Don't Be Afraid To Shoot Without Flash In Low Light

Scottish photojournalist Harry Benson, who's captured some amazing frames of The Beatles, world leaders and world events, gives the New York Times his best tip for shooting at night or in low natural light.

He doesn't lighten or otherwise touch his photos with image editors, and his secret to shooting in low light is simple:

Don't be afraid. You'll be surprised just how good your photos will be. Make sure there is some light on your subject's face. But be brave about it. The thing about is that I've been awakened to see just what digital cameras can do in low-light situations. It digs right into spaces that I never thought a camera could penetrate.

The post offers a few nitty-gritty details for manual-settings types, but he's right — the best photographs I've seen from parties, weddings and news events come from shooters who simply stand steady, shoot what they can frame and shoot a lot.

How to Take Better Low-Light Photos [Gadgetwise Blog/]


    I hate flash (and Flash, going with the HTML5 theme for the week) photography. And I think this is great advice, BUT, you need a decent low-light capable camera to get a nice shot.
    Mine, a Canon 720IS, simply isn't good enough for a decent shot in dimmer settings, there's lots of noise from the sensor. I doubt many compacts are very good at this, SLR's with their bigger sensors will, as ever, do a much better job.
    I just can't justify the pricetag (even secondhand) for a device I use so irregularly!

    Most people claim they can't turn off the flash on their cameras... until I show them the little flash toggle button that's on every camera.

    A stupid woman sat in front of me at a recent concert,attempting to take pictures of the concert, but really just taking brilliantly lit pictures of the back of the head of the person in front of her.

    I leant over and told her to turn off the flash so that a) the pictures were decent; and b) she wasn't irritating everyone around her.

    She sat silently for two minutes and then resumed photographing necks.

    I tend to agree and disagree at the same time with these comments... If you have the capability of using your flash and you know some good techniques to get more natural looking light I would say stick to that rather as after all photography is the capture of light... if you have a poor light source chances are you will get a poor picture... if your light source is better or it’s possible to improve it always do so as you will get better quality shots... having said that obviously it’s not always possible but when you can always get as much light as you can on your subjects I think...

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