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14 Jul 2024

Low Light

Term: Low Light
Description: Low light in photography refers to any scenario in which there is the amount of ambient light is low. In other words, low light is when there isn't much natural light available. This can be indoors, a poorly lit street at night, or even out in the middle of an overcast day. In low light photography, photographers must use their knowledge and creativity to compensate for the lack of available light. To do this, they must rely heavily on faster lenses that allow more light in through a wider aperture, as well as higher ISO settings and/or slower shutter speeds to increase the sensitivity of the camera's sensor. They might also need to use external lighting such as flashes or reflectors to get enough light into the scene. By combining these techniques creatively, talented photographers are able to capture incredible images even in situations that many would consider too dark. Overall, low light photography gives us all a chance to explore the world around in a different way that can be dramatic and interesting.

Low Light Photography in a Dark Chapel

In a dimly lit chapel, the decision to go with natural light or flash will be based in part on the chapel’s rules regarding photography, as well as your preference or comfort level with using flashes/strobes. Depending on your gear, the available light in the church may be enough to allow you to capture great shots with adequate dynamic range. For example, a Canon 5D Mark IV paired with a fast lens, such as a Canon 35mm f/1.4, should allow enough light to reach the sensor with a relatively fast shutter speed so that your images will not suffer from motion blur. If you are allowed to use flash and need that extra kick of light, we recommend using an external battery pack to speed up the flash’s recycle time between shots. You don’t want to miss a moment because the flash is not ready to fire.

Note: Every step up with ISO decreases the color and dynamic range of the image.

Here are some quick tips for photographing a ceremony in a dark (low-light) chapel:

Communicate

  1. Make sure bride/groom understand prior

In-Camera

  1. Use an external battery for flash recycling
  2. High ISO (based on camera capabilities)
  3. Fast lenses ideal
  4. Lowest possible flash power (for recycle time)
  5. Watch shadow detail, and highlight exposure on dress
  6. Bounce flash (ceiling above behind, or wall to side)