When I was only just beginning photography, I decided to look up the definition of photography. As I remember, photography comes from two Greek words “photos” (light) and “graphos” (to write). So once I’d understood photography from it’s routes “write with light”, I instantly realized the importance of having excellent light sources when taking pictures.
As I had progressed in the field of photography I did have some initial great success with capturing daytime pictures, but as the sun was going down, my pictures seemed to look worse and worse, and I soon realized that I didnít actually know how to shoot great images without an effective light source.
I often found myself taking bad pictures indoors too, especially when my subject was covered by shadows, and similar to outdoors conditions when the sun was going down. So If you like me really want to pursue photography, as a hobby or as a profession, you will be encountering such poor lighting instances, but as not all low light situations are the same, we will need to explore the essence of light a bit more.
It goes without saying that everyone starts photograhy as a newbie and somehow most of the people I know did have the same problem when they first started out learning about photography, ie: they didnít know how to take amazing pictures in low light conditions. But, every skill can be learned with a little patience, practice, and some knowledge, so to save you time from having to find out what you will need to know, I have put together the following light pointers, which certainly helped me to get on course.
So, letís get a bit technical… this is the worst part of learning digital photography, the technical terms. But don’t worry; I will simplify it as much as I can. Anyway, I’m assuming that you have already read your camera manual and that you do know how to adjust the settings in manual mode. You will need to learn them eventually, so why not start now, right? It will certainly help you to explore the settings that your camera already has built-in to help poor light senarios.
First, a look at Aperture
Aperture is the size of the opening of the lens. A bigger opening introduces more light. If the aperture is smaller, less light will enter hence the image will be darker. Aperture is measured in “f-stops” and you will see that there are f/numbers like f/22, f/16/, f/8, f/5.6, or f/2.8. A bigger aperture is represented by a small f/number so f/2.8 is a bigger aperture. A smaller aperture is represented by a big f/number like f/22. In short, f/2.8 is bigger than f/22. I know itís a bit confusing but eventually youíll get used to it. Having a bigger aperture will produce brighter images while a smaller aperture will do the opposite.
Understanding Shutter Speed
To understand shutter speed we must learn first what a shutter is. A shutter is a device in the camera which limits the amount of light on a determined period of time. That determined period of time is the shutter speed. Shutter speed is expressed in seconds and fractions of a second like 2 s, 1 s, º s, 1/8 s, 1/15 s, 1/30 s, 1/60 s, 1/125 s, 1/250 s, 1/500 s, 1/1000 s, 1/2000 s, 1/4000 s, 1/8000 s etc. The shutter speed dictates the amount of exposure. A faster shutter speed means that the exposure will be less while a slower shutter speed will increase the amount of exposure.
A fast shutter speed like 1/8000 s will close faster than 2 s of exposure time. What we need to understand from this is that a slower shutter speed like 2 s or 1 s will allow more light which makes our pictures brighter while faster shutter speeds like 1/8000 s and 1/4000 s will greatly limit the light than enters the lens producing a dimmer picture.
So just what is ISO?
In simple terms, ISO is your cameraís sensitivity to light. The normal ISO level in digital cameras is 100. When you increase the ISO level, the cameraís sensitivity also increases, which just means that it can accommodate more light which in turn makes the image much brighter. But on the down side, if you over increase the ISO level, your pictures will be grainier or noisier, so use caution when adjusting your ISO.
So why should we increase the ISO then? Increasing your ISO also increases your shutter speed which in turn allows more light to be captured. By adjusting the Aperture, Shutter Speed, and the ISO, we can manipulate the amount of light that enters the lens and by doing this; we can create better pictures in low light conditions.
Anyway, I really hope you’ve enjoyed the photography lighting tips that I’ve revealed today, although there’s much more on my blog. CLICK HERE to read the complete version of my “photos graphos” lighting tips