The Basics – Capturing Light

Low light Photography is no different from daylight Photography it just takes a bit more thought and planning, and patience.

Remember the three things that dictate the amount of light needed to give the optimum exposure value, the exposure triangle.

  • Aperture size
  • Shutter speed
  • ISO

What Do You Need

Apart from your camera, this list of items is a suggested starting point.

  • Tripod
  • Torch
  • Flash gun and if you have them, flash triggers
  • Remote shutter release


In addition to your camera equipment don’t forget to look after yourself so make sure that you have.

  • Warm clothing
  • Suitable footwear
  • An umbrella
  • Bin liner
  • Small towel

Make sure you are with someone else so you can look out for each other.

Camera Settings

As a starting point you might like to select the following settings.

  • Mode select to APERTURE PRIORITY
  • Aperture to f8-f11
  • ISO 100

With these settings you will need to have your camera on a tripod as your shutter speed is going to be quite long depending on the amount of ambient light available, use a cable/remote shutter release if you have one, if not set up your delayed shutter release. remember to switch off any image stabilisation whilst your camera is on your tripod.


Suggested Camera Settings

  • Mode select to MANUAL
  • Aperture to f8-f11
  • Shutter speed 30 seconds (to start with)
  • ISO 100

Definitely you will need to use your tripod and cable/remote shutter release. A good tip here is to make sure you have a piece of black card with you.

Suggested Method:

Release the shutter whilst holding the black card directly in front of your lens. when you see the first indication of any fireworks, remove the card until the firework has finished, replace the card until you see the next firework.

If your shutter isn’t staying open long enough switch it to BULB, you will have to keep your shutter open manually in this mode.

Remember these camera settings are a suggested starting point you will have to adjust your own settings to satisfy the situation/subject you are trying to capture, and how you want the image to look.