Dim light shooting can’t be avoided for photographers. Shooting at dusk, dawn, or inside buildings is challenging due to this. But finding balance is sufficient to tackle this.
Do you want to learn how to shoot in low light? Today’s guide will walk you through 10 foolproof practices to achieve stellar images irrespective of the available light.
1. Change the ISO
Low ISO is critical for dim lighting. Photographers usually boost ISO in low light, but it creates noisy images. If you own old models, see how your model tackles high ISO online. The latest DSLRs don’t produce noise at this setting.
But it all boils down to balance. Zoom at the dark areas to see whether there’s any noise level. Remember that you should prefer noise over blur. The latter can be eliminated in post processing.
2. Lower the Shutter Speed
A long shutter speed means ample light enters the camera. But a high shutter speed leads to camera shake. Ideally, try not to go lower than 1/125th of a second to avoid the small hand movements.
A general rule of thumb is to invest in a tripod. This tool allows photographers to lower the shutter speed without worrying about poor sharpness.
3. A Wide Aperture
An in-camera setting you can consider is to change the aperture that will help you in dim lighting. A wide aperture enables more light to enter the lens. Try to choose a very low f-stop number. Remember that you are changing the depth of field of images while experimenting with aperture.
And if you follow a specific style of images, changing the aperture will eliminate your personal style so be careful. As stated earlier, it is all about the balance. Try to not compromise on your style while switching the aperture.
4. Add a Flash
This is a must, but most photographers ignore this function. But that’s only because not everyone likes the harsh light it emits, particularly in extremely dim lighting. Sharp light generates a specific style which plenty of professionals employ to their advantage. However, this technique will not facilitate you if you have envisioned a particular image in mind.
For example, in seclusion in which the subject is distanced from the lens. But if you have no envisioned style, the flash can discard the need to compromise on your photography. The flash will give you the freedom to shoot quick, sharp pictures. Just be careful of the shadows that come with the flash.
5. Add a Reflector Or Extra Light
If your shooting scene is too dark, try to bring your own source of light. But be careful as a new light source will create shadows. Whether you employ a reflector or an additional light, the scene will be transformed.
A great idea is to place your personal light source beside the main light source. Doing so will maintain a similarity in the shadows. Keep in mind that various lights bring their own shades. So just check the color of your light.
If you require a bit more light, do not underestimate the power of a reflector. In dim lighting, try to recognize the placement of the main light source. You can put a reflector to reflect that light back on the subject.
6. Utilize a Quicker Lens
Quick lenses are a godsend during dim light shooting. The additional stops of the aperture can replace the setting sufficiently from a useless image to a valuable one. The majority of quick lenses can jump to f/2.8 and go to wide apertures, like f/1.4.
The additional stops refer to more light entering the lens. This presents you the freedom to boost the shutter speed. In return, this lowers the probability of camera shake.
7. Stabilize Your Pictures
Current lenses boast the image stabilization feature that eliminates camera shake. The leading manufacturers present lenses having such a feature. This technology is still getting better. Canon users should hunt for lenses with IS (image stabilization), while Nikon users should look for VR (vibration reduction).
The lens based stabilization is present in the lens that adds a floating lens element. The latter is electronically regulated and counteracts the camera shake. Dim light shooting is assisted by image stabilization. It enables professionals to lower the shutter speed drastically.
8. Pick the RAW Format
Have you never worked in the RAW format? Well consider using it now because you will experience a new level of forgiveness and freedom in your photography, especially dim lighting.
The camera retains much information in this mode as compared to the traditional JPEG format. More information is really useful in post processing, particularly for making images clearer.
9. Post Processing
Oftentimes, photographers stretch their settings but the end result still lacks in many aspects. Many professionals opt for a post processing software to clarify the details. But keep in mind that the software can offer a maximum of one or two stops more light. But the software won’t operate if there is no information. That’s why the RAW format is so useful.
Post processing allows you to regulate the shadows, light, and noise in your images. Ensure that you do not push too hard on the picture because it will look unrealistic. Adobe Lightroom is trusted by many for such adjustments. The editing software presents a simple framework to tweak specific sections of a picture.
10. Hunt for the Focal Point
Among the biggest obstacles in dim light shooting is the failing autofocus. Since there’s not much detail for the AF system to capture, the lens keeps readjusting to find a focal point. A useful tactic is to employ a tripod and use an external light source.
Even a smartphone flash is enough for the autofocus to hunt for the focal point. The lens can be switched to the manual focus setting so the focal point doesn’t shift.
Robert is an avid photographer and camera enthusiast with a passion for capturing the perfect shot. With years of experience testing and reviewing a wide range of camera equipment, Robert has become an expert in identifying the features and functions that are essential for capturing high-quality photos and videos.
As the founder and editor of Life in Cameras, Robert is dedicated to providing readers with honest and comprehensive reviews of the latest cameras, lenses, and accessories on the market. Whether you’re a professional photographer or a hobbyist, Roberts’s in-depth analysis and unbiased opinions can help you make informed decisions about your next camera purchase.