Candlelight Techniques

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Grimace, Nov 3, 2006.

  1. Grimace macrumors 68040


    Feb 17, 2003
    with Hamburglar.
    Hey all, I occassionally get asked to take pictures of a small chapel at night, lit only by candlelight -- maybe 60 people, each with a candle.

    Shadows can be quite difficult. Any ideas on how to take photos effectively? I am using a tripod and have some pretty fast lenses. With regard to ISO, do you usually jack it up a bit, or -- as with fireworks photography -- leave it low and allow for a slightly longer shutter time? (Methinks not, but it's worth asking!)
  2. superted666 Guest


    Oct 17, 2005
    How about a very stopped down flash to just add a bit of light to the scene. fire it and combine with long shutter speed and you might get a nice shot
  3. Grimace thread starter macrumors 68040


    Feb 17, 2003
    with Hamburglar.
    Flash isn't really an option for this setting unfortunately. Any thoughts on ISO/shutter speed combos?
  4. Mantat macrumors 6502a

    Sep 19, 2003
    Montréal (Canada)
    The 'pro' way to do this would be:
    - ISO 200 - 400 (max)
    - get a reading of the amount of light on the subject (probably the face) with the desired aperture. This will give you the shutter time for a good exposed face.
    - recompose the picture, go in manual mode, set the previous F/stop and the determined shutter speed.
    -take the picture

    + I would also use bracketing oen stop up and down

    This should give you a good exposure of the face but there are going to be a lot of dark area. In PS, combine the various pics from the the brackets to reduce the light from the candle and increase it from the dark area. (hint: use mask)

    This being said, using a flash for a fraction of the exposure would be much easier and allows lower exposure time which means less possible movement from the subjects.

    Personnaly, I have had good success taking pics with a 50mm 1.8 @ 1/60 with the flash at 1/200 or faster. Pics are sharp and the light isnt overblown.
  5. Mike Teezie macrumors 68020

    Mike Teezie

    Nov 20, 2002
    I'd probably crank up the ISO to 1000-1250, and shoot with my fastest glass.

    Remember that it's dark in there, so the photos are going to be dark. Sounds pretty silly to say, but I have to tell myself that sometimes to try to remember I can't pull miracles out of my glass when I shoot dark places.
  6. cookie1105 macrumors 6502

    Mar 27, 2006
    London, UK
    ISO 200-400 would be ideal, but if your shutterspeed is not fast enough, even a tripod will not help you get a sharp picture because the subject will be moving. Here is an example of a candlelight picture.


    If I remember correctly, I was shooting
    ISO 1600 + noise ninja in pp. But that was handheld. I wouldn't go over ca.1/2s exposure with a tripod because the subjects will be moving.

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