May 2, 2016
Shooting in low light is tough. Especially for film shooters! We love light glowy natural light photos, but sometimes you just have to make it work inside! I’ve had a few couples ask to shoot in bars or cafes and usually we can make it work with some window light, but this particular bar was actually partially underground which meant 0 natural light. High speed film like Ilford 3200 can work great in a situation like this with a video light, but it was so dark I actually decided that a high ISO digital image would actually look better. Choosing between a film stock or between film and digital is a lot like a painter choosing their paints, and you have to choose what will make the image look its best, which in this instance was shooting at ISO 6400 on my Nikon DF. The DF has incredible ISO retention and very little noise so you can go to those high ISO’s without too much grain and it actually looks a lot like it was shot on Ilford 3200. Now the colors in this bar were absolutely horrendous because it was bright orange fluorescent light. I could have brought along a few flashes and gotten a natural skintone, but I wanted the photos to blend seamlessly with the color palette and tone of the rest of the shoot, which had been shot outdoors on film so going black and white worked perfectly in this instance! The answer for shooting in low light should most definitely not always be turn it to black and white, but rather it should be thought out and a purposeful decision, and when it is it turns out pretty beautifully!