Low light photography isn’t always easy. Managing that exposure triangle is tricky! But if you want shoot anywhere with less than ideal light conditions, it’s something you need to learn. We recommend starting with a fairly solid mirrorless or DSLR (no point and shoots, please!) and then follow our tips below.
Grab a Tripod
You need something to stabilize your camera, whether it’s a tripod, monopod, or even a clamp. If it’s windy outside, we recommend adding a bean bag to weigh down your tripod. You need devices in place to steady camera shake.
Compromise with Shutter Speed
Shutter speed is tricky here. On the one hand, slow shutter speed translates to blurry images. However, slower shutter speeds also let more light in. The tripod should reduce camera shake, letting you operate at slower shutter speeds without blurry images.
Crank Up the ISO
Increased sensor sensitivity lets you capture light faster. Newer cameras operate with less noise at higher ISO. So, crank it up! In fact, images up to 6400 ISO are often still good.
Open the Aperture
Open your aperture wide – as wide as possible, usually. If you want to capture more of the background in focus, then you need to compromise with a narrower f/stop. Use a faster lens, too, as they usually feature larger apertures. A fast lens with an aperture like f/1.4 lets you quicken your shutter speed dramatically to freeze motion.
Shoot in RAW
It’s no secret that shooting in RAW gives you more adaptability in post-production, while JPEG offers only limited options. If you over or underexpose during a low light shoot, RAW gives you the freedom to fix some of those errors.
Shooting in low light is about learning where to wiggle. You may need to push the exposure triangle to accommodate a low f/stop, high ISO, and as slow a shutter speed as you can manage without blur. Maybe not all at once! But learning where you can push one side of the triangle a little more will take your pictures from dark to workable.