Low-light Troubleshooting


I want to shoot at my brother’s birthday party, but I only have a compact camera. How do I deal with low light? Can you give me some tips?
Debuprasad Datta, Kolkata

There are some Scene Modes that can be of great help while shooting indoors in low-light conditions. The High Sensitivity scene mode increases the ISO, thus allowing you to shoot sharp images without a flash. The Night Portrait mode will fire the flash and freeze your subject,but will also capture some ambient light, thus giving you a much more pleasing effect as compared to the regular Auto mode.

Also, when it is time to cut the birthday cake, use the Candlelight Scene Mode to ensure that your images retain the lovely warmth of the birthday candles. Always remember to switch on Face Detection so that the people within your scene are sharp and well exposed.

If you do not wish to use the automated modes, you can try increasing the ISO in the Program or Manual modes, to a value of 800 or higher. While this may increase the noise in your photograph, it will not be visible in small prints or while viewing the images on a computer screen.

Alternatively, you can use the Aperture Priority mode and choose a wide aperture value like f/2.8. You can also use the Shutter Priority mode to choose a slow shutterspeed of 1/20sec or lesser. However, at these settings, your images may be a little blurry. Therefore, set the camera on a tripod or keep it on a flat surface like a table or shelf to minimise camera shake.

Tags: Low light, Question of the Day, High ISO, aperture priority, birthday, AUTO MODE