how to shoot in low light

How to Shoot In Low Light? – Most Efficient Low Light Photography Tips

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Shooting photos in low light is quite a challenging job for the beginner as well as expert photographers. Even if you have the best camera setup, it is not easy to capture sharp photos in low light. This is why professionals in this sector are always very keen to know about how to shoot in low light. 

According to the basic working principle of a camera, the sensor of the camera needs light in order to create a particular image. When there is low light, it becomes very challenging to create a sharp photo. The auto modes of a camera are programmed in a way so that it can provide the sensor with enough light in order for creating a balanced exposure. 

For achieving this, your camera will perform the shooting job using a slower shutter speed which will help the sensor get more light. And, this may lead to creating a blurred image. 

Keeping all of these in mind, I have planned to talk about how to take sharp photo in light. This is why, in today’s post, I will share some of the most efficient low light photography tips which will help you shoot in low light. 

Actually, I will try to provide a comprehensive discussion regarding low light photography so that you can actually have a piece of complete knowledge regarding this subject matter. 

Therefore, I will suggest you to put your full focus while studying the following discussion so that you get to know everything required for a perfect low light photography shoot. On the other hand, you should read this article for the best low light professional video camera.

Without further ado, let’s start the discussion right away… 

What Is Low Light Photography? 

Before I begin the discussion on how to shoot in low light, I think it is vital to tell you about what low light photography is in the first place. 

Well, do you think that it is the sun that mainly dictates low light photography? If your answer is yes, what if you are performing an indoor shooting project at 12 o’clock? What if there are clouds in the sky and you are shooting at 2:00 pm? 

You can consider ‘Time of the Day’ as the most important contributing factor, but I must let you know that it is not the only factor that decides what is being in a low light condition. 

Low light photography is basically meant as doing a photography shoot at the time when the light level is low or too low. Or, you may say that when your camera automatically uses a slower shutter speed because of low light, it arises the low light photography situation. 

Types of Low Light 

In order to have in-depth knowledge regarding how to shoot in light, it is essential for you to know about the types of low light. 

To be honest, it is quite difficult to categorize low light types because there is a large light range between what you say pitch black and bright. But to make it easier enough to understand, I have narrowed it down to only three specific categories. 

  1. Visible 

This is the type of situation where you may perform a photography shoot behind large buildings or under bridges or large trees. 

  1. Low Light 

The indoor photography situations or the time after sunset when everything is clearly visible around you but is happening to be getting dark. 

  1. Dark 

This is basically the nighttime when only the brightest objects are visible. 

I am pretty much sure that you have already experienced the above-mentioned situations where you have faced challenges to capture sharp photos with your camera because of varieties of reasons. 

How To Shoot In Low Light? – Understanding Low Light Shooting 

As I have already mentioned, shooting in low light seems to be very challenging, especially for beginner-level photographers. Actually, you have to stretch varieties of elements related to the exposure triangle so that you can take the perfect shot in low light conditions. 

So, it is essential to have an in-depth understanding of the exposure triangle so that you can get yourself acquainted with how to use your camera while shooting in low light conditions. 

In this case, there are 3 most important factors which you need to be aware of if you really want to know how to shoot in low light conditions. 

These factors are as follows – 

  1. Shutter Speed 

The shutter speed basically refers to the time how long the shutter of your camera remains open (usually expressed in time measurement). 

For example, shutter speed = 1/100 means that your camera’s shutter will open for only 1/100th of 1 second. 

Using the shutter speed of your camera, you get to blur or freeze your targeted subject while capturing photos. 

  1. Aperture 

Aperture in photography means the opening of the camera’s lens that mainly allows the light to pass through your camera so that it can create an image.

Always remember that the larger the aperture number, the smaller the lens opening will be. Also, the aperture can affect the depth of field of your camera lens. 

A larger opening of the lens will cause a shallower type depth of field whereas a smaller opening will help in focusing the image in a better way. 

  1. ISO 

The ISO means how sensitive the sensor of the camera to light. It is usually expressed in numbers. Keep in mind that the higher your camera’s ISO number, the more sensitive it will be to light. 

All of the above-mentioned factors work together in order to provide you with the correct exposure required for capturing an image. So, when you adjust one factor, you will also require to adjust the other two factors in order to shoot perfectly in low light conditions. 

Low Light Photography Tips For Shooting In Visible Conditions 

Have you ever faced a situation where you are capturing a photo and your subject is in a shadow? Well, this was my first challenge when I started photography after purchasing my first DSLR

I was literally shocked when I found out that images captured by my camera even in daylight situations were somewhat blurry. Very often, I saw that images on the camera screen was more or less ok, but when I transferred them to my computer, I found all of them a bit blurry. that

I seriously had no idea about such a problem and became desperate to find out the reasons. 

It is very common that you (if you are a beginner-level photographer) would think there is a sufficient amount of light under the shadow, but the fact is that inadequate light in that area causes the blurry thing to the images. 

For these types of visible conditions, you can follow these low light photography tips – 

Shutter speed for low light 

shutter speed for low light shoot

So, the question that is popping up in your mind is – “Why do those blurry images are occurring?” Well, the answer to this question lies behind the shutter speed of your camera. 

Keep in mind that when the shutter speed of your camera is too low, it will cause motion blur or camera shake which will lead to creating blurry images. 

In order to avoid or minimize camera shake, I would suggest you to capture images using a faster shutter speed. 

Now, you may ask – “What is actually a fast shutter speed?” 

Well, it mainly depends on the size of the camera sensor and the focal length of the lens you are using. 

However, by turning on the image stabilization mode of your camera, you get the flexibility of shooting at a longer shutter speed without the presence of the camera shake. 

Using Lowest Aperture 

camera setting for the low light shoot

When you want to use a fast shutter speed, it will require plenty of light. But in this case, we don’t have sufficient light. 

