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Photography at Night – Tips & Tricks For Photographing Your Family in Low Light

by Erin Peloquin on August 26, 2010 · 4 comments

The photography class I’ve been taking (Bring on the Night by Austin Photography Workshops) is wrapping up tonight.  I will miss the class, and the 3 hours a week dedicated to practicing with my camera.  There is simply nothing like an in person class for improving skills.

The subject matter was way out of the ordinary for me.  There are no traditional portraits in the images that I captured.  However, much of what I learned can be applied to getting great pics of your children in low light situations.  Here are some of my thoughts:

Be on the lookout for "cool" scenesCapture your family's nighttime routines, and the not-so-routine moments too.
Shoot through windowsNot your neighbor's window, of course. Maybe snap a pic of Dad reading to your kids through the bedroom window. Capture beautiful lighting and reflections.
Look for reflectionsDo you have a mirror in your dining room? Feed the family, light some candles and grab your camera.
Use shutter speed creativelyUse a shutter speed of 1/30 of a second or less to blur out that tricycle or a running kid. A blurred child running past a seated, in focus child says a lot about personalities.
Embrace the inevitable soft focusIt's going to happen when shooting in low light. Make art out of it. Let the colors tell the story, rather than the details.

Tell StoriesImages that leave questions unanswered often create the best stories.

Don't worry about White Balance. The lighting adds to the effect.Lighting with color tints adds to the nighttime feel of your images.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

TJ McDowell August 26, 2010 at 1:23 pm

So do you usually just put your white balance on auto when you’re shooting at night?


admin August 28, 2010 at 8:47 am

Hi TJ,

I shoot in RAW, so white balance settings don’t apply. But, once I import the images into Lightroom, I don’t spend a lot of time perfecting the white balance. I either leave it as is or click on Auto White Balance. Clicking on Auto would be approximately the same as using Auto WB when shooting JPEGs.



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