Photographically Speaking: Shooting Indoors and in Low Light

kevin-thumbnailGetting quality photographs indoors and in low light conditions can be a challenge.  One option is to use the built in flash on your camera but this has a short distance where it is effective.  Other drawbacks with the built in flash is that it creates harsh shadows and often will over expose parts of faces causing “white patches” on the skin.

We have explored the options in previous weeks of opening up the aperture, but that gives us a shallow depth of field with regards to the areas of the photograph that are in focus.  I also discussed increasing the I.S.O. setting, however we know that the downside to this is increased noise in the photo.

Professional photographers never use built in flashes, in fact professional camera bodies do not even have built in flashes.  Occasionally they will attach a flash to their camera, but normally use their flashes off camera through the use of radio trigger controls.  This of course is an expensive option that most amateur photographers cannot afford. So what can the average amateur photographer to indoors to get better quality photographs?

One of my favorite “tricks” is to use window light. When doing portraits, try positioning your subject near a window with the light from the window illuminating your subject.  You can also position a “reflector” of some sort on the side of the subject opposite the window.  A white bed sheet will work as a reflector very well.  Inexpensive reflectors can be purchased on sites like ebay or bid-or-buy for relatively low cost and are invaluable.  A 5 in 1 reflector can be used to diffuse harsh sunlight or reflect sunlight.  Another good reflector is those automobile windscreen shades that have the reflective silver surface on the one side. If your window light is too harsh it can also be softened with the use of a white bed sheet as well.

These are just a few examples of how to manipulate light on a low budget in low lighting conditions.  These same examples can be used outdoors when shooting in the shade.

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