How To Shoot Photographs During Bad Light Situations

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Let’s face it. There will always be a time to shoot with very, very bad light. Whether it’s a wedding reception, an event at a nearby bar, or a concert performance, taking images can be really challenging. If you don’t have the faintest clue on what to do, you may end up with a photograph that nobody will ever understand or comprehend. Fortunately, here are some helpful tips on how to come out of bad lighting conditions with images that you can use.


Find a Source of Light

No matter how hard it may be, look for a source of light that can help you out. It can be that spotlight moving across the stage or a strategically-placed candle illuminating a laughing lady. Whatever that may be, you have to be alert because these sources of light can be gone in a second so you need to capitalise on it right away.


Create Your Own Light

If all else fails, go ahead and create your own sources of light. That’s right, just jump the gun and invest in a speedight or a video light to help illuminate those wedding reception images. With this tip, you need not worry about murky photos anymore. All you need is an assistant to hold and direct that light source for you.


One of the secrets to handling bad light and capturing good images indoor is to master your camera and it’s controls

One of the secrets to handling bad light and capturing good images indoor is to master your camera and it’s controls


Slow That Shutter Down

Another great tip to combat bad lighting conditions is to use a slow shutter speed whenever you’re shooting. Although it can be really hard at first, with constant practice, you can be sure to shoot at around 1/25 shutter speed in a dimly-lit environment. Furthermore, there can be some cool effects to your image if you use a slow shutter speed when people are losing themselves on the dance floor.


Anticipate and pre-focus so you can capture that perfect moment.

Anticipate and pre-focus so you can capture that perfect moment.


Crank that ISO up

So, you think a slow shutter speed isn’t for you eh? Don’t worry though because you need not stand still for that technique because  you can always raise your camera’s SO to get an image during bad lighting scenarios. With cameras these days, you’re sure to have a clean photo at around ISO 3200 with a minimal amount of noise. Plus, if you need to take your ISO levels higher, the noise would really make your picture more artistic and unique.


Invest in Gear Designed for Bad Light

Last on our list is a long-term solutions to fighting bad light during events or concerts – buy new gear. That’s right folks. You can’t expect equipment designed for a beginner to capture professional photos. With that being said, a good starting point is to invest in lenses with a wide aperture. These lenses suck in more light and gives your images a dreamy look that you won’t get anywhere.


Stay on top of your game and place your subjects away from a bad light to a good one.

Stay on top of your game and place your subjects away from a bad light to a good one.


Another option you can think about is upgrade to cameras good in low light. Some features you might be interested are fast auto-focus speed in badly-lit places, ease of use, and of course, its high-ISO capabilities. Just make sure to get the best low light digital camera you can afford, you’re comfortable using and one that seamlessly adapts to your current system.


Shooting in bad light is something every photographer will have to face and master one day. It takes a great amount of patience, cunning, artistry, and resourcefulness to be able to capture low light photos that won’t turn your clients off. Just follow these tips and you’re going to be fine.
If you have more tips on how to capture low light images, hit us up on the comments or share your thoughts on SlickPic folks.

By |2017-03-08T00:42:54+00:00February 23rd, 2017|Categories: How-to Tips|5 Comments

About the Author:

As a child, I've always been in love with stories and how it can change my idea of the world. As I grew older and got my first camera in 2008, I learned to translate that love of stories into photographs of anything and everything I’ve encountered. Since then, I’ve always made it a point to inject a sense of wonder and creativity into every shot I take. Eventually, it lead me to a whole world of amazing possibilities - weddings.
 I first started way back in 2010, learned under some of the best wedding and portrait photographers and never looked back since. This paved a path towards something that fulfills me artistically and keeps me sleepless at night with all the amazing ideas floating in my head. I love the thrill of weddings and the nostalgic atmosphere the day brings upon my creative side.


  1. ShaYeasy February 23, 2017 at 10:41 AM - Reply

    Hey there! I’m planning to upgrade my Nikon D5000 into something better but I’m afraid I can’t spend too much. What do you think?

    • mm
      Julio Munar February 23, 2017 at 5:03 PM - Reply

      When it comes to shooting in bad light, full frame is the way to go. Getting a 2nd hand Nikon D700 or a D610 will not only address your need for a new camera, but they’re really affordable as well. Make sure to get a good unit, one that has a reasonable amount of shutter life to them.

  2. The44500 February 24, 2017 at 11:46 PM - Reply

    I’m starting to shoot concerts and man, it’s fun and really hard at the same time. What’s a surefire way nail those shots?

  3. mm
    Julio Munar February 25, 2017 at 10:17 AM - Reply

    One thing I’ve learned is to review the performances of the artist you’re shooting online. This is done to see how they perform onstage and how you can shoot them accordingly. Another thing you can do is pre-focus you shot and wast for the right moment. In this way, you don’t need to wait for your auto focus to act when that moment arrives.

  4. Clipping Path Service Company April 18, 2017 at 8:58 PM - Reply

    These are very useful tips for taking photos when lighting situation is not good. Love them some much. Is there any digital camera that automatically can tackle the problem?

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