Learning Activity – Shooting in Low-Light Conditions

16. October 2017 Uncategorised 0
Learning Activity – Shooting in Low-Light Conditions

Learning Activity – Shooting in Low-Light Conditions

Question 1

Written assignment                                              (4 hrs)
  1. Describe the steps that you will take to ensure that you take a high quality photograph in low light conditions. Refer to exposure, lenses, tripods, colour temperature, flash and ISO. Your answer should be a minimum of 350 words.

Question 2

Practical assignment                                          (1,5 days)
  1. Watch the Lynda course Foundations of Photography: Night and Low Light by Ben Long (4h 0m)
  2. Complete the exercise files (optional)
  3. Take four low-light photographs.
    • One should be a sharp photograph that focuses on a static object, like a building or statue.
    • The second photograph should showcase moving objects, like cars or running water.
    • For the third photograph, take a moody portrait of a friend and use high ISO settings to your advantage.
    • The fourth photograph should explore using external light sources, like a Speedlite flash. (Please note, if you don’t have the equipment to take this last photograph, you may leave it out.)

Due dates

This Learning Activity must be published on your WordPress blog by the end of the week at Sunday before midnight.

Please note:

You must complete 80% of the Learning Activities in order to pass this course.

Resources and equipment

  • Camera
  • External flash (if possible)
  • Objects and people to photograph
  • Tripod
  • Editing software of your choice

Question 1

To ensure that you take good photos in low light, it is important that you know your cameras functions. This is something you should practice, so that you know what settings to use, to accomplish your desired result. It is all about getting enough light, and keeping your camera steady. You can use your ISO to your advantage. The higher the ISO, the noisier the picture will get, but this can also set the mood in the photo, and not always be a bad thing. Rather a noisy picture with a lot of details, then a sharp image without details. When the ISO is low, the cameras sensor is not very sensitive to the light, but with a higher ISO, your camera can collect more light to get a better exposure.

You can use a slower shutter speed to take better photos in low light. But by doing this, you need to have your camera steady, preferably by a tripod. This is because when you shoot with slow shutter speed, then your camera gathers more light, and if your camera shakes then, it can ruin your photo. The camera needs to be steady while your shutter is open. You don’t necessary need a tripod; you can use a stable surface at hand. By doing this, it is a good idea to use a self-timer, or a remote. This is to avoid any instability when you hit the shutter button, to avoid shakes that can make your image blurry.

You should shoot in RAW if your camera allows you. Here is what I have written about RAW in a previous task: I always shoot pictures in RAW, and not in JPG format. I do this, because it gives me freedom to edit the pictures after words in Photoshop or Lightroom. Shooting in RAW versus JPG is that shooting in RAW you preserve much more of the information from the camera, and by doing this the camera will not compress or process the image. When I shoot in RAW format I get more control, and can do more editing after words like exposure and light balance. RAW format is much better when you are doing design inside for example InDesign, Photoshop etc. it is more suitable for print. You can enlarge the picture and still keep a good resolution, even bigger than the sensors on your camera. By shooting in RAW you get good contrast and sharpness when enlarging the image. After I shoot in RAW, and edited the photo in Photoshop.

When you shoot in low light, it is an advantage to use a wider aperture. This helps you gather more light. The better the lens you have, the lower the f-stop number you can use. By this it means: The wider the aperture, the lower the f/stop number. The smaller the aperture, the higher the f-stop number. You should invest in a good lens that gives you a wider aperture.

In the Lynda video we learned that we could by or make ourselves a white-balance card, this is to ensure that you get the white balance correct. This is something that you can buy in a photo store. This gives your camera information about the whitest area there is, by doing this you prevent wrong color, blue’ish and cold color, or usually the pictures in low light gets very yellow/orange. So this will help you set the balance correct. And, when you take pictures in low light, and your camera can’t focus, turn on your flashlight on your phone, or find the nearest light part, let your camera focus on that, and then you can take the shoot. If your try to focus your camera without doing this, your searcher will keep working and working, and not be set. If you are going to shoot photos in weddings that are usually inside then you can use an external light source, like a flash.


Question 2

I have watched the Lynda course with Ben Long. This was a really good learning video.


I have chosen to use ISO 100, since this brings less noise to the image. The con by shooting with so low ISO in low light, is that you have to hold your camera very steady, or have it on a tripod. 

ISO: 100
Lens: 30mm

ISO: 100
Lens: 18-105MM

ISO: 100
Lens: 30mm

ISO: 4000
Lens: 30mm

I have a speedligth flash, but it is broken, so I have that on my wishing list, so I can start experimenting more with external light.