My camera takes great pictures in most lighting situations, but I get blurry and/or noisy photos when there’s not a lot of light. Do you know how I can take better low-light photos without spending a bunch of money?
Shooting In the DarkMusic by Gold’n Teasdale
Check out the video above if you don’t like to read, and it’ll explain everything I’m about to get into. If you do like to read, then keep reading!
There are a bunch of things you can do if you want to improve your low light photography, even if you don’t have a fancy DSLR. Since you didn’t specify, we’ll talk about both.
Get a Fast Lens
A fast lens refers to a lens with a wide aperture. The wider your aperture, the more light it lets in, so that’s good if you don’t have much light. The downside of a wide aperture — which may be an upside in some situations — is that you have a very shallow depth of field. This is great if you want a shallow depth of field, but it means that you can end up with photos that are easily out of focus if you’re not careful. If you’re using a point and shoot, this isn’t a very helpful tip because your lens is attached — you can’t buy a faster one. If you’re using a DSLR, however, faster lenses are easy to come by and you can pick them up on the cheap. The cheapest lens for pretty much any DSLR is a 50mm prime lens (prime basically means that it doesn’t zoom). You can generally find these for under $US100 with an aperture of f/1.8. Aperture is rated by f-stops, and the lower that number is the wider the aperture. In most cases, an aperture of f/1.8 is as wide as you want to go because f/1.8 at 50mm provides a very shallow depth of field. You’ll let in plenty of light this way and can get some beautiful photos in low-light conditions.
Reduce Your Shutter Speed
Bump Up Your ISO
Use Your Flash Effectively
Hopefully these tips will help you take better photos in low light. If you want to take a deeper dive into low light photography, Lisa Bettany’s new show Mostly Photo has an episode on low light photography with several more tips and lots of detail.