Mastering low light photography will allow you to capture some excellent images outdoors from dusk to dawn as well as indoors where the lights are low. There are many interesting subjects to shoot when the skies darken, such as fireworks displays, city skylines, and starry, moonlit nights. When you take photos in dark settings it’s the light in the photo that stands out.
For example, when you take a photo of a city skyline under the darkness of night a viewer’s eyes will be attracted to the lights of the city. The same goes for fireworks. The image is almost completely black except for the colourful explosions of the fireworks that light up the sky. If you took the same photo of a city skyline during the daytime your eyes would be attracted to the buildings and other structures themselves rather than the light that’s being emitted from them.
Because we’re now in the age of digital photography getting good shots in dim light conditions isn’t as hard as it used to be. In some instances your camera’s flash unit will help and in other cases it won’t really do you any good.
This is because the flash on a digital camera can only light up the area around you for a distance of about 15 feet on average. This is fine if you’re taking photos or people or places that are within 15 feet of you.
So if you want to take a shot of your best friend dancing in the dark this is the way to go.
When you want to take low-light photos of people or objects that are out of the range of the flash then you’ll need to make sure the shutter speed and ISO settings are adjusted properly. When taking a shot in the dark the exposure has to be longer. In fact it should be as long as you can get away with while still keeping the photo in focus. To achieve this, you will need to use a slow shutter speed.
Most photographers use shutter speeds anywhere between two and 60 seconds, depending on the type of photo they’re trying to get.
For example, a photo that shows a moving trail of automobile lights is achieved by slow shutter speeds and long exposures.
When the shutter speed is slow the aperture setting on the camera needs to be decreased. With a smaller aperture number more light will be let in, the exposure time will be longer and the depth of the images will increase. The ISO setting of the camera should be increased to a high number. The camera is more sensitive to light the higher the ISO is set at.
However, you may want to take a couple of shots first to experiment since a high ISO will result in grainier photos. This is ok if you want that effect. If you don’t, then start out setting the ISO as high as possible and work your way down while taking experimental shots. When you’re satisfied with the amount of grain in the images you know what to set the ISO at.