Taking Photos in Low Light
December 19, 2007
The low tech version. Because I am *sure* that there are some real secrets about how to do it the “right” way. But I have no idea.
I know I promised that I was going to write about this. But then the more I thought about it, and thought about what I was going to write, the more I realized that I have no idea what I am talking about.
The extent of my advice is to stand very VERY still. I know. Aren’t you glad you waited for that?
If you have a tripod, which I don’t, use it.
In lieu of that look for places you can set the camera down to stabilize it.
Can’t do that? Tuck your elbows into your sides tight, exhale, and hold still. If the shutter is going very SLOW, like longer than a half a second, you will need to move yourself to a better location or turn on more lights, because it is physically impossible to hold the camera still enough.
I take many, many photos of the same scene. My decorating the Christmas tree photos are probably 100 blurry ones, 20 decent ones, and 4 really good ones. That ratio is not unusual for me.
This one I was very close to the tree and my son. Since there was not a lot of light in the room the shutter was VERY slow. Even using all my standing still and holding my breath techniques, there was not enough light.
But look what happens if you step back a few feet? Much more available light. The shutter speed is fast enough that standing still works. Then afterward you can crop the area that you want.
Not that I want this area of the above photo cropped, but I could:
Then there is the processing after the fact.
I am getting Photoshop for Christmas this year. But shhhh, don’t tell my husband he likes to be surprised at the gift he gives me. I am very excited by this.
But thus far I have used Picassa, which is a free download that allows you to crop, adjust color, highlights, etc.
So the same photo above becomes this:
Can you see the difference? It is subtle but I just sharpened it up a bit.
Can become this:
Don’t be afraid to focus the camera on your child and then ask them a question like, do you see yourself in that ornament? Stand like a statue and I bet you will see yourself. Then right when they are intently looking snap the photo.
Can become this:
And now I sort of feel like the wizard who had the curtain pulled back to reveal that it is all just smoke and mirrors and the big “secret” is standing like a statue.
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