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How to Take Photos at Night or in Low Light

Are you one of those people who loves taking photos, but only during the day? Unlike the intrepid wedding photographer, you put your camera away without a second thought when the light starts to dim, content with the idea that cameras only work well in broad daylight or in brightly lit places. Thanks to numerous not-so-favourable experiences of using a camera in dark places, your camera stays idle during the night, regardless of the many potentially beautiful and memorable photo opportunities available in the evening.


Night Portrait by lavendamemory, on Flickr

Your inclination to take pictures does not have to stop with low light conditions. There are means and ways to overcome the obstacles to capturing good photos at night or in low light. All you need is an understanding of what the “right exposure” is, namely, the amount of light that passes through the camera lens that is “just enough”. This is important to ensure that your session for family photography doesn’t wind up looking like you took pictures of swirls in the dark, or unflatteringly overexposed due to the harsh flash.

Get to know your camera settings so that you can control the amount of exposure. Look for “aperture” or “f-stop,” “shutter speed,” and “ISO/sensor sensibility”. Low aperture settings mean that more light gets in, while a slower shutter speed means the sensor is exposed to light for a longer duration, while a higher ISO setting results in the sensor being more sensitive to light.

For any given photography condition, there is usually more than one combination of settings that can give you the “correct” exposure; check your camera’s light meter to identify these combinations. If you play around with the ISO and aperture, your camera will then set the most appropriate shutter speed. Alternatively, you might want to define the shutter speed and ISO values. In this case, your camera will alter the aperture width accordingly. If you prefer to let your camera do all the thinking, just use the “auto” setting, and all 3 variables will be set automatically.

If this sounds too technical, or if you prefer to have your photos taken without the hassle of fiddling with your camera while your subjects fidget impatiently, don’t worry. Most people find it much easier to engage professional assistance so that they are free to enjoy the occasion. Thus, rather than risk botching your friend or loved one’s big day, you might be better off hiring the best wedding photographer.

One Response to How to Take Photos at Night or in Low Light

  1. Steven says:

    Learning to take good photos at night is definitely worth the effort – there’s a whole other world of photography opportunities just waiting to be explored

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