Blog Link-Up - What Low Light Looks Like...

by Amy Rhodes

I love light.  I am constantly looking at it and for it.  When I first started photography light was something I was intimidated by.  I felt like the only time I could get a good shot was in perfect lighting conditions - which "they" all said was an hour before sunset.  Yes, "they" are right, and hour before sunset is a beautiful time to shoot, but there are many other lighting conditions that make beautiful images as well.  .  Over the years I have learned a lot and my definition of perfect lighting conditions has changed.  Good lighting is any lighting condition where you can create a picture your happy with. 

Today Me Ra Koh and a few of us CONFIDENCE Teachers have decided to do a blog link up.  The theme is, "What low light looks like."  When I heard the theme a few weeks ago I was actually excited because I love the grainy look of a black and white photo and low light is the perfect condition to shoot these images.  

This is the room I was shooting in.  I wanted to give you an idea of just how dark it was.  I took these images around 5:45 in the afternoon.  The sun was already behind the mountain and we were deep into the "blue hour."  I positioned my son on his bed and just had him look towards the light.  Because the light was fading so fast I was using my 50 mm lens at 1.8.  I had my ISO bumped up to 1600 and my shutter speed around 1/60th of a second.  All three of these settings allowed me to maximize the limited light available.  


My favorite thing about these 2 pictures is the way the shadows create the contours of my sons features.  


If this is something you would like to try, take your camera and use a lens that will allow you to drop down to a low aperture.  If you only have a kit lens, use it.  You will be able to create these images, but you will probably need to use a higher ISO or lower shutter speed.  If you are worried about camera shake, use a tripod.  I used the cheapest lens I have, the 50mm 1.8.  This was the first lens I bought after my kit lens.  It allowed me to practice playing with low apertures.  If you are using something small like a nifty fifty you will be able to drop your shutter speed down to about 1/60th of a second without worrying about camera shake.  Play with your ISO.  Start at 800 and then keep bumping it up until you get the look you want.  It's all about what YOU like.  

Good luck and have fun!


To see what the other teachers interpret as "low light"  click here.  This link will take you to Kelli Kalish's blog.  She is amazing. She specializes in black and white photography and her images are simply breathtaking.  I want to be just like her when I grow up!