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What can you shoot in low light?

From: Foundations of Photography: Night and Low Light

Video: What can you shoot in low light?

Very often, you know what the subject you want to shoot is, but light levels in the scene are low enough that getting the shot can be difficult. For example, a holiday dinner with your family, you know you want to shoot your relatives and maybe the food, but the room is lit only by candles. With that low light level, it's going to be hard to freeze motion and get a sharp image. We will be looking at how to handle those situations later in this course. But low light isn't always a problem. If you know how to work with it, low light can open up new photographic possibilities.

What can you shoot in low light?

Very often, you know what the subject you want to shoot is, but light levels in the scene are low enough that getting the shot can be difficult. For example, a holiday dinner with your family, you know you want to shoot your relatives and maybe the food, but the room is lit only by candles. With that low light level, it's going to be hard to freeze motion and get a sharp image. We will be looking at how to handle those situations later in this course. But low light isn't always a problem. If you know how to work with it, low light can open up new photographic possibilities.

Now it's a fairly obvious statement to say that the world looks very different at night or in very low light. But let's think for a minute about why it looks different. First, with less light, some things are simply less visible. Now that can really change where your eye is drawn to in an image. In other words, in low light, the subject of a scene may shift dramatically simply because of what's visible. During the day we mostly live by sunlight. When the sun goes down other light sources take over and those light sources are not always so high overhead.

This change in the direction of lighting can lead to very different textures in a scene. What's more, they can have a heavy influence on what the subject of the scene is, and very often this different type of lighting can be an interesting subject in itself. Finally, the type of lighting you get in low-light situations or at nighttime can simply create plays of light and shadow that do not exist in the daytime: reflections, highlights, interesting shadows, splashes of light. There can be all sorts of light features that don't appear in the same scene under brighter light.

So honing your low-light skills offers not just the ability to capture images that can be difficult; as you learn to shoot in low light, you should find yourself discovering shooting opportunities that you simply had not seen before, possibly in locations that you are already familiar with. Learning to shoot in low light is as much about learning to see differently and recognize a different type of subject matter as it is learning any particular technical process. And that makes the study of low-light shooting a worthwhile pursuit, no matter how much you ultimately end up doing it.

Because the more you can learn about seeing, the better all of your photography will be.

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This video is part of

Image for Foundations of Photography: Night and Low Light
Foundations of Photography: Night and Low Light

55 video lessons · 37322 viewers

Ben Long
Author

 
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  1. 2m 27s
    1. Welcome
      2m 27s
  2. 6m 20s
    1. What can you shoot in low light?
      2m 17s
    2. What you need for this course
      4m 3s
  3. 28m 54s
    1. Working with exposure parameters in low light
      1m 13s
    2. Working with image sensors in low light
      4m 35s
    3. Working with shutter speed in low light
      3m 3s
    4. Considering motion blur
      1m 14s
    5. Working with ISO in low light
      2m 29s
    6. Assessing your camera's high ISO capability
      4m 52s
    7. Working with in-camera noise reduction
      2m 4s
    8. Working with aperture in low light
      2m 10s
    9. Understanding dynamic range
      2m 2s
    10. Working with color temperature and white balance
      1m 11s
    11. Exposing to the right
      4m 1s
  4. 34m 39s
    1. Introduction
      1m 36s
    2. Talking with Steve Simon about low-light photography
      13m 46s
    3. Shooting by candlelight
      1m 55s
    4. Choosing a mode
      4m 34s
    5. Exploring the role of lens stabilization
      3m 1s
    6. White balance considerations
      3m 27s
    7. Flash considerations
      1m 18s
    8. Problem solving
      1m 35s
    9. Understanding aesthetics and composition
      3m 27s
  5. 30m 4s
    1. Introduction
      2m 20s
    2. Preparing for the shoot
      5m 25s
    3. Act I: adjusting to the light
      3m 48s
    4. Intermission: reviewing the strategy
      1m 53s
    5. Act II: moving to the back of the house
      2m 35s
    6. After the show: lessons learned
      1m 18s
    7. Reviewing the performance images
      12m 45s
  6. 19m 18s
    1. Shooting in the shade
      2m 55s
    2. Street shooting
      2m 52s
    3. Shooting flash portraits at night
      4m 5s
    4. Controlling flash color temperature
      2m 50s
    5. Adjusting exposure to preserve the mood
      2m 34s
    6. Dynamic range considerations
      4m 2s
  7. 41m 0s
    1. Shooting lingering sunsets
      1m 42s
    2. Exploring focusing strategies
      5m 17s
    3. Composing and focusing at night
      10m 42s
    4. Shooting the stars
      9m 27s
    5. Practicing low-light landscape shooting
      9m 55s
    6. Focusing on the horizon in low light
      3m 57s
  8. 13m 4s
    1. Light painting: behind the camera
      7m 34s
    2. Light painting: in front of the camera
      2m 13s
    3. Manipulating long shutter speeds
      3m 17s
  9. 1h 4m
    1. Correcting white balance
      8m 49s
    2. Correcting white balance with a gray card
      3m 50s
    3. Correcting white balance of JPEG images
      2m 0s
    4. Blending exposures with different white balances
      7m 13s
    5. Brightening shadows
      9m 8s
    6. Reducing noise
      7m 44s
    7. Sharpening
      9m 14s
    8. Correcting depth-of-field issues
      9m 32s
    9. Correcting night skies
      6m 39s
  10. 53s
    1. Goodbye
      53s

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