6 Tips for Shooting Photos in Low Light

low light photography tips

As much as I love fall weather and colors, I don’t like that the sun starts setting a whole lot earlier than it did in summer. I used to still be able to see sunshine at 8:30pm and now it’s pretty dark by 5. Shorter days make me feel like I have less time to get stuff done, and when it comes to shooting photos, it’s true. When there’s less daylight hours, there are less chances for me to shoot in natural light. Depending on when you like to shoot this may or not be an issue for you. If you have a full-time job and shooting after work is your only option, then this post might come in super handy for you!

Low Light Photography Tips

Up Your ISO

The higher your ISO, the more “noise” your photos will have, but a slightly grainy photo is going to be better than a completely blurry one. DSLR cameras are designed to handle low light settings at higher ISOs and the fancier your camera is, the better it is at handling those low light situations. For example, my old home had floor to ceiling windows on the 16th floor. Now, we live in a two story walk-up with a lot less windows and a giant tree that blocks a lot of light. I end up shooting during the day on ISO 2000-3200 frequently and the photos turn out beautifully.
Don’t go too low on shutter speed
The one thing you shouldn’t comprise on is your shutter speed. The slower the shutter speed, the blurrier the photos. Adjust your other settings first to make sure you’re still capturing that image quickly!

Lower your Aperture

To let in more light, I shoot on a lower aperture. Remember, the lower the aperture, the blurrier the background. Every lens will be different, but I typically shoot on 1.4-2.0 when I’m in a low light situation and the photos always look beautiful! Just make sure it’s focusing on what you want it to!

Bounce Light Back

This trick is gold! I keep a white board around the house to bounce back light when I’m shooting indoors. It helps keep shadows from looking too harsh and provides really nice even light. Fun trick: if you like moody photos and want more shadows, use a black board! A reflector will also work too, but you need someone to stand there and hold that up and when I’m shooting at home, I’m often shooting by myself.

Take Advantage of Lightroom

We love Lightroom!!! But, you already know that. Lightroom does an amazing job of brightening dull and dark photos and can give light to areas where the shadows are too harsh. We have a great tutorial here on how to master the basic edits and we sell gorgeous Lightroom presets here.

Wake up Early

I know, the last thing you want to hear is to wake up earlier, but if waking up 30 minutes earlier means you can squeeze a shoot in during daylight hours—do it! You can also pop outside during your lunch break or take advantage of the gorgeous light at dusk.

Use your Weekends Wisely

No one wants to work like crazy on the weekends, but if you work long hours and can’t shoot during lunch, the weekends might be your only chance to take photos. Instead of leaving all of your blog work for the weekends, batch your tasks. Use your weekday nights to write, edit and add links to posts and then shoot your photos on the weekends. You can even leave the editing and uploading to the weekday hours as well!

These tips will come in handy when you’re daylight is limited, but I encourage you to make time to shoot when there is plenty of daylight! Avoid shooting with a flash, artificial light or at night whenever possible! At the end of the day, nothing replaces good natural light!

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I'm Blair Staky—I help women turn their blogs into thriving businesses by sharing my secrets to growing a 6-figure blog. I'm so glad you're here!

Leave a Comment

  1. 11.12.17

    Thank you for this helpful and timely post! I am very novice with my DSLR and just recently, like in the last two month, felt like I was finally taking some pretty good shots, in manual mode, for my blog. In the last week, it has been really overcast and dark and I didn’t feel like I could get a decent photo. I am shooting interior shots, so I feel really limited! I live in Vancouver, so overcast is probably going to be our weather situation for the next few months. I will try shooting with a higher ISO AND I really need to figure out Lightroom. Thanks for the helpful suggestions!

  2. 11.15.17

    Great tips! I especially like the one about using weekends wisely. I usually end up doing most of the work on my weekends, but it’s smarter to save weekends for photography.