How to shoot at night?


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Feb 9, 2009
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Does anyone have any tips on using a speedlight in a dark situation? I was taking pictures at a dance this weekend and they all look horrible! I used the speedlight and bounced the light, but still every picture looks like I used the pop-up flash. How do you get away from that harsh flash look?
I will for sure post some examples when I get home from work. :)
Visit my tutorial page (at my sig) for night photography.
The tutorial doesn't address how to take pictures of people at night in situations such as dances, weddings, concerts, ect. That's what I'm having a lot of trouble with. No flash and they are too dark and blurry. With flash they are too bright and harsh.

*I haven't been able to post an example because I am having internet trouble at home and cannot upload pics at work*
One trick to shooting low-light with a flash is to shoot with slow shutter speeds (like 1/30 or so) and bump the ISO some, up to say, 400, so that your settings are like, 1/30, f/5.6, ISO400. The slower speed will let the background burn in so that you get some color and definition.
If I use a slow shutter speed then people will be blurry. How do I take night shots of people in dark rooms?
If you use a slower shutter speed and sync the flash to rear curtian, it will allow you to have nicely exposed background and then the flash will freeze the subject.

Other than that the only way to take pictures of people in a dark room is to use higher ISO (Make better use of avalible light) or Use a flash (Add More Light).
Some examples:

1/15 f/4 ISO800


2 seconds, f/10, ISO400 -- in this one you're starting to lose hard edges on the people in the back of the frame. This one isn't quite the same idea but it's to demonstrate that you can shoot at whatever shutter speed you want when you're shooting with a flash, as long as you're overpowering the ambient.

It's by no means a perfect solution but it's the most straightforward way to get a background with some color and detail when shooting indoors with an on-camera flash.

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