but keep in mind that it is more akin to negative film than transparency film and I personally find that I can safely get another stop to a stop-and-a-half in post-shoot processing.  Shoot RAW, not jpeg! As far as exposure, keep your histogram as far to the right as possible without clipping (going off the edge).  If you loose your highlights (which are on the right hand side of the histogram) you probably can’t get them back.  I guess in that way a digital file is like transparency film.

waves on long exposure

I am not a big user of on-camera flash, but it can be a real life-saver.  I suggest a good starting point is to set your flash to under expose by two-thirds of a stop.  That can help bring out details without overpowering the image…and looking like you used on-camera flash!  If you do use on-camera flash it is generally a good idea to bounce it or at least put some sort of diffuser over it.

Use movement to your advantage

Another thing to keep in mind is that a little movement in your image isn’t necessarily an image killer. Sometimes you can make it work to your advantage. A year ago I was shooting in the train station in Mumbai, India.  The station is indoors and while it wasn’t exactly gloomy, it still qualifies as low light.  I put the camera over my head as high as I could hold it and fired off a half-dozen frames at an eighth of a second.  I only shot six frames because at that point a machine gun carrying police officer politely but firmly informed me that photography in the train station was forbidden.  That image, in which everything has movement, even the lamp posts, has already sold a number of times as a stock picture with Getty Images (1377).  Sometimes movement can make an image more dynamic and help it convey a mood or message.

Guest post by John Lund Stock

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7 Comments

Photography Tips From A Pro On Shooting In Low Light

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