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Taking pictures in low light

Taking pictures in low light can prove challenging, as the key thing for any budding Lord Lichfield is to have access to a good source of illumination.

There are plenty of scenarios though where you will want to snap away and capture the moment despite low light being an issue – whether out with the girls at your local nightclub or enjoying a family meal at a restaurant. Parties and any venue indoors will usually give you lighting problems. These kinds of situations require you to get a little creative with your shooting to achieve those fantastic results.

Posted on: Fri 31 Aug, 2012 by Gary Dean

Sources to hand

When taking photos in low light try and use, as best as you can, what you have to hand as a light source. Firstly, try to use available light sources to improve the visibility; for example, placing yourself next to a window so that the natural light comes through onto your subject. This could work well in a restaurant environment, for example.

If you’re in a night club or venue without access to natural lighting then seek out the best possible source where you are. This could mean moving your subject in front of the bar, where it is usually brighter.

In certain situations of low light photography you may have to be imaginative if you want to achieve a good result, but with a little patience you should be able to capture some great results.

Light settings (ISO)

Another way to greatly improve your darker shots is to alter the light settings on your camera. This is known as the ISO setting and it alters the shutter speed on your camera. Faster shutter speeds are used in low light situations and give better visibility of your subject – but the trade-off is usually a grainer shot. Experiment with these settings for best results.

Hold steady

Another key point for shooting in darker areas is to maintain, as much as possible, a steady hold. Even a slight shake in your camera could impact on the quality of the photograph in lower light venues.

A top tip is to always try and tuck your elbows against the sides of your body – this helps stabilise you and results in better results. Blurry dark pictures are unlikely to make it into your Facebook album!

Using a flash

If you are going to use a flash then consider the fact that the end result will only feature the illuminated front part of your subject. This can interfere with your desired result, but can also look quite artistic. Bear in mind that a flash can also flatten the subject, so use it sparingly.

In most situations it is usually better to shoot without using your flash and instead utilise the light sources you have to hand. If this is still an issue, try changing the ISO setting on your camera and see whether that gives a suitable result first before resorting to that flash.

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