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Join photographer and teacher Ben Long as he describes the tools, creative options, and special considerations involved in shooting with a DSLR camera at night or in low-light conditions, such as sunset or candlelight. The course addresses exposure decisions such as choice of aperture and shutter speed and how they impact depth of field and the camera's ability to freeze motion.
Ben also shows how to obtain accurate color balance in tungsten and fluorescent lighting situations, and how to postprocess the images in Photoshop to remove noise caused by higher ISO settings. He also demonstrates accessories that can greatly expand your low-light photography options.
(cross talk) By now, you should be pretty aware that the big problem you're going to face in low light is simply blurry images. When the light gets low, your shutter speed slows down, and it becomes much harder to freeze motion, and you introduce the problem of camera shake. There are a lot of different things you can do to try and mitigate that. Steve, you're very excited about your VR lens. Steve: I am. You know, VR is a technology that really has enabled you to get sharp images, hand holding at slower shutter speeds. And even though we've upped our ISO, mine a little higher than yours, the shutter speed that I'm shooting at is still not one that I'm convinced movement will not be introduced by the camera. Obviously VR lenses that stabilize and allow you to shoot at slow shutter speeds by keeping the camera very safe with the VR mechanism, it won't freeze movement of your subjects, but it'll keep your camera shake from causing blur. And blur is often a dealbreaker in a photo.
Sometimes it can add to the atmosphere of the situation and it's okay. But often, it will take away. So you don't necessarily want it. So VR is just one other technological tool that we can use to make sure that we keep our images sharp. Ben: And I think in a situation like this, you can also even just start employing more brute-force techniques. These are all people I know. They know that I'm here. It's okay to get my elbows on the table and really stabilize the lens any way that I can. This is probably not the case where I want to start dragging out a tripod or something.
I want to say moving. I want to stay flexible. I don't want to disrupt the dinner too much by dragging much gear around. So that's another case where VR or IS, if you're a cannon shooter, can be a really great way to take care of camera shake. But them there is motion blur. There is the fact that our shutter speeds are low enough that these people are moving around, and as the evening wears on, they're moving around more. What can we do to try and mitigate that problem? Steve: Well, if you're forced to use a shutter speed that maybe isn't as fast as you want, one of the things that I often do is I'll do a burst of images.
Because if I know I'm at, let's say, 60th, 30th of a second and I take a bunch of image in sequence, I will put my shooting mode into a continuous high, and often one of those frames is going to be best. One of them is going to be sharpest, and sometimes it takes shooting a little more, especially when you're forced to shoots in low-available-light situations, where something's are not as good as you want, in terms of fast shutter speeds that freeze the movement. Ben: I think another option is to intentionally underexpose.
If I meter the scene and it's coming out of the fiftieth of a second, I can dial in a -1 stop exposure compensation and probably both my shutter speed up a little bit. My image is going to be dark, but another advantage of these great low-light sensors is that I can go into my image editor and crank up the brightness and probably not suffer a terrible noise penalty, and that's going to get my shutter speed up a little bit. So these are all a few different techniques you can try to help deal with the fact that people in your scene are going to be moving around.
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