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Exploring the Shadows: A Guide to Low Light Creativity 🎥📸

Updated: Feb 11, 2023

Capturing photos and videos at night can be a challenging and rewarding experience. Low light conditions surely can add a unique atmosphere and mood to images, and really allows you to capture scenes and subjects that are not visible during the day. In this short blog, we will explore some tips and techniques for taking photos and creating videos at night, and discuss the equipment and settings that can help you capture the best possible images in the dark. Whether you're a professional photographer or just starting out, we hope this blog will provide some valuable insights and inspiration for shooting at night. Let's dive in!

Here are some quick tips for shooting video and photo low light settings on a professional camera. I shoot on the Sony alpha series; the a7siii, a7iv, and a7iii. The a7siii honestly sees better than my eyes at night, and the rest are also fantastic in low-light conditions that continue to blow my mind.

When using a slightly more professional camera following these steps can help you capture better content.

1. Use a lens with a wide aperture:

  • In low light, using a lens with a wide aperture (e.g. f/2.8, 1.4, or even lower) can help to let in so much more light and improve the camera's ability to capture images in dim conditions. Just remember, the wider the aperture, the more blurry your photos will end up looking, almost like they were taken half asleep!

2. Increasing the ISO:

  • The ISO determines the camera's sensitivity to light. In low light, you may need to increase the ISO to a higher value in order to capture enough light. But beware, increasing the ISO will also introduce noise into the image, making it look like a bad acid trip from the 70s. The a7siii has an amazing native dual ISO feature that essentially turns 12,800 into the noise level of the lowest ISO.

3. Using a tripod:

  • In low light, using a tripod can help to steady the camera and reduce blur caused by ANY camera shake your caffeine-filled hands have. This is especially important when using a slow shutter speed, which may be necessary for low light to capture enough light. Unless you want your photos to look like they were taken on a roller coaster, of course. Using a tripod allows you to take pictures at night that will blow your mind. The sky has so many stars you can’t see with the naked eye it is mind-blowing.

4. Use a flash:

  • If you have a flash available, using it can help to add light to the scene and improve the quality of your images in low light. However, be aware that using a flash can also create unwanted shadows and harsh lighting, so use it carefully and experiment with different flash settings to find the best results. Or, you know, just blind your subjects with a bright light and hope for the best.

5. Experiment with different settings:

  • Finally, don't be afraid to experiment with different camera settings to find the best results in low light. Try different combinations of aperture, ISO, shutter speed, and flash settings to see which produce the best images in your particular situation. With practice, you will learn which settings work best for different low-light scenarios. Or, you know, just keep randomly fiddling with the settings until something looks good. Good luck!

Now I know everyone doesn't have access to a professional camera so here’s how you can take better night photos on an iPhone by following these steps:

  1. Open the Camera app on your iPhone.

  2. Tap the "Night mode" icon, which looks like a moon. This will activate Night mode, which automatically adjusts the camera settings to take better photos in low light. It’s impressive what these phones are capable of today.

  3. Point your camera at the scene you want to photograph. The camera will automatically adjust the exposure and other settings to take the best possible photo in the current lighting conditions.

  4. Press the shutter button to take the photo.

  5. If necessary, you can adjust the exposure by tapping and dragging the yellow sun icon up or down on the screen. This will make the photo brighter or darker, depending on which way you drag the icon.

  6. If you want to take a long exposure photo, such as a photo of a starry sky or moving water, you can enable the "Long Exposure" option by tapping the "Options" button in the top right corner of the screen and selecting "Long Exposure." This will take a longer exposure and may produce a more artistic effect.

  7. Setting this to 10 seconds will allow the most amount of light into the camera making a brighter picture, but anything moving will become super blurry. This includes your hands moving your phone!

  8. Propping my phone up on the ground with a rock is my favorite way to take photos of the stars when I’m out and about.

  9. When you're finished taking photos, tap the "Done" button to save the photos to your camera roll.

By following these steps, you should be able to take great night photos on your iPhone. Remember to experiment with different settings and compositions to find the best results for your particular scene.

In conclusion, capturing photos and videos at night can be such a rewarding and challenging experience. The low light conditions can add a unique atmosphere and mood to your images, and allow you to capture scenes and subjects that are not visible during the day. By using the right equipment and settings, and experimenting with different techniques, you can capture stunning night photos and videos that will impress and inspire your audience. I hope this blog has provided some valuable insights and inspiration for shooting at night, and I encourage you to go out and try your hand at capturing the beauty and mystery of the night sky. If you’re looking for a creative partner to produce thumb-stopping content I’d love to connect, happy shooting!

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