Week 21 – Learning Activity – Shooting in Low-Light Conditions

For creating a good quality picture in low light condition, we could use devices like using a tripod, long shutter exposure or a wide lens for gather the most amount of light as possible. One could play with the aperture and using several types of lenses for creating a desired effect. Also we could  use filters and CTO gel to change the warmth of lightning for creating a more harmonious composition regarding the natural light of the surroundings.

Exposure

Exposure is the amount of light that comes in contact with the camera sensor or photo-film in a period of time. It could be achieve by using a wider lens that provide light entering faster into the camera or by a long shutter speed that also provides light entering the camera.

If too much light enter the camera all goes to white resulting into an overexposure. This effect could be used when shooting during low light conditions. The opposite is underexposure. It happens when the light entering is too little and the picture becomes dark. Booth situation results in information missing to complete the whole image. However under some circumstances those effects could be used to enhance a photoshoot depending what the situation is.

 

Lenses

Different lenses have different maximum apertures and the wider it is the shallower its depth of field. This compromises the reach. The different lens configurations help to create the right balance between the different focal length, different speed and different apertures. It is what makes a lens suitable for this or that photoshoot situation.

Faster lenses might capture more light and therefore freeze movement but it might affect the reach, making it not suitable to capture close ups by zooming in,  in the other hand by getting real close you can achieve good close-ups. Other lenses might offer the reach but at a slower shutter speed making it difficult to create crisp images of movement, movement will become blurry. Others lenses might provide higher speed but narrower angle and therefore leaving pieces of the whole scene out of the picture.

Using or choosing the right lens require photo shooting planning if it is possible at all

Tripods

When making photography during the night especially long exposure pictures, it becomes helpful to use a tripod to avoid shaking movements that could damage the image. A remote control helps even more to reduce camera vibration specially in combination with a tripod

Colour temperature

Light shines at a different colour temperature, creating different tones to a picture. Different lights vibrate at different waver length creating variations in colour tone.

When the flash has a tone and the back ground other it might become necessary to adjust the flash colour to achieve a more uniform and organic picture

The flash colour toning shifting could be achieve by using devices like CTO gel in front of it to change its light colour

Flash

During the night you could use your camera flash, strobes, or torch light as a device to create a desirable effect and input more light into a picture. But you could also create and ambient effect, for example by using torch light we could paint with light and get subtle tones that could enhance photography. It is up to the imagination and to experiment with it.

ISO

During night the ISO needs to be higher or use longer exposure time or even both. High speed lenses allow gathering more light faster. It helps to reduce ISO and by consequence reduce noise. The same is true for long exposure or long shutter speed

It is a balance that could be achieved by observing the camera metering and make fine adjustment by experimenting and observing the results.

As result

We’re balancing shutter speed for controlling ambient amount of light, aperture for depth of field, and ISO for how strong the light is.  Changing one setting affects the other and therefore it requires testing and experimenting to achieve good results.


 

Examples of several setting I have experimented with

Static object

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Moving objects

 

 

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Moody portrait

For creating this moody portrait it was important to take in consideration the amount of light in the room. This was achieved by using several light sources at different angles related to the model positioning and by using filters for dissipating the light evenly.

The body positioning was also important. A good friend of mine Alvaro Delgado who is also a photographer suggested to adjust the light and the model positioning until I could see soft triangle of light on the models face but at the same time it need to be a natural position. The model and I worked together until we reach acceptable results.

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