Shooting in low light can be a scary, scary thing. Most of us prefer nice sunny days, our viewing screens filled with as much natural light as possible. But there are times when this simply isn't the reality. There's no windows. It's 10pm at night. You're at a concert and have to work quickly to make the shots as hot as possible. Yes, these situations can be tricky but here is some advice so you can focus on your subject vs the lighting hurdles.
Grab your phone because it’s time to try these tips!
1. Adjust your exposure in Camera Mode
Tap the iPhone camera screen on the dark areas to boost up your exposure of the image. It’ll brighten things up! Like a DSLR camera adjusting its settings, the more light will be exposed to the sensor, allowing you the most light into your camera as possible.
2. Add more lighting
How many photographers does it take to move a light bulb? ONE AND IT'S YOU. Grab a lamp nearby and light like you had a studio of lamps! No one will see that library-style desk lamp that you're awkwardly holding three inches away from your subject, just out of frame. Get weird! You can always send me some behind the scenes photos of your wildest lighting, I'd love to see how creative you can get!
3. Shoot somewhere brighter
If you are shooting indoors with low light and it's during the daytime, take the subject outside or pull some of those still life's to a picnic table outdoors. Move somewhere where there is more light. If you are in the center of a dark room during day time try your setups next to a window and let light flood over your subject all pretty-like.
4. Smooth with a filter
I use the VSCOcam app and love their editing features. You can adjust your “clarity” if the image looks a bit too grainy. Also, feel free to sharpen things or change to black and white in VSCOcam. Black and white photography has a long lineage of being grainy and offering wonderful contrast for low-lit situations.
5. If it can wait, then wait
What is this, a candlelit dinner date? No, it's a photograph! Can it wait until morning or tomorrow afternoon for you to shoot the perfect iPhone image? If it can, go ahead and wait. Your audience will be here when you’re ready.
6. Embrace it
The truth is, I LOVE the drama of low light. If you only have one source of light at your disposal, try some new things! Photograph at a striking angle. Change your position. Try the photo with different subjects in the light and out of the light. Explore silhouettes. Now is your chance to be expressive! Shoot within your comfort zone but don't be afraid of challenging yourself with low light. I dare ya.
[Special thanks to The Kevin Hayden Band for allowing Dakota Lenox Photography to shoot their group shots and behind the scenes of their show.]