LA- Shooting in low light conditions

Question 1 (Written Assignment)

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.

To take a high quality photograph in low light conditions is a difficult task, given that there is little light for your lense to work with. The process might become longer, you will need extra aiding elements and there can be a lot of waiting time involved. It is also often colder to work in the night, so it is important that you come prepared and know what to do when you are surrounded by darkness.

Exposure time is an important first step. When you use higher exposures you open the sensor to light for a longer time and allow it to collect more light, resulting in better and clearer photographs. There is however a drawback from using this method, you will get a lot of camera shake. Here is where other camera accessories as the tripod become useful. The tripod will stabilise the camera and prevent camera shake so that the sensor can focus on collecting the light that is framed.  When using high exposures, any movement can affect the photograph, even you pressing the button, use the self timer to prevent such unwanted movements. It is also important that you do not use your camera stabilisation when using your tripod.

Blurriness is not always bad, you can create a lot of interesting effects with moving objects and a long exposure, if you plan it well. Sometimes the camera can let inn too much light and the blurring effect can get lost. A polarizer filter can be of good help in moments like this.

Another advantage while shooting in the dark is to have a lens with a high aperture, this lens collects more light and allow you to shoot clearer photographs, or have have a faster shutter speed. Zoom lenses can be good, but are often reduced in quality when you zoom in with them, because the maximum aperture becomes smaller while you zoom. So, they become less useful while shooting in the dark.

Another important feature to use is the ISO setting. Higher ISOs make the sensor more sensible to light and allow you to take clearer photographs, the problem is that the photos can get more granny because the sensor is more sensible to other particles in the air. This can be a bad thing for some photographs, but for others it can add a nice touch.

The last thing, that would be the first in mind for a lot of people is to use the camera flash, but this feature can cast harsh shadows and an unpleasant harsh blue light so it is best avoided.

To summarize, you can take a high-quality photograph in low light conditions by using a longer shutter speed, using a tripod and a polarizer filter, using higher apertures and experimenting with your ISO.

Question 2 (Practical Assignment)

  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.

To take this picture, I placed my camera on the tripod and since I wanted a clear picture, my ISO was at its lowest, my aperture f/14 to get a lot of detail, and my shutter speed at 30sec so I could get enough light. This high exposure time resulted in an interesting effect of light painting caused by all of the cars passing by. It also erased all the people who were moving in front of the picture.


  • The second photograph should showcase moving objects, like cars or running water.

I also took this picture using a tripod. My settings were:

aperture: f/9

Shutter speed: 30s

ISO: 100



  • For the third photograph, take a moody portrait of a friend and use high ISO settings to your advantage.

I took these while I was out in town at night shooting, and I felt they fitted well here. I used high ISOs on both on them and a fast shutter speed since they where handheld.

  • IMG_9197kirkeIMG_9161kirke



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