Low Light Photography Tips

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Light is the single most important element in photography. A photographer’s ability to capture and work with light can make or break a photograph.

Low Light Photography Tips

Intimidated about shooting in less than ideal lighting situations? Having difficulty nailing focus and proper exposure while shooting sans tripod? Embrace the darkness, shadows and dramatic beauty that come with shooting in low light. Here are a few tips to get you started in handheld low light photography:

Use a large aperture. Make the most of available light – increase your aperture by setting your f-stop to the smallest number to let more light, and more of the scene you’re capturing, into your camera’s sensor.

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Use higher shutter speeds to create sharper images. Avoid motion blur and camera shake by using higher shutter speeds. A minimum shutter speed of 1/200th-1/250th of a second should do the trick when shooting handheld in everyday situations, though lenses equipped with vibration reduction make it possible to shoot at even slower speeds.

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Use a higher ISO. Increase your camera sensor’s sensitivity to light by using a higher ISO; making it easier for your camera to capture images in lower light environments.

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Focus manually. Cameras often have a difficult time auto-focusing in low light situations. Use a flashlight to assist or take complete control and focus manually, checking your LCD screen to ensure that you’ve achieved proper focus.

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Low light photography is equal parts challenging and fun. Arm yourself with knowledge, push yourself and get out there and shoot!

37 Comments

  1. by Adrienne on February 1, 2013  7:04 am Reply

    Beautiful snow shot - and your little one...snuggled in and concentrating is just precious! Thanks for hosting this and for the tips - Hope you are settling in and feeling "home".

    • by Kristi on February 3, 2013  11:25 pm Reply

      Thanks so much, Adrienne! We're slowly but surely settling in. I"m glad that you enjoy the photo challenge and the tips. We've got more coming up on Friday. And don't tell anyone but we've also got a freebie for our photo challenge participants tomorrow. ;)

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  3. by Gina on February 1, 2013  7:28 am Reply

    Love your images Kristi- we sure have had some fun weather haven't we?!!

    • by Kristi on February 3, 2013  11:23 pm Reply

      Thanks, Gina! I loved your photos too! It's always nice to see your beautiful face. Hopefully I'll get to see it in person sometime soon! The weather here has been...not fun. lol I will say that I'm thrilled about the teeny tiny bit of melting we've had here this past week. Of course we've still got tons of snow everywhere, but it was nice to see some of it melt before it starts snowing again this week. lol

    • by Kristi on February 3, 2013  11:22 pm Reply

      You are too sweet, Andi!

      P.S. I miss you!

  4. by Tiaras & Tantrums on February 1, 2013  7:57 am Reply

    and push myself I did this week. I also discovered that I NEED another lens!! haha

    • by Kristi on February 3, 2013  11:21 pm Reply

      You pushed yourself and you rocked it! Those tulip shots were amazing!

  5. by Jenny on February 1, 2013  8:01 am Reply

    these are great, and the tips are awesome. i just tried it, but nothing really came out all that great :( but i will keep trying!! i am determined to get something good one of these days.

    • by Kristi on February 3, 2013  11:19 pm Reply

      Thanks, Jenny! And yes, keep practicing! It'll get easier with time. Can't wait to watch the progression. :)

  6. by Mona's Picturesque on February 1, 2013  10:15 am Reply

    I'm always so thankful to get your tips! Love love love that last shot!

    • by Kristi on February 3, 2013  11:17 pm Reply

      You're so sweet, Mona. Thank you so much! :) Mona, those photos of the trees against the sky in your latest blog post? I'm head-over-heels in love! You should print some of them and put them on canvases. They're awesome!

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  8. by Lisa @ {4}SLP on February 1, 2013  2:07 pm Reply

    Great tips, I am excited to join this challenge :) I look forward to next week.

    • by Kristi on February 3, 2013  11:15 pm Reply

      Thanks, Lisa! I'm so happy to have you with us. :)

  9. by Anne U on February 1, 2013  3:41 pm Reply

    Really like the feel of the first shot, beautiful photos and great tips.

    • by Kristi on February 3, 2013  11:14 pm Reply

      Thanks so much, Anne! I like the feel of that shot too! I loved your set of photos, by the way. You did such a wonderful job. :)

  10. by Satakieli on February 2, 2013  7:20 am Reply

    Love these Kristi, awesome work as always! Great Low Light Tips. So happy to be hosting another challenge with you :)

    • by Kristi on February 3, 2013  11:13 pm Reply

      Thanks, Rebecca! It's always a pleasure to be working with you as well. Have I mentioned that you're my favorite Brit after David Beckham. Obviously he comes first. Duh. :P

  11. by Marty on February 2, 2013  7:32 am Reply

    Lovely images! I especially enjoy the last one...such a cutie!

    • by Kristi on February 3, 2013  11:11 pm Reply

      Thank you so much, Marty! I loved the bacon goodness over at your place! It's close to midnight here and I'm craving a piece of bacon now and it's all your fault. lol ;)

  12. by Amanda Jillian on February 2, 2013  8:16 am Reply

    Gorgeous shots, great tips. I'm happy to have this for my new domain good!

    • by Kristi on February 3, 2013  11:09 pm Reply

      Thanks, Amanda! I'm so happy to hear that you enjoy the photography tips and photos. :) Thanks so much for always being supportive and sharing my work on Twitter. You're the sweetest! :)

  13. by Teresa on February 2, 2013  5:46 pm Reply

    These are great shots! I do appreciate the tips you give us. Thanks for hosting.

    • by Kristi on February 3, 2013  11:08 pm Reply

      Thanks so much, Teresa! I'm so glad that you enjoy the photography tips. :)

  14. by Nina on February 3, 2013  2:07 am Reply

    The photo of your son has so many beautiful soft shades and shadows, like the one with the snow and lamp! Thank you for arranging this Nurture Photography event - I learn so much from these challenges and from the tutorials. B & W pictures are a new landscape for me, this theme really challenged me ... I should dare to process more black and white, and learn by doing it more often!

    • by Kristi on February 3, 2013  11:07 pm Reply

      Thank you so much, Nina! I'm so happy to hear that you enjoy the photo challenges and learn so much from them. Rebecca and I work hard all year long to make the photo challenges interesting and fun. :)

    • by Kristi on February 3, 2013  11:06 pm Reply

      Awww, thanks! I really enjoyed yours as well. I loved that photo of the birds in the tree. Perfect capture for winter! :)

  15. by Sonishka/ Far and away on February 3, 2013  1:30 pm Reply

    I was away since friday so didnt have time to join yet. I see there are many great photos in the pool already ;)

    • by Kristi on February 3, 2013  11:06 pm Reply

      You know I'm dying to see your photos! Can't wait for you to link up! :)

  16. by Anna-Leigh on February 4, 2013  12:32 pm Reply

    Love the rain shot, and your little one is too cute. I can tell you that shooting in darkness makes me wish I had some different lenses, and the wish list grows ;-)

  17. by Veronica on February 4, 2013  1:13 pm Reply

    You moved to such a gorgeous place. Thanks for sharing with us. Awesome tips too.

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  19. by Audrey on February 6, 2013  5:35 am Reply

    Love the rain with the night lights! We get rain here in Nor. Cal so that captures winter well!

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