Photographers have spent years studying light, how to use it, manipulate it, hey, I’m sure some have even tried to bend it! Don’t get me wrong, light is our best friend in the photography world. But what about crossing over to the ‘Dark Side’ for a different effect? Use darkness to your advantage! How do we do this?
Learn your camera limits
Understand your camera. Study it’s limits, it’s ISO, shutter speed and White Balance. WB is one thing people tend to brush over, but is important in getting skin tones etc. correct. In low light people tend to turn into Umpa Lumpas (orange skin).
The rule of thumb also, is to shoot to your lens’ limits, depending on how wide the aperture is. But this is something you can experiment with, so have a play.
Ok so you DO need light to take photos. Look out for available light. When I was studying this topic, I noticed one of my boys went to bed and fell asleep with his torch on. Great opportunity for photos! Another time they were playing games on the iPad under their blanket, so I grabbed my camera and jumped under with them! –On a side note, you want great kids photos and to learn your camera? Never turn it off! Mine is always easily accessible and on ready to go.
So be on the lookout for available light, streetlights are good, windows etc.
Then OCF (off camera flash) works a treat. But for better effect, experiment with the position of it. I documented a wedding where we ran out of light (with it raining also), by the time we got away to do the bridal party shoot. So I played with my flash, with GREAT results. I gave the couple an umbrella to use and we went for a walk out into the open, I placed the Speedlight behind them to create a silhouette of them. The light ended up bouncing around the umbrella creating a ‘glowing’ effect for the photo.
The digital photography world is constantly evolving and doing unbelievable things. The best way to keep up? Keep shooting, never turn your camera off and think outside of the box.