How To Photograph In Low Light Without a Flash

My latest tutorial on taking great photos in dark conditions without using a flash is now live over on We Are SO Photo. As always, here’s an excerpt, but please click the banner at the bottom to head over and read the full article. Thank you.


Nobody seems to have problems taking great looking photographs in daylight or well-lit environments. Take your camera out in to the garden on a sunny afternoon and your shots will appear bright, pin-sharp and beautifully saturated, time after time.

However, once the environment becomes too dark, many beginners struggle to capture the scene correctly, resulting in blurred and underexposed shots. Commonly, this failure is treated with “It’s too dark to photograph”, or with the acceptance that a more expensive camera is needed – neither of which are strictly true.

Low Light Photography Tips

One frustration for professional photographers is seeing someone resort to using their camera’s pop up flash to try and illuminate a scene with low ambient light. This will often result in unsightly shadows, harshly lit subjects and simply spoiling the overall lighting of the scene you’re trying to capture.

There are a couple of ways to overcome difficulties with low light photography. One is to buy a lens with a wider aperture (lower F number) to allow more light in to the camera. Something around F/1.2 to F/2.8 would make a huge difference here. However, lenses at this aperture tend to be expensive. Another option is to shoot at a wider aperture on your current lens. Shooting at F/4 compared to F/8, for example, will allow four times as much light in to the camera. The downside of increasing your aperture is, of course, a reduction to the depth of field – something you may not want for the shot you’re taking. Furthermore, if your camera has a filter attached, take this off. It will kill the amount of light coming through to the sensor.

But let’s address an often-overlooked solution to shooting in low light – ISO, and understand why it’s perhaps the most effective option…

To read the full article, please click the banner below to head over to my photography tutorials website. Thank you.

We Are SO Photo