Photography Tips for Low Light

When you are a photographer, you have to figure out a way to work with the best visual scenarios that you have.

And while you might be able to control the elements inside a studio, artists who prefer to take their shot outside have many other things to factor in. One specific area that needs to be considered for is the level of light.

Photography Tips for Low Light - Studio Set Up - Shootfactory

Low Lighting Tips

Don’t Force Flash

In dark situations, most novice photographers will immediately go to turn the flash on. After all, if you dont have light, then the flash adds that to a photograph. However, in many cases the flash isn’t always the best way to go. Instead, a flash can cause light to reflect awkwardly off of surfaces and cause weird reflections into your picture. This also makes room for more shadows on both people and surfaces. In order to avoid this from happening, don’t feel obligated to immediately turn the flash of your camera on. Instead consider the natural light and how you can use it.

Raise The Aperture

One way to make the most of your setting without having to turn the flash on is by opening the aperture much wider. With a larger aperture, more light will enter the lens and make for better lighting in the photograph. Keeping in mind that your aperture is measured in f-stop values, try and keep your numbers around f-8 or f-4. These lower numbers will allow you to let maximum light into your camera, without having to use the flash.

Increase ISO

Many cameras now have the technology to automatically increase the ISO to help with light conditions in a room. After all, not everyone is a seasoned photographer who knows how to take better photos in a dark space. While most casual photographers would leave their ISO on automatic, maybe because they don’t know otherwise, you should consider increasing the ISO higher. Since ISO measures how sensitive the film is to the light, it doesn’t hurt to go upwards of values of 800 or more. In some cases, it doesn’t hurt to put your ISO as high as it will go on your camera, and then work your way backwards to see what is best for your specific lighting situation. However, don’t plan to keep your ISO low, unless you want muggy photos that are hard to decipher what the image is of.

Take Control

If you are taking photos as you run through a cemetery at night while hoping to catch photos of ghosts, it may be a bit hard to keep your camera steady. However, in most other situations, keep in mind that a steady hand where you are in control will allow for you to take better photographs. This is because the more steady your photos are, the less disruption with light, or lack there of, is in your photo. A steady hand will allow for your photos to be more focused on the details that you are shooting on camera. You can take photos with better stability by keeping your elbows tucked into your body, which will naturally reduce shaking. Also, consider holding smaller lenses with your thumb and forefinger, and larger lenses in your hands like a cradle. In both cases, your camera should have better stability when taking the photos.


If you hope to take award-winning photographs in dark settings right off the bat, you are in for a rude awakening. Taking great photos in low light settings is difficult and takes plenty of practice. Luckily, unless you live on the sun, you get plenty of opportunities every single day to take photos in low light settings. Practice with artificial low light, such as in a room with limited light. But also consider heading outside when the sun has gone down and the natural setting consists of less light as well. This multi-level approach will add variety to what you are prepared for in low light situations. Taking photographs in low light is certainly a challenge. However it’s not impossible.


Related Articles