Wide-open in low-light #photography

I’ve been taking photos at more events indoors recently and doing much less landscape photography because of the weather.

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Indoor photography poses its own problems with low-light. To get some scenes in focus you need a wide depth of field but struggle with the low-light at narrower apertures. The answer is to just stay wide-open and try to take close-up shots of people. After all, at events, it is the people who are the subject!

Birthday Cake

This is my younger brother being presented with his birthday cake at his 60th birthday celebration. I struggled with the light at this disco event but went for close-ups. This shot would normally warrant a narrower aperture but it’s still reasonable with a wide-open aperture and the slight blur softens the image. It is important to hold the camera very still in low-light too. I used a professional Speedlight for these shots. If I had gone for a narrower aperture I might have got some sharper pictures but the flash is so bright that it blinds the subject!

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Wide-open and close-up

Ideally, at these events, you need to be wide-open and close-up and control the Speedlight with TTL (through the lens metering). That’s my brother Trevor on the left!

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The Mayor of Sandwell

This is a shot from the mayor’s curry night for charity at the Lamp restaurant in Wednesbury. On the left is Tony Baker, who coincidentally was at both events with Lady mayor Julie Webb. The event raised over £700 for the mayor’s charities last week.

Controlling the flash

It was important to control the flash at both these events and I used TTL but adjusted it slightly brighter for some shots and most shots worked out well. The shots at the mayor’s curry night weren’t so good overall but the light there was blue and it was hard to disperse the light from the flash. I usually bounce the flash of a white ceiling or a light coloured wall. In the restaurant, I tried to bounce the flash off a huge mirror. I’m still not sure if that worked!

That’s it for this week. If you’re trying to become a community photographer you just have to accept the challenge of varying conditions and accept that the photos won’t be great in really poor light. You just get the best shots that you can! The shots that people get with their mobile phones might be just as good but I think I got better shots with a DSLR and professional Speedlight on these occasions.

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