A couple of weeks ago, Craig asked us about photographing kids in low light. I started writing this post and discovered that there are so many technical details to the answer that I needed to write a series of posts just to answer his question.
Over the next few weeks, I am going to attempt to tell you about how cameras work and how to make them work better in difficult situations. Here’s the synopsis…
Cameras allow light in a scene to come through the lens, for a specific period of time. The light hits the digital sensor in the camera and records as image data.
What we are going to talk about is:
Cameras allow light in a scene (the amount of light the camera “sees”) to come through the lens (the aperture), for a specific period of time (shutter speed). The light hits the digital sensor. How much light is needed depends on the sensitivity of the sensor (ISO)
You’ve got four variables. The amount of light, the aperture value, the shutter speed and the ISO of the sensor. Changing each variable has unique consequences.
For Craig’s question… “Low light, indoor shots of a very wriggly child. Iso way up (3200+), stopped down (1.8 on the 50mm) and still struggle to capture a clean image. So, the question is about lighting and inexpensive practical lighting. A couple light rigs would be ideal, think it would drive Lisa nuts having them set up all the time tho! Camera mounted? Currently using a canon 60d if that makes any difference at all!”
The simple answer: You need more light. An external flash bounced into the ceiling or a white wall will do the trick. We’ve talked about flash on a couple of occasions, which you can find here or here.
Part of the struggle you’re having with a clean image is that with the ISO up to 3200 or more, is the “noise” it creates in the image, but we’ll explain that more in the coming weeks.
Hope you’ll come back over the next couple of weeks as we fill in the details!