I’ve always preferred shooting using natural light, I’ll use studio lighting or flash if I absolutely have to. In the old days, this resulted in many under-exposed frames. But nowadays with camera’s being so light sensitive and being able to use a higher ISO without too much grain, it’s much easier and the results can be stunning.
The picture above was taken on Clifton beach after sunset. It was dark already and I didn’t plan it. I was leaving when this woman appeared and started hooping with an LED lit hoop. I had no tripod or monopod, had to handhold it, kept the shutter wide open, cranked the ISO up and this was the result.
Some tips on getting the best from shooting in low light:
1. Keep the camera steady by bracing your body against a wall or a chair, make sure you arms are locked to minimise camera shake
2. Hold your breath while taking the picture
3. Open up your aperture as far as you can
4. Experiment with shutter speed and ISO
5. Know that the picture you see in the LCD is often much brighter than when you see it on your computer and that is often brighter than what you see when the picture is printed so compensate accordingly
6. Sometimes grain is not a terrible thing in a photo. I’d rather get a great picture with a bit of grain than not get it at all. There is also grain softening software you can use in Lightroom and other editing tools
7. Experiment with your camera in controlled conditions until you are familiar with your camera’s range, so that when you are out and about, you can work quickly in often fading light.