Saturday, 12 December 2015

12 days of Christmas photography tips. Day three, tip three: Low Light Photography.

Lighting Part 2

Low Light Photography. When Night Time Falls (even if that happens at 15.30pm!)

Before we begin, for those of you using cameras where you can adjust the ISO, to get the best results  you will beed to push that up as far as you can being mindful of the fact that the further you increase it the more grain appears in the image. For everyone else using automatic settings on cameras or iphones/tablets you need not worry. These devices are quite exceptional at dealing with low light but holding them exceptionally still or mounting them on a tripod will yield better results for this type of photography.

So, Rather than grumble at the pesky lack of light which I often do at this time of year, my aesthetic as a natural light baby and children photographer resting on it, let us find some ways to embrace it.

These photos where taken in the middle of a room and lighting wise there is a wall lamp to Alana's right hand side (you can see how the side of her face is lit by it) which is strongest of the light sources at play here in the room. The rest of the light, the ambient light within the room, comes from different places some of which is provided by the TV flickering in the background. These different sources of light within the room make for an arty, moodily lit image of Alana opening her advent Calendar.

What additionally adds interest are the colourful Christmas lights in the background which (as I briefly mentioned in day 1 tip one) if your subject is clearly in focus in the foreground then the lights in the backgrund will blur to great effect. This is called Bokeh and it is a very pretty effect that I love.

Extra tip: We asked Alana to save the opening of her advent calendar that day for me to photograph and it doesn't hurt when photographing children to set up a scene or a scenario as we have here. I ensured that the pretty Christmas lights would be visible in the background and then I set Alana up on her little table and seat and asked her to open her advent calendar. By doing this, photographing something real happening which in this case was the excitement of finding out what was in the advent Calendar draw, you are capturing a sincere response whatever that response may be. This can really make the photo.

This image above is lit by the blue light of the television. Alana was very involved in watching her program which meant I had opportunity to get a candid photo of Lani, a sweet profile shot lit from an unusual but effective light source. To maximise this effect make sure all other lighting in the room is switched off so the only source of light is the TV, you can create some very arty shots this way.

The image below goes some way to showing you how this may look. The room was very dark and an iphone was being used to add some light to a shoe that was proving rather difficult to do up. The light looked so beautiful on the faces of all involved I wanted to capture it.

If you try any of these tips do send me your photos I'd love to see them and if you have any questions feel free to leave a comment.

However, if you are in that, 'OMG, I totally want a great family photo' place but are overwhelmed by doing it yourself then never fear, help is here! Click here to contact me so you can check this off your list. Easy Peasey

Sammi Sparke Photography working between Sheffield, Cambridge and London

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