Shooting in the dark not only brings its own set of unique challenges for the photographer, but the final results of these challenges can be extremely pleasing to look at. Slower shutter speeds due to low light bring on great light-trails, light painting, creative subject lighting techniques, and so much more.
However, having a sturdy tripod is key to many of these techniques. So what do you do if you do not have a tripod on hand to shoot in a low light situation? A few ways to rectify this situation include:
1. Crank up the ISO on your camera. Turning up the ISO on your camera is the first thing you can do to compensate for the lack of light. Bumping up the ISO setting allows your camera sensor to take in more of the available light, thus allowing for faster shutter speeds and smaller apertures. This makes it easier to reduce, if not eliminate, all signs of camera shake in your end photos.
Turning this setting up does come with a bit of caution. The higher you set your ISO, the more noise you will end up with. Cameras continue to get better at reducing the amount of noise at high ISO settings, but it is not perfect. This is particularly noticeable if you are producing an HDR image as the graininess really comes out when you stack multiple exposures. Do some test shots to see what acceptable ISO levels you have on your camera.
If you want that extra bit of light, try opening up your aperture a bit. This may give you a shallower depth of field, but it can sometimes mean the difference in upping your ISO setting just one more notch. This is a preference that you can only determine through testing various combinations and evaluating the end results. Read More→