It’s that time of the year again ! Costume parties , haunted attractions, carved pumpkins and the perfect opportunity to show off your low light photography skills using a high quality camera. Just a few variables to tweak. Once you know how to manage shutter speed, ISO settings, flash settings and long exposure tripod settings, you’ll hold the crown for beautifully capturing memories this holiday. So let’s get to it!
Low light settings are important!
One thing you won’t expect at a Halloween party is high luminosity. Even with the best 4k camera, you will have to adjust the apertures and film speed to compliment the low light settings. And how do you do that? First increase the ISO to 1000 and decrease the aperture as much as possible, usually till f/3.5. This will allow the camera to easily focus on the subjects
Adjust the shutter speed
You’ve got to get your hands dirty for this. If your camera’s shutter speed is slower than 1/60 sec., image blur is imminent. The faster your lens is the lighter it’ll gather. The best lens for group photos this holiday will have larger aperture diameters giving you the advantage to lower your ISO settings eliminating most of the noise from your click. Remember, always lighter!
More ISO !
Halloween parties aren’t static. Precious moments exist momentarily and tweaking the ISO to just the right amount is crucial. Now we agreed just a second ago that lowering your ISO settings will reduce the image noise with more light entering the sensor but it comes at a cost of lower shutter speeds. For immediate captures, try bumping up the shutter speed from ISO 400 to ISO 700. There does exist a perfect balance between shutter speeds and image noise
Flash flash flash !
Test your flash settings before hand because you’re going to need it! Natural light and Halloween parties don’t go hand in hand. Let’ say you have set your camera to auto or night portrait mode, just gently press the shutter halfway and the flash will activate. To fire the flash, you’ll have to fully press the shutter. And for those of you who will be using your camera’s manual exposure modes to take a picture, activate the pop-up flash with a button on the front side of your camera
But be very careful. Harsh light is an enemy for a great picture. You’ll have to soften the flash. A very handy trick for this is to use a tissue paper and place it Infront of the flash. For those of you who have heavily invested in buying one of the best vlogging cameras, you have the additional option of fine tuning the flash. Your camera must have the Fill Flash red eye reduction setting that’ll automatically adjust flash luminosity in low light settings. Perks, right?
Keeping the camera shutter open just a few moments longer makes all the difference in low light photography. In order to achieve a great image in the dark you absolutely have to keep steady! Use a tripod, lean against a wall or a tree but don’t let that camera shake!
Hands down, there’s nothing better than long exposures using tripod. If you do have access to a stabilizer, you can afford to have slower shutter speeds. This not only increases the light entering your lens but also allows you to have more flexibility with ISO and other settings to have sharper images with less noise in low light environments
Auto focus and burst mode
The more, the merrier right? It definitely applies here. Burst mode helps you by snapping multiple pictures in one shutter depress. The more pictures you taken, the higher chances you have of getting that perfect shot with a balance between lighting and sharpness. This helps a lot in dynamic settings, especially for Halloween parties where movement and light are on opposite sides of the spectrum
But there’s more to the story. High quality cameras with top-of-the-line camera lens allow you to set multiple focus points giving you the perfect exposure for a perfect capture by balancing the variety of light and color requirements especially when you need the best group pictures. But the story is different in low light environments, the camera lens is focused on more luminous environments. Having multiple focus points in low light environments can ruin the result of your picture. With single point autofocus you give your camera the autonomy to choose the focus of your capture based on luminosity averaging the best image for all the faces in one click. You already bought the best camera for group photos, now let your camera do the work for you
Honorary mentions: Some Photography tips and tricks
Low lighting can make your pictures look washed out, lacking color and details but you can avoid this by customizing the settings of your cameras white balance. This will allow your camera to capture colors as closely as possible and eliminate that annoying yellow and orange shade pictures taken in low light have
Let’s say you’re not in the mood to touch your camera’s white balance settings, you can always go for black and white pictures. Gets rid of color issues and gives you a good spooky nostalgic picture
Always prefer RAW files over JPEG. They give you an advantage of creating higher quality and sharper images with a wide range of post processing options
Remember that any picture can be edited. This doesn’t mean the pictures you take in low light environments can drastically get better post editing but you can definitely adjust the image noise, contrast, brightness, shadows, sharpness etc. Do remember that transitioning from a good to great picture post editing is always much easier than starting off with a bad click
You’re basically prepared to be the star low light photographer. A combination of all the small but effective lessons learnt plus the best camera and lens you have will steal the show. Let’s recap what we’ve learnt so far
Firstly, adjust the low light settings in your camera, you will need to balance the ratio between the shutter speed and the ISO of your camera. Adjust it according to the environment you’re taking the picture in.
Keeping your camera steady makes all the difference, use a tripod.
Flash settings will add the light you need to take a crisp click, make sure you don’t overdo it. Auto focus is your friend in low light environments, let the camera decide what the focus of the picture should be, they come highly trained. The more pictures you have the better, actively use burst mode in dynamic environments. Adjust the white balance in your photos to have a great color palette. Always prefer RAW files over JPEGS, more post click editing options and better images overall. Sometimes no matter how much you try , the lighting isn’t perfect for a click, use black and white filters, it’s why they exist. And remember to get a great click, photo editing software always got your back to undo the human error in each click.
And to quote the best, “Photography is an art of teleporting the past into the present”. Don’t forget to leave the emotion out of the picture, it’s where the emotion lies and it’s what differentiates the mediocre click from the great ones
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