How to Capture Great Photos in Low Light

Shooting low light photography can be incredibly. It requires you to use new skills that go beyond your camera’s Auto Mode.

Sounds intimidating, But don’t worry. We’ll show you the camera settings, extra gear, and techniques you need to capture great photos in the dark.

Types of Low Light

Visible

These are the dark areas you’ll find in the daytime. Shadows created by large buildings or trees can be down to -2 stops of light than the well-lit areas.

Low Light

After sunset, areas may still be visible, yet too dark to capture.

Dark

This is when only the brightest objects are visible at night-time.

Use a Slow Shutter Speed for Low Light Photos

So how do you shoot in low light? It all starts with shutter speed, which helps determines the amount of time light can enter the camera. The lower your setting, the more light will come into your sensor.

But a slow shutter speed also causes motion blur, especially without a tripod.

So how do you take with a sharp photo with low light?

As a rule of thumb, the average person can take a sharp, blur-free image by setting the speed to a fraction of the focal length.

For example, to take a photo at 30mm, you would set the shutter speed to 1/30 of a second. Any slower and motion blur is likely to occur.

It’s worth noting that this rule is only relevant to full-frame cameras. If you use the same 30mm lens on a crop sensor, you’ll need to use 1/45th of a second instead of 1/30th due to your sensor’s crop factor.

Image Stabilization Allows You to Drop Your Shutter Speed Down

When it’s dark, sometimes 1/30th or 1/40th of a second wouldn’t suffice to capture correctly exposed pictures. But at the same time, going any slower also causes motion blur.

So how do you solve this issue when hand holding a camera? The answer is ‘image stabilization‘.

Even third-party manufacturers make lenses that reduce camera shake. Not all lenses have this feature, but most kit lenses come with it.

Image stabilization is so effective that it can allow up to 4.5 stops of compensation. In other words, it lets you shoot at 1/15th of a second or lower without motion blur.

This impressive feature works best in conditions with visible light.

Find ways to stabilize Your Camera Without a Tripod

If you are capturing a low-lit scene and do not have a tripod, a few methods help keep your images well exposed and sharp.

One is to stabilize your camera by using your camera strap around your neck. Making it taught allows you to minimize camera shake.

To add additional stability, you can also rest your back against a wall. Doing so eliminates even the slightest movement you make while shooting.

But the best solution is to set your camera on a table or a ledge to ensure it doesn’t move while you’re taking photos.

These techniques work best in low light conditions.

Use a Tripod for Shutter Speeds Lower Than 1/60

The techniques I showed you on how to avoid motion blur when shooting handheld aren’t foolproof. Even a slight camera shake from your hands can ruin our shot.

So if you don’t want to take any chances, just use a tripod. And always bring it any time you want to shoot some low light photography.