Shooting low light scenes

Capturing beautiful photos in natural light during this time of the year might be a bit challenging. Here in Sweden, where I live, November and December is a very dark period.

When I first started out with photography I tried different ways to be able to shoot during this dark time. I tried to turn the lights on in the room I was shooting. I used the built-in flash on my camera. I even purchased an external flash to mount on my camera. But still, I wasn’t happy with my photos.

The external flash worked for some rare cases but the artificial light (especially when it came from above) made my photos really ugly!

Shooting when dark

Along the way, I learned how to work with natural light in dark indoor settings so let me share a few tips for that.

Turn off any artificial light

The first thing I do when I’m shooting indoors is to turn off any artificial light in the room. Different light sources have different temperatures/colors. The light from a light bulb is a bit red, while natural light is bluer. Having a more consistent color temperature in the photo will lead to a much more compelling shot.

Set your camera on a tripod

Using a tripod is always a good idea, but when it’s dark it’s even more important since we don’t want the camera to shake when the shutter button is pressed.

Adjust the camera settings to TV-mode

In the “TV”-mode (or “S” on some cameras) you can manually select the shutter speed while the camera automatically adjusts the aperture for you. Select a long shutter speed (1 second or more if you have a still subject) so the camera sensor can gather a lot of light.

Use a relatively high ISO

Select a pretty high ISO, somewhere around 1600 depending on your camera.

Select the 2 seconds self-timer

Set the self-timer to 2 or 10 seconds to avoid that the camera shakes when you press the shutter button.

Camera Settings Shutter Speed

Press the shutter button

Time to press the shutter button, or even better, use a remote control if you have that! With a remote control you have even greater control over camera shake.

Canon Remote Control

Try this setup next time you’re tempted to turn on the lights! Comment below and let me know how it worked out for you!

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