Light is everything when it comes to photography. But, sometimes, you just don’t have enough of it! We’re not even talking about shooting in a dark room. There are many instances when your lighting isn’t ideal and you could do with a little bit more light to really make your photos pop. So what you can do about it?
In this episode, Gina and Valerie focus on simple ideas you can use when you are shooting in a variety of low light situations.
No Cameras Allowed is a documentary that follows James Marcus Haney’s journey of breaking into music festivals and inserting himself into the world of some of the biggest names in the industry.
I also found a great new screensaver from 500px it’s awesome because every time I log onto Chrome there’s a new gorgeous picture from 500 pics amazing.
Recap on last week’s episode
Jessica Roberts-Booton reshoots the image we discussed, using the advice we gave her on light metering. Check out the before and after shots here.
From Daniella Mone in New York
Hi Gina. Recently I was approach by a friend who works at a spa to do headshots for the spa team. The spa director wants to use the images to introduce the team on social media and the spa website. How would you approach this job? What lighting setup, background, lens would you recommend for headshot? I shoot with Canon 7D, lens 50mm and 85mm, I have two speedlites 600ex-rt the westcott rapid box an umbrella and a reflector. I’m thinking of investing in the Westcott X-drop for a clean white background and easy to carry. Thank you for your great show!
We answer this in the episode.
How to shoot in low light
This topics was inspired by this post by Ian Oliver-Hulme.
Above: Shots by Ian Paul Oliver-Hulme
Ian said: “So I had my most challenging shoot this evening. It was at night, in a small garage, with new lighting gear. There was so much gym equipment and three bodies in there, It really pushed my limits and it was good to see that I’ve lots to improve on and I really felt that I took a lot away from the 30 minute session. It was shooting for a personal trainer’s social media page to attract more business. Let me know what you think!”
Low light portraits can be really tricky. It’s all about finding the right balance.
- A faster lens will give you more options when shooting in low light
- High end 50mm 1.2 or 85mm 1.2 ($2000+)
- Low end the nifty 50mm 1.8
Slow shutterspeed will allow you to shoot in lower light and pick up more ambient light like streetlights etc
- Pump up the ISO when shoot in low light.
- Sharp and grainy is better than soft and clean
What about noise?
Looks like grain in film photos. The image will have a courser texture and each pixel will appear more defined.
- I believe a tripod is essential for low light shoots
- Bean bags
- Fire hydrants
- Bracing techniques
Getting the exposure right in low light
- You can chimp and chimp here but I believe if you really want to nail the exposure on these kinds of images the best tool is a light meter.
- Think about what is the hero of your shot?
- Want it all? Expose -2 – + 2 and shoot HDR
- Dark room with mostly black your camera is going to want to expose for the “average”, which is equal to mid grey.
- Camera will overexpose the image. So compensate by closing down 1/1.5 stops
- Correctly expose for shadows
- Use a lower ISO
- Using fill Light
- Garage style lighting can be used here
Reflectors and cutters
- Grid spots create a very narrow light source
- Some studio lights can be focused to create a narrower or wider beam of light
- Control the spread of the flash manually
- Wide 24mm vs narrow 105mm
Flash light that can be focused
Continuous LED with barn doors
Above: In this image of Mimi Elashiry I exposed for the highlights and let the background “go” there is very little detail in the shadows. This look can be created using a higher f stop and faster shutter speed.
Above: In this image of race car driver Glouco Jnr Sorelli, I used a speedlight with the flash zoomed in to 105mm. This reduces the spread of light.
I also shot at a higher f stop and faster shutter speed to create a dark background.
Above: In this image of AFL footballer and NRL footballer for an editorial shoot I used A large softbox to recreate window light.
Above: Actor Alex Dimitriades shot using a grid spot.