tips.
I love dramatic lighting.
It can transform an otherwise boring image into something beautiful.
Light or the absence of light will draw the viewer’s eye to the subject of your image, so it is important to understand how to control the light that you see by manipulating your camera’s settings in manual mode.
If you set up a shot correctly in camera (by this I mean proper exposure), post-processing of these images are quite fun and simple.
It is important that you understand the limitations of your DSLR camera before photographing low light. If you are using a basic model camera, these images can be grainy if you crank your ISO up too high. Most cameras do not perform well with an ISO higher than 800, so it is important to utilize other parts of the exposure triangle – namely the aperture and shutter speed. I will explain how this works by sharing how I shot these images after 7 pm, capturing the glorious setting sun and the beautiful light and colors of the hot air balloons.
1- You will want to choose a lens that can shoot in low light, one with a wide aperture (f/1.4).
As the sun begins to set, the lighting will change from minute to minute and so should your camera settings. If you are looking to master the concept of aperture and f/stops click on this link.
2-You will want to maintain a proper exposure so that your sky will not be completely blown out.
This is always done by exposing for the ambient (available) light.
In the examples I have provided, I started out with these settings ISO 100, f/8.0, 1/250 sec and opened up my aperture and shutter speed as the night grew darker. In my final image of the night, my settings were ISO 100, f/1.4, 1/60 sec. All of the images taken in between those times were adjusted according to the ambient light at that moment. The take away point here is not to try to replicate my settings, but rather to adjust your settings to the proper exposure for your particular lighting situation.
3- As you slow down your shutter speed, you will need a tripod at a certain point. Generally at 1/60 you can still shoot handheld if you stabilize your camera against your body. Also at these slow shutter speeds, realize that you will encounter motion blur but this can be used to enhance images in certain situations as the focus of your image is now on the light and less on the people in the image.
All of the above photos were taken in subsequent order as the sun was setting and my light was diminishing, as mentioned in step 2.
Picture Correct has a great infographic to follow along with these same tips for low light photos.
I wear many hats. I am a wife and mother of two, a longtime hobbyist photographer, and I work in the medical field. I enjoy spending my time documenting my children’s lives in a way that makes each moment special, something to be remembered. I am a Louisiana native and lifetime resident.