LOW LIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY – Taking BETTER shots in BAD conditions.

(upbeat music) – What’s up everybody,
Peter McKinnon here. Welcome to Toronto. Today we’re talk about
low light photography. I know it doesn’t really
look low light right now, it’s because it’s the middle
of the day it is like 11:30. I just need to find out
where to pay for parking. (upbeat music) (engine starting) Had to park like 100 miles away because the underground
was too low for this truck. (upbeat music) we’re here at my friend Jon Simo’s studio which is called Neon Demon. You may have seen it in vlogs before. This guys found like every
possible neon sign know to man. I’m pretty sure every
sign that has ever existed that’s neon is in his studio. So, let’s go check it out, and talk about low light photography. This is a fun building. – Here he is!
– Hello! – Whoa, dude look at the color
that comes outta that room. (suspenseful upbeat music) Look at the first thing he asks me is, if I want a coffee, yes. Dude, yes. Having great time. Let’s get down to the brass tax of things. When you are take low light photography, when you’re taking pictures
in low light settings, the biggest thing people
are always running into is either the photos are too
noisy or they’re blurry because everything’s moving to fast and you shutter speeds not fast enough to keep up with the movement. Those are usually the biggest culprits of having difficulty shooting
something in low light. Like I just said, shutter speeds
gonna be one of the things you wanna keep in mind all the time. When you’re shooting in low light try to always double your focal length. If you’re shooting with
a 50 mil try to make sure your shutter speeds at
least at 100 millimeters, that’s gonna at least give
you relatively decent speed to keep up with what’s
happening in a scene. A lot of people will say,
my kids are in doors, it’s at night they’re running around, or my pets are running
around, I try to take a photo, and then they’re half blurry, because they’re moving through the scene. You have dog running through the frame, and you snap that photo,
but the dogs moving faster than your shutter speeds
able to open and close. If you are in a low light
situation and you’re saying, but Pete, I put my shutters
speed to like one over 20, like 125th of a second, and
then everything’s too dark. That’s when you have
to compensate by adding that fake light if you will, the ISO to compensate by
bumping that ISO up higher, which lets you in turn make
that shutter speed faster. So, it’s gonna capture photo
faster in low light situations by bumping up that ISO, but keep in mind the
higher you bump up that ISO the more grainy it’s gonna get, the more noisy you’re gonna
introduce into your photos. That brings up point number two, you’re shooting in low light,
and you have shutter speed, and that sweet spot, your ISO set to maybe 3,200, whatever,
maybe even higher 6,400. You get those photos
back in the light room and you think, it’s little bit grainy. You can go down to the
luminance adjustment and that’s on the right side,
right here, I’ll show you. If you move that luminance
over a little bit to the right, it’s gonna start to smooth out that photo. Don’t go to far, though. If you go to far with that luminance you’ll just look like a plastic balloon. You’ll just look like a balloon animal, everything will look terrible. Make sure you’re in that nice sweet spot, because sometimes a little bit of noisy, a little bit of grain
actually looks good in photo. There’s a lot of time I’ll
add grain to something to give it a more stylized texture. You guys hear me say texture all the time. So, that would be point number two, is make sure that you use
your luminance adjustments within light room to compensate for those noisy low light photos. So, you’ve got shutter speed, making sure we’re at the
proper shutter speed, and we got the ISO, making sure we’re bumped at the right ISO, and using luminance within light room. Jon just brought up a good point, when we’re talking about shooting raw. You want to make sure
that you’re shooting raw especially in low light situations, because you can really
bring a lot back and out of a raw photo oppose to
shooting something like JPEG. So, it’s great to know the
limitations of your camera and how far you can push a raw photo. Because, something that’s shot in camera that’s looks a little but
to low or under exposed, you would be very surprised
as to how far you can bring that raw photo when you are
shooting in post after the fact. A shot that might look like this, can then look like that
when you’re finished. And, that’s all just moving the data that’s stored inside raw photo, and it’s not actually damaging
the photo in the process. If you’re shooting something like JPEG you’re not gonna be able
to have that flexibility without damaging the file
and killing the high res that you paid for with the camera
that you’re using right now. Another tip with shooting in low light, is you’re gonna make sure you’re
shooting wide open aperture as wide open as you can make that lens go. Letting in the most amount of light, which let’s you shoot
at higher shutter speed. All of this stuff kind of
circles back to camera basics that we talked about,
I’ll link it up there. But, those are very important aspects, because if your shoot at five, six, or F8, that lens, that opening is so small letting in such little amounts of light, that you’re not actually being
able to capture anything. So, you wanna make sure that you’re opening that up nice and wide. Now, lens that have faster
apertures, that are wider, they’re gonna be more expensive, so that a little bit of a trade off. But, you use all of these things together to compensate for the lack of light. Shutter speed, the aperture, the ISO, and trusting your raw files. I wanna give you guys a quick tour of this Neon Demons Studio, it’s so awesome. Jon’s put so much work into
a bunch of different scenes and signs, and restoring things, and making it just sick place to shoot. So, full disclosure, I have
been here for nearly two hours and done nothing but like
marveled at this stuff, so. Now, it’s time to crunch this entire video into the next 20 minutes. But, this is the TV scene, all of these TV’s turn on and off, and display all this cool static, which looks super cool and super stylized. And then, above it you
got a neon sign here, that’s corner number one. Number two, this corner
here, the drug sign, the drug sign is popular
favorite amongst lots of Instagramer’s and people
that come shoot here. It’s that neon blue dope squad sign color, which obviously I’m a
little bit partial to. Also, it’s important to note
there is a perfectly placed whole in the chain, which
we would refer to as the Instagram chain link
whole, because you guys know Instagramer’s love shooting
through chain link wholes. Attention to detail. This is one of my favorite signs, this sign says, this is
Chinese, and I love that, I just think that’s really, really funny. This Corner here is like the bathroom of like a subway stop
after you watched a film and the dude just killed
someone and he’s running into the corner to wash
the blood off his hands