Low light during model photography!

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by ladshead, Feb 27, 2009.

  1. ladshead

    ladshead TPF Noob!

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    I used to do a bit of landscape photography a few years ago but have since forgotten just about everything to do with photography.

    I am now taking a few photos of models, which are often in low lighting conditions and the result is that my photos are very grainy. With the flash on and in automatic mode the photos look stark with deep dark shadows. Using manual settings and with the flash off the photos are golden, grainy and often out of focus.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. adamwilliamking

    adamwilliamking TPF Noob!

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    Some information that might be helpful in giving you the advice you need would be what shutter speed you're forced to use in these scenarios. Also what lenses you are using would help. By flash and automatic do you mean the built in flash? nothing good ever came from that. The fact that the manual setting exposures become grainy tell me that your camera is on auto iso mode and the camera is boosting it to 800 possibly 1600 to try and even come close to exposure.
     
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    You need light to make an exposure...if you don't have much light, then the shutter has to stay open longer to get enough light....but of course, a longer shutter speed will mean that movement (of the camera or the subject) will cause blur. Grain/noise comes from using a high ISO and underexposure.

    So the answer is to add more light...flash for example.

    Of course, your flash makes the models look terrible...it's probably the flash that is built into the camera...meaning that the light is coming from the same angle that the camera sees...making it very 'flat'. The key to good lighting is to get the light away from the camera so that you can get 'modeling' which gives your subjects shape and form.
     
  4. MACollum

    MACollum TPF Noob!

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    You need more light. Sounds like you're having white balance issues, too-high ISO, and motion blur from slow shutter speeds. Either use flash or find another way to get more light so you can use a lower ISO and faster shutter speed. If possible, shoot in RAW and fixing the white balance will be much easier.

    Posting an example would make it easier to pinpoint the issue :D
     
  5. ladshead

    ladshead TPF Noob!

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    Many thanks guys. I think you've hit the nail on the head.

    As an example, my last set of photos were taken indoors with only bed side lighting at f/3.5, 1/25 sec and ISO 1600. I've just bought an external flash but even with that I'm struggling to gain enough light to reduce the ISO and decrease noise.

    I will nearly always be working indoors. Is it as simple as 'buy a lighting kit'?
     
  6. LarryD

    LarryD TPF Noob!

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    It's been a long time since I've done indoor work, but with photography, it is light that you paint your pictures with..

    Without it, you can't do anything..

    So, yes it is simple....

    Now, getting the light where you want it is the more difficult and creative part..

    Learn how to use a diffuser on your flash, and how many stops you need to compensate for a pleasing cast....get a couple of reflectors to reflect the available light back into the shadows.........and don't be afraid to get these close, yet still out of the frame.... and the most important is positioning your subject for the most flattering available light to start with..

    Kick it around....take lots of shots........but make sure you carefully document each one to know what works and what doesn't...
     

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