How To: Take Great Naturally Lit Pictures with Your Point-and-Shoot
Hot poop. It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything. My excuse: I’m in South Korea. What’s your excuse for not getting work done?
On this trip, I find myself taking quite a few pictures–as you would on any trip I suppose. I discovered that the flash is “evil” in the programming sense (i.e. you should only use it when you absolutely need it). Natural light, in almost any photograph, looks much better and the people don’t look like ghosts.
Because of the way camera technology works, when you don’t use the flash, you’ll need to hold very still. Or you will need a tripod. I don’t know about you, but when I go out with friends I don’t carry a tripod with me. So there are a series of steps that I do to take pretty good low-light pictures:
- Seek out a sturdy object in your environment. Preferably one that you can set the camera down on.
- Turn the flash off.
- Set your camera to the timer function. (You know, the one that takes the picture after 10 seconds and plenty of blinking.)
- Turn down the ISO as low as it will go. (Optional, but it makes the picture have less grain.)
- Have everyone hold still. (Important!)
- Let the camera do the rest.
With any luck, you will have a great, naturally-lit picture. This does have some drawbacks, such as not really being able to shoot candids. Also, you need a ledge if you want to be in the picture.
In the past, I have pushed the side of my camera against a pole or a wall for added stability when I was the photographer. As long as you keep pushing, the picture should turn out okay.
Here are two example pictures to demonstrate. These are pictures of the group I’m with in Korea on a boat cruise on the Han River in Seoul. Neither of them are very good, but I hope you get the picture. (Zing!)