Photographers frequently battle the persistent issue of low light as many believe low light limits the quality of the image they are trying to capture. But in actuality, low light can be used to your advantage. Low light can help you explore techniques and discover a new way to portray your subject. Low light photography can create images with a sense of depth and drama. With the right equipment and techniques you can capture sharp images or even movement, creating unique perspective to images in your portfolio.
To create the best low light images possible, you need the right equipment that will allow you to perform the technical requirements of these images. You should have a camera where you can make adjustments to the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. Since most of your images will be shot with a very slow shutter speed, be sure you have a tripod so you can minimize unintentional blur. You will also need a variety of filters. Ensure you have access to a 8 or 10 stop Neutral Density filter, Regular Neutral Density Filter, and a Polarizing filter.
Most photographers understand that lighting limitations require slower shutter speeds. They also understand the slower the shutter speed, the more likely it will be to capture unintentional blur. But it is also an opportunity to easily create blurred images. You can do thus by slowing down the shutter speed to more than a second and adding a bit of camera movement. Low light accentuates movement so you may need to experiment when creating blur before you get the image just right.
You can also capture movement happening within the image easily when you have low light conditions. It is best to capture movement when it is against a stationary background because of the contrast it provides to the image. You may need to reduce the aperture level to help capture the movement. Filters can also help in capturing low light movement. Using 8 and 10 stop filters or a polarizing filter can help to further limit light and help capture the movement.
If blurred images are not what you are looking for, there are techniques you can use to create sharp images. You should use a shutter speed at least as fast as the focal length of your lens. You should also be sure to use your tripod to eliminate any unwanted shake from holding the camera. You can also increase the ISO so you can set a faster shutter speed. Aim for an ISO between 800 and 1600. But consider the presentation method for your final image. An image on a website can have a higher ISO than a printed image. Experiment with these techniques the next time you are faced with low light and you may find a new creative medium for your photographs as well as a better understanding of photographic techniques.