Guide to low light photography
I honestly was never into photography until I realized how challenging and rewarding it can be to work with the right lighting. More specifically, working in low light. Low light photography is my favorite because it's so difficult for a lot of people to do correctly. I take a lot of pride my ability to shoot in low light because it's taken me so much trial and error to get right. Anyways, I thought I'd finally share my knowledge with whoever is reading this blog to hopefully help you take better low light photos.
1) Camera Gear
I think most people will tell you that in order to achieve better low light photos you'll need a fast lens (f/2.8 or faster). Though it is preferable, I don't believe this is completely true. Taking photos requires you to juggle a bunch of different variables. So if you don't have a fast lens, make sure you have brighter light available.
What I like to shoot with:
- iPhone XR (cheaper option)
- Sony 50mm f/1.8 (cheaper option)
So what's ideal low light for me? Well I'm just looking for contrast. Whatever my key light is, I want it to be super bright in comparison the rest of the scene. The camera typically won't be able to properly expose the light and dark evenly. You will have to either expose for the brightest part of the scene or the darkest. In this case, you want to expose for the brightest part leaving everything else in the shadows.
Lights I like:
- GODOX SL60W (cheaper option)
- The sun (completely free)
- Neon signs (sometimes free)
3) Camera Settings
As I've said there's a lot of variables to juggle in photography. For low light, my main suggestion would be to keep your ISO as low as possible. Your ISO is your camera sensors sensitivity to light and the main cause of the ugly noise that a lot of people get in their low light photos. So your settings can be whatever you want, just try to keep your ISO as low as possible for the cleanest results.
Settings I usually like:
4) Photo Edit
Out of the box my low light photos look terrible. I like to always under expose and then pull all my detail out of the shadows. This process is a lot easier than exposing properly and then trying to darken things down later. You'll have to play around with it to get the look that you want. I typically will pull back the shadows and ever so slightly increase the exposure. If you like the look of the low light photos on my instagram, you can skip the extra work and just purchase my Low Light Presets.
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