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How to take good pictures in bad light ?

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Everyone who has been in photography for a while knows that lighting is an essential detail and a game-changer for the final result. Photographers consider the golden hour and blue hour as the most beneficial parts of the day, however, their longevity is rather limited, which creates the necessity to look for other ways to find good light. How to find vividness on an overcast day, and not have light spots on a sunny-lit day? Let’s dive right in.

1. Editing Software

The quickest way to deal with the problem of light is to use editing software. Such an experience doesn’t require any specific knowledge of photography and offers ready-to-use solutions for all your ideas. Besides, they have a variety of other editing options like the usage of statuses by VistaCreate for messengers, video editing for Facebook, TikTok, and Youtube, templates for Instagram posts, etc. Such variability will save you time in the further editing process, as everything can be found in one place, which is pretty convenient. 

2. Use Your Camera in Manual Mode Exposure

Many beginners prefer auto mode, as the automatic choice of the settings helps to focus specifically on the object of the photo. However, Manual Mode is much more beneficial, as you can set a perfect exposure by correcting the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO:

Shutter speed 

Defines how much light is let onto the camera sensor – the bigger the number, the less light will be there. A shutter speed of 1/200, respectively, will result in a darker photo, as there will be less light; 1/10 will create a brighter image, letting more light onto the sensors. Less light will make a clear picture, while more – quite blurred motion. 

Aperture

The aperture controls the amount of light as well, changing the size of the opening, which lets the light in. It is measured by f-stops (focal length). The smaller the number, the bigger the size of the hole, and therefore, more light in.

For example, f/11 will give a small hole, less light, and a darker image;  f/1.2 – a larger hole, with more light and a brighter image. 

ISO

The final component of the exposure ‘trinity’ which influences the brightness of the image. Unlike the two above, it is measured in full numbers. The higher the number, the brighter the picture, and the more graininess. 

For example, ISO 100 will give a darker picture and better quality, with less noise.  ISO of 3000 will give a bright image, more noise, and higher quality. 

2. Fill flash

Is a helpful technique every time the background is brighter than an object in the photo. It brightens deep shallow areas, bringing more color and light to the front part of the photo. Using the fill flash you can get rid of harsh shadows and bring the object into focus. 

How to take good pictures in bad light

3. Use a reflector

If you are shooting on a sunlit day, or against a strong backlight, you may need a reflector (better a portable one) to reflect light into the shadow of the object. There is no set-in-stone positioning for the reflector, however, it’s mainly lower than the chins, to direct light onto the face. The angle can be changed, according to your vision and needs. 

4. Move your subject

If there’s no fixed place, try to find a different spot, even just across the room, or a few steps aside. If the shooting is in the room, the best place may be near the window, or at least, better than in the other parts. If you are outdoors, with a bright light, you may need to find the shade and the reflector (or a fill flash) to bring some light onto the front. 

5. Use a tripod

Tripods are beneficial for shooting at night or the poorly lit rooms. They allow you to lower the shutter speed, thus, you can catch more light. While with a hand-hold you need to stay above 1/60 a second, a tripod-hold allows a more extended period of time. 

6. Use filters

Filters aren’t obligatory, yet they can make a difference in the non-optimal conditions:

  • Polarized filter  –  reduces reflections and haze; makes blue skies look dark and saturated.
  • Neutral density filter – slows down the shutter speed, so you can catch the clouds and water movement. and take advantage of moving water or clouds.
  • Graduated neutral density filter – used for too bright back- and foreground; it darkens the lit area and balances the scene.

7. Turn to a black-and-white style

With high contrast and harsh light, or on a gloomy day, you may turn to black-and-white images. With such a color scheme the shadows and brightly lit area turn out to be beneficial. Besides, such a classy look photo is always beyond reproach. 

Bad lighting is one of the working conditions photographers inevitably face during their work. It’s important to know the ways to reach a desirable effect under any lighting conditions. With properly chosen editing programs and carefully selected tools, you will always reach the top level of proficiency.

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