Good Morning SCT blog readers! Everyone getting used to the time change? I thought today would be a great time to discuss low light photography. Not only is it dark out by suppertime now, but we are also heading into the ever-popular school holiday concert season, as well as holidays gatherings of family and friends!
Your on-camera flash is harsh, plain and simple, and at most performances of any kind, flashes are strictly forbidden. A flash firing can also disrupt the ambiance of a gathering so if you want to clear a room quickly, start firing that flash! Adults, for the most part, dislike being photographed, and children get really distracted, and before you know it, your moment is gone.
Low light photography can be challenging, but there are a few things you can do to help achieve the best results possible.
Today, we will discuss your camera, and on Wednesday part 2 of this topic will cover your environment:
- Shoot with the largest aperture you have (smallest f-stop number). If it’s the kit lens that comes with most DSLRs, then that would be f/3.5. A lower number is better. (Buy yourself an early Christmas present and invest in a 50mm f/1.8 lens. You’re welcome!)
- Don’t make the mistake of thinking you have to shoot with your longest zoom lens. Typically, the smallest f-stop number on an average zoom is f/4.5. Way too slow. You are much better having a sharper, clearer photo that you can crop, than a close up that’s dark and blurry.
- Learn how to adjust the ISO on your camera. Today’s DSLRs can easily handle an ISO of 1600 without introducing too much digital ‘noise’ (a graininess in your photos).
(all photos shot with ISO 1600)
- If you only shoot in Auto modes, that’s ok; you can simply adjust your ISO, put your camera in P (Program) mode and it will do the rest. This will prevent your flash from firing as well. If ISO 1600 isn’t cutting it, keep going up, there is some wonderful software out there that will clean it up for you.
- Check your white balance. Indoor lighting is notorious for doing strange things to the white balance in your photos. If you have time prior to the event, take the same photo using a different white balance each time. Which one looks the most natural?
- If you have a point and shoot camera, check the settings and see if you can adjust anything manually. Many of them have wonderful automatic presets that take great low light shots.
See you Wednesday with Part 2!
~ Kathy Thompson