Help Photographing Halloween events in low light with a Canon Rebel XT?


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Aug 11, 2010
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I am a little frustrated. I have a Canon Rebel XT DSLR with an 18-55mm lens. I am having a terrible time getting photographs to come out in low light. I specifically need to be able to get shots this October at Halloween events in different them parks. It is not pitch black, but it is a low light environment.

I did some research and I was not sure what to make of it. I think I need a better lens? I understand the whole bit about needing to use a higher ISO and a faster shutter speed, but that doesn't appear to help that much.


hmm I recognise this place! And some of you!
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May 1, 2008
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"Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson is a good guidebook for understanding exposure and how the three different settings (aperture, shutter speed and ISO) interact together and how they each affect your end photos - you might ifnd it a good support book (many here do)

If you want to shoot in conditions where there is little light you have 3 options:
1) Raise your ISO to a higher value - the cost of this is increased noise in your final shot, however it means that you can use faster shutter speeds in dimmer light. Noise is generally always preferable of motion blur so helping to get your shutter speed up is important

2) Use a wider aperture (smaller f number) the wider your aperture the more light you let through the lens to your sensor - however the cost of this is reduced depth of field in your shots and that means your focus has to be spot on otherwise it will fail.

3) Add more light to the subject - reflectors (cheapest) and flash units are the approach here - this has the bonus that it means you can keep a lower ISO and a smaller aperture; whilst still having enough light to take the shot. Note that flash can be difficult to get used to but persistance and practice can give great results even with simple setups.

For your situation you could look at the following:
Canon 50mm f1.8 - cheapest lens on the market, small and lightweight but it has good optical quality, very good when you consider its price. This lets you get your lens a lot more open than your current zoom lens - good for focusing (more light through the viewfinder) and for taking shots.

Speedlite flash - this is more budget limited and how much you have to spend is key to what you end up with. There are a lot of cheaper 3rdparty brands as well as the canon (430EX2 would be a good starting point ideally).

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