Low light photo tips and examples

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Courtesy of the PureView Club, I was impressed by the range of examples of low light photos taken by Javier Garcia Gonzalo, who clearly specialises in them. He does a good job of explaining what he's doing at each stage, though do bear with the slightly broken English throughout - you'll get the gist. Although demonstrated on the (Symbian) Nokia 808 PureView and (Windows Phone) Lumia 1020, many of the tips may also apply to lesser phones, such as the Lumia 1520 and 920/925, since the Nokia Camera settings-rich interface applies to each, of course.

From the PureView Club article:

Some weeks ago, here at the Club I introduced the young photograper Javier Garcia Gonzalo, a passionate self-taught photographer from Spain. Not only is he a passionate photographer, he’s also a natural born teacher. He works hard on learning how to get the best results from his devices, but he doesn’t keep it all to himself: he loves to share his knowledge and experience.

I love to share tips and tricks too, but I’m sure I never posted something like this, so I’m more than happy to present you with Javier’s short course in mobile low light photography, with no less the 37 of his examples. I took the liberty to share all his examples on Flickr as well (link at the bottom of this post), so you can see the original results of his work.

To the more experienced mobile photographer, a lot of all this will be known, no doubt. I like the fact that his course adresses those who are more or less new to mobile photography, and really would like to get more – or even the best – out of their PureView devices (of course, a lot of his tips can be applied in general).

There then follows sets of low light photos, with the settings used - they should give you a good idea of the sorts of things to fiddle with. For example:

The shutter time is the time the camera is collecting information for the photo, and this can range from very fast speeds, 1/5000s for example, to slower speeds like 2 to even 4 seconds.

The slower the shutter speed is, the less light the camera will pick up and the longer the shutter speed the more light the camera will collect. So, even with a low ISO level you can collect more light than with a high ISO level, if the shutter speed is longer in the first one.

ISO 200 / 2,7s

(Automode)  ISO 800 /  1/8s

There's also good advice on framing and angles, see these examples taken from different viewpoints:

So the photographed object, bridge… make a direction in the picture, creating a depth sensation.

Diagonal from below (river)

Diagonal from above (bridge)

There's also good practical advice on avoiding shake:

We would need a tripod for those photos or at least to hold the phone completely still – which is almost impossible with long exposure time as these. If you don’t have a tripod, try to find something (a wall or the top of a car for instance) to rest your hands while taking the shot.

Also very important: if you’re going to take this kind of photo with the 1020, before press the shutter bottom, be sure you have kept the phone in the tripod for a few seconds, because the picture could be blurred: the OIS could be moving still. It might be wise to use “shutter delay” as well, so the phone will not be hindered by you touch the hardware or screen button.

You will find all Javier’s original shots on the PureViewClub Photostream on Flickr.

An excellent companion tutorial to the various articles we've published here on the All About sites over the years - see, for example:

Source / Credit: PureView Club