Friday, November 18, 2011

Low Light Photography Tips {ISO: In Search Of}

What was that?  Say what?  You haven't used your camera since daylight's savings?  It's dark at 4pm now and you don't know what to do?  Well have no fear, crazy camera lady is here! 

Yes, shooting in low light situations takes some thought and skill, but boy can those efforts pay off big time with dramatic and exciting results.

Some of my favorite shots were taken at night, or when the lighting wasn't "perfect" or "ideal".  You can't pause the amazing moments from happening and you definitely don't have control over the sunlight, so it's time to embrace those moments and take control over your camera.  

Tip #1, utilize whatever lighting you do have.  Turn on a lamp, an overhead light, a fireplace, a candle, basically anything that will illuminate your object.  

ISO 2000

Holiday lights illuminating my sweet boy's face.  Just look at how innocent he looks as he snuck behind the tree!  This is one of my all time favorite shots and while it's not technically perfect, this picture brings me back to that moment in time.

Tip #2, lower your aperture as low as you can.  This will enable you to keep your shutter at a decent speed so that you don't get that nasty camera shake.  My shutter went pretty low here but with a good steady hand, I was able to get the shot.

ISO 1000

Ideally I should have raised my ISO a bit so that I could shoot at 1/50 or higher, but of course fast shooting sometimes requires quick thinking!

Tip #3, crank up your ISO.  Experiment, keep it as low as you can, but you still may have to go up pretty high to get the right shot.  Hopefully that makes sense!  The only issue with higher ISO's is the noise (grain).  Most of the time it can't be helped and the better the camera you have the better job it does handling higher ISO's. 

ISO 1600

Tip #4, Use a custom white balance.  This will dramatically increase your chances of creating a picture with the proper color balance.  Artificial light creates a terrible color cast and can cause skin tones to look ishy.  You will have to consult your camera manual on how to do that on your particular camera.  

ISO 800

 And, if all else fails, convert to black and white!  Only half joking of course!

I hope this comes in handy just in time for all that holiday shooting!

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