Many keen camera users have a compact, sophisticated point-and shoot camera which is used for most if not all of their photography needs. Most of these cameras are from manufacturers such as Canon, Sony or Samsung. It the camera is fairly new, it probably features a high megapixel count and a host of other fabulous technical features, not to mention its probably sleek and sexy too.
With all this technology at your disposal, you may well be puzzled and disappointed when you try to take a photo in low light conditions, like at night or indoors away from windows. You may have found that photos you take at night come out either blurry, horribly washed out by the flash, grainy/noisy, lacking in color, or all of the above.
So what is the reason? Every camera is capable of taking clear, concise photos during optimum lighting such as outdoors in the middle of the day. However, it is very difficult for a camera to determine what you see in low light conditions. The main reason or this is that a cameras shutter must stay open longer in order to ensure a bright enough light to take the photo. In addition, it is nearly impossible to hold a camera completely steady therefore causing your photos to be blurry. To compensate for this, you could use flash, although this tends to give people an unnatural complexion or use ISO which unfortunately can add ‘digital noise’ to your photos.
So this is the problem…but what is the solution? Here are a couple of tips to improve your low-light photography:
1) Next time you buy a compact camera, ensure that it has some form of optical image stabilization. This technology, which most new cameras now have, incorporates a moving element inside the camera that compensates for camera shake, meaning that you can use lower shutter speeds and still get a sharp photo. This is a great feature and well-worth paying for.
2) Try turning off the flash and asking your subjects to remain very still. Have your subjects move nearer to you in low-light or simply play around with your cameras Night Mode setting in the menu. It is important to remember that in Night ode, you must remain very still.
3) If the subject of your low-light photo is non- moving such as a building, try bracing the camera against something. A small tabletop tripod is easy to carry and works great, however, in a pinch, a tree or light post can serve the same purpose.
Tobias Sterling is a keen photography enthusiast who enjoys sharing his photography knowledge. You can find all his articles including Photography Beginners Basics and Photography Image Stabilization on Clivir.com