When I first started into photography, I dove right in and read every “Intro to Photography” article I could get my hands on. And each one of those talked about how photography is all about light.
I mean, even the literal meaning of the word photograph is “drawing with light”.
So I did what most amateur photographers do, I started looking for light, lots of light. I would open all doors and windows when I was forced to take pictures indoors. Else, I was stuck taking pictures outside during the Golden Hour. Isn’t that’s what we are supposed to do?
And then, almost accidentally, I stumbled upon an e-book by Meg Loeks where she talks about different types of light and how “low light” is her favorite type of light. As amazed as I was with this discovery, I instantly fell in love with the results of my initial attempt. Though imperfect, I still loved the how those photographs made me feel when I looked back at them.
There began my journey of Low Light Photography. Since then I have learned techniques and practiced almost every single day to get it right and I am still a work-in-progress.
And here is why I love Low Light photography so much:
The subject that is closest to the light source is the brightest, as you get farther from the light source the scene and its subjects gets less brighter and falls into shadow eventually. The viewer’s eyes travels through the scene and go straight to the brightest object in the picture.
Like in the picture below, you can tell, the scene is set in the kitchen, they are probably eating breakfast and the kids are being silly. The background is almost in the shadow so it’s not distracting the viewer from the subjects, but it’s visible enough to build the story.
The gear for low light photography is just one window or door. You don’t have to set up anything, no strobes or studio lights, no reflectors and no backdrop! All you need is your camera and a willing subject. From dark hotel rooms to basement, you can always find a small window to work with.
The beauty of Low Light is it creates amazing contrast with bright highlights and deep shadows.
The depth that this light creates brings the subject to life, when the subject is smiling you can see their deep glittering eyes and when they are sad the frown lines creates shadows on face enhancing the mood of the subject.
Because the viewers eyes search for the brightest spot in the picture, the details in the highlights become more noticeable. As in the picture below, the profile of the kid, her reflection and the rain drops on the window is the first thing a viewer notices. And the second image, the little fingers and the strings of the Ukulele are the most prominent details.
With small kids at home, clutter becomes part of life. But it doesn’t have to be a part of our pictures. In the picture below, my daughter is decorating her gingerbread house first thing in
the morning. Instead of trying to clean the living room to take a good picture, I closed in our
curtains and all the mess conveniently falls into shadows, highlighting the story that I want to
Low light photography has my heart, although its work in progress, I am loving every single
image I am making. Meter for the highlights and shoot to your heart’s content, I am sure, like me
you will fall in love with Low Light photography too.