Low Light Practical Night

One of the most popular activities at KPS are the practical nights when we try to have an activity that involves taking photographs in a situation where there is lots of help available for people who want to improve their photography.

Wednesday June 15 was such a night where the topic was low light photography.

A good night was had by most if not all the attendees, who photographed all manner of objects provided, all of which were in very low light. It was a great way to show that just because there isn’t much light around, photos can still be taken.

One of the set-ups provided was this globe and bowls below. The light emanating from the globe was the sole lighting source, which provides its own interest but also its own problems on how to photograph such a setting.

We have taken screen grabs of a few images from the night in Lightroom to show you some of the camera settings used to capture these pictures.

All the pictures shown were taken using Aperture Priority mode at 3200 ISO using Centre Weighted Metering

This particular image was adjusted using exposure compensation where the camera determined the exposure but the photographer over rode that exposure to obtain the effect he wanted. The ‘correct’ exposure, chosen by the camera,  would show the globe far too bright but the photographer reduced the exposure using the exposure compensation dial to get the effect shown.


Taken solely with the light from the laptop screen, in the image below the exposure was again changed by the photographer from the camera’s suggested exposure because, as with the globe above, the camera was taking far too much notice of all the dark areas and trying to lighten the entire scene. By reducing the suggested exposure, the tones on our subject’s face now appear normal instead of washed out as would have been the case had the camera been allowed to choose the exposure.

How by pc

As it was a clear night, it was a great time to try some star trail photography. The pictures below were taken between 9.15 and 9.30 pm and neither had any exposure compensation as the camera got the exposure pretty right in these two scenes as there is a good spread of tones throughout both images.

Outside 1

Outside 2

The messages here are that just because there isn’t much light around doesn’t mean that you can’t take pictures and that your camera only ever provides suggested or recommended exposures and that you can change them to suit your subject.

Another fun night at KPS.


Commenting area

  1. Yit How June 18, 2016 at 8:54 pm · ·

    It was a good prac night and I hope we do it again next year. It forces us to think about how we want to control the exposure to get the result we want. Many people are happy just to keep shooting with total reliance on the camera’s metering, so this low light exercise is really useful.

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