So, what should we do? 

Here, the first thing I would suggest you to do is to set the lowest f-number in order to make the lens aperture of your camera as low as possible. And, this is typically known as the Maximum Aperture. 

When the lens aperture will open up, it will allow the lens with more light so that you can capture photos using a fast shutter speed. And, this is what your main objective should be for this particular scenario. 

Using A Faster Lens 

The maximum aperture is the characteristic of the lens of your camera. So, it clearly indicates that you have to be very careful while choosing a lens for your camera. 

The ordinary zoom lenses available in the market can provide you with only f/3.5-f/5.6 as the maximum aperture whereas the high-end or professional quality lenses can offer f/2.8 as the maximum aperture. 

This is why you need to look for the best lens for your camera so that you don’t have to worry about shooting in low-light conditions. 

Using Image Stabilization 

 Image Stabilization for low light photography

Just answer me this question – “Does your camera or lens offer Image Stabilization?” 

Well, I must let you inform of the fact that Image Stabilization is also known as Optical Image Stabilization, Vibration Compensation, or Vibration Reduction. 

If your answer is NO, I would say that it is very unfortunate because Image Stabilization plays a vital role in capturing sharp images even in low-light visible conditions. 

You would be completely astonished to know that the most advanced Image Stabilization technologies from different renowned brands will provide you with up to 4.5-stops of compensation. And this will surely give you a next-level experience while performing a hand-held shooting. 

I think an example will give you a clearer idea about image stabilization technology. 

Suppose that you require around 1/250th of 1 second to capture a sharp image with your regular lens. But when you use the Image Stabilization system, you get the flexibility of lowering the shutter speed down to 1/15th of 1 second or for some cases, even slower. And, this will also give you a sharp image in low-light visible conditions. 

Increasing the ISO 

Now think of a situation where you have set the maximum aperture and still you are getting a slower shutter speed. For this type of situation, my suggestion is to increase the ISO of your camera which will help to make your image brighter than the normal situation. 

While increasing the ISO of your camera, you have to keep in mind that it will create more noise or grain in your images. So, this is also essential to keep in mind if you really want to capture sharp photo in low light visible conditions. 

Low Light Photography Tips For Shooting In Low Light Conditions 

Now I will share the most efficient low light photography tips where the situation is a bit complex – the time after or during sunset or shooting project in a poorly lit indoor environment. 

Of course, you can try the above steps which I have already explained. However, even after trying out those steps don’t help you out, you can move onto the following low light photography tips. 

Position of the Subject 

low light photography tips

Place your subject closer to the light source as much as you can. Doing so will eventually help you to pass more light through your camera. And light is the thing your camera needs to take sharp photos in low light conditions. 

Stabilizing Yourself 

low light photography tips

The next thing you have to do is to stabilize yourself, and if possible, you have to try your best for holding your camera in the best possible way for you. In short, you have to make the best use of your two hands while holding the camera so that you can ensure the perfect stabilization of your position as well as your camera. 

Shooting In RAW 

If you shoot in RAW, this will give you plenty of options for editing the captured images. To be honest, I always shoot in RAW because it seriously gives me a number of advantages when it comes to editing my captured images. 

Focus on the Autofocus 

autofocus for lowlight

In low-lit or dim-lit conditions, it is very common that your camera may lose its AutoFocus capabilities. This mainly happens when your surrounding environment doesn’t provide you with enough light. 

The most advanced cameras come with a very powerful feature called the ‘AF Assist”. The main job of this feature is to work as a flashlight so that you can get extra light when the environment doesn’t provide you with sufficient light. 

If your camera has this feature, you definitely have to turn that on so that you can take sharp photos even in dim lit conditions. 

Using Large Camera Sensor 

A larger camera sensor can be a bit expensive, but it can be extremely helpful for capturing sharp photos in low light conditions. 

So, if you have the budget, I would recommend you to buy a good quality larger camera sensor so that you can perform a quality shoot in low lit conditions. 

Using Tripod or Monopod 

low light photography tips

A monopod or tripod can be extremely helpful in order for keeping the gear still. You can choose either of these two depending on your requirements and convenience. 

Low Light Photography Tips For Shooting In Dark Conditions 

When it is totally dark around you, the above-explained low light photography tips may not just help you at all. 

In that case, you can follow these tips – 

  1. Using A Flashlight 

If your surrounding environment doesn’t pass any light to your subject, using a flashlight to add some light to the subject can really do the work. 

  1. Using Manual Focus 

When there is too dark around you, it is common that the AutoFocus of your camera will not work. If the subject is too close, I would suggest you to try out the ‘AF Assist”. 

However, if you don’t find the “AF Assist” giving you a good source of light, you can obviously switch to Manual Focus mode. 

When you use the Manual Focus, I would suggest you to make the necessary adjustments using the “Live View” mode. 

  1. Practice 

My last tip for you is to Practice, Practice & Practice…. 

Always remember that when it comes to shooting in low light conditions, there is no better thing than practice. 

The more you practice, the more experience you will gain regarding how to shoot in low light conditions. 

How To Shoot In Low Light Without Grain?

[Will be added later]

What Is the Best Lens To Use For Shooting In Low Light?

[will be added later]


So, we have almost reached the ending part of this discussion which is specifically focused on how to shoot in low light. 

In the above discussion, I have tried to describe each and everything that you need to know about how to take sharp photos in low light conditions. 

For this reason, I have divided the entire discussion into specific sections and subsections so that you can get the utmost benefit from this informative discussion. 

Still, if you face any problem while shooting in low light conditions, you can send me a message explaining your problem. 

I will try to best to help you out by providing you with the best possible solution. 

This is all for today! 

See You Soon! 

Take Care!