It does not have to be Valentine’s Day to be romantic or to shoot romantic pictures. These tips will help you capture stunning low-light images by using only one means of light – candles. So if you like those flames reflecting on your subjects follow those tips and you will be able to take low-light environment pictures in no time.
Using a Tripod
If you don’t have a tripod on means to rest your camera steadily, then don’t even bother reading the rest of the article. A tripod is essential. Since candlelight is a very low light you will have to shoot with much slower shutter speeds. Slow shutter speeds make the camera very ‘sensitive’ and the slightest movement will result in a blurred picture. Using a remote shutter release is also a wise idea but you can also put your camera on self-timer.
You are taking candlelight pictures because you want that warm glow from the candles and by using a flash you will lose all that, since a flash light is totally different. Flash in lowlight situations will completely destroy the atmosphere.
Don’t expect a great picture by just using one candle. Use as many candles as you can and remember to stay safe. Never place your candles next to any flammable material and always keep an eye on them. Using more candles means more light and more light means more flexibility when you come to set the shutter speed and ISO. It is also a good idea to spread out your candles. Don’t put them all in the same place.
You don’t have to rush to a camera store to buy an expensive reflector. Anything that is able to reflect light will be good, even if it’s just a white bed sheet. White walls are great too so make sure you place your subject next to a reflective background.
All kinds of lenses are able to shoot in low-light environment but the fast lenses are the best. By fast I mean lenses that are able to achieve a low aperture like f/1.4 or f/1.8. These kinds of lenses are great for low-light but remember that a fast aperture will give you less depth of field. So selective focusing is a must.
Study your background well before you start shooting. Uncluttered and simple backgrounds tend to work better in low-light situations. So don’t go crazy about props. Remember this cardinal rule – less is more.
How can you let more light to enter your camera? It is obvious. This can be achieved by choosing a slow shutter speed. Just keep in mind that a slow shutter will also capture any slight movement. So if you are shooting a human subject kindly ask them to stay as steady as possible. Generally a shutter speed of 1/15th of a second works well in low-light situations.
Your candles are probably going to be in the picture and the camera will usually underexpose the picture as it will see the candles as a bright glow. So what you should do is try to overexpose your camera by one stop but don’t overdo it otherwise the candles will lose all detail.
Just because it is a low-light picture, it does not mean that you should ignore composition. You main aim is to photography subjects in candlelight so try to put the candles in a way that they will not distract a lot.
Even though you tried hard, sometimes just candlelight is not sufficient enough to light up a great picture. What do you do in a situation like this? Just use some other light sources that give out a warm glow, like for example a lamp. If you don’t have any warm light don’t worry. Try putting some orange or red materials over your light and remember to not leave it around the light for a long time to avoid fires.
Hope these tips helped you and happy shooting.