Low light portraits are fantastic. The black and eerie background, the model’s expression with just enough ambient light passing through. Low light photographs communicate an aesthetic that is unbeatable and has the tenebrosity to lure you into the realm of ‘wickedness”. While the model may enjoy the process of getting clicked and expects an outcome of darkness combined with gloom, it is the photographer that has to do the heavy lifting of getting the perfect shot.
Here are the Key-Essentials for your next perfect low-light portrait:
Using the limited light to your advantage:
For an impactful and enticing click, it is crucial for you to choose your light sources carefully and make them work in your favour. Neon Signs, traffic signals, street lights, and fireworks can add the much-needed oomph to your low light image. A good rule of thumb to follow when using these light sources is to keep the temperature of the picture you would want in your mind. Neon signs are apt to give the picture a slight futuristic tone while street lights & fireworks may add warmth to the picture. Be clear in your head about the temperature of the light source as it would dictate the choices you would make when selecting your light sources.
Let ISO be your best pal:
Whether a beginner or intermediate, low-light photographs could be tricky and you might not get the expected results right away. Herein comes the role of ISO. Keep in mind these 3 fundamentals:
- Highest ISO
- Widest aperture
- Fastest Shutter Speed
Repeat after me, Highest, Widest and Fastest! Playing around with ISO and setting it as high as possible, given the noise levels are acceptable would enable you to click your shot with utmost ease and enough luminosity.
You need the widest aperture because, the wider the aperture, the more light passes through the lens, hence making your low-light shot a cakewalk.
Lower or faster shutter speed because of the overall effect it has on the exposure of the picture.
Sample Camera settings:
What good is a blog if it does not have a reference camera setting? You can start your low-light photography journey from these settings mentioned below and tweak accordingly.
- Camera Mode: Aperture Priority
- Aperture: f/2.8 or f/1.8
- ISO: 800 or 1000
- Shutter Speed: 1/80s or faster
The game of post-processing:
So, you have got the best shot? Well now is the time to embellish it and take it to 1000 if the picture that you have clicked is already a 100. Adobe lightroom could be your go-to software for post-processing of white balance, noise reduction and temperature tweaks.
As you post-process, do ensure that the white balance of the picture is given the most attention too, since imbalances in light tints would ruin the picture that you have taken. For some pictures, you might even have to fix certain picture spots to match the whole luminosity and colour hue of the picture.
As you embark on your journey of clicking your next best low light shot, keep in mind the tips shared above and you will do amazing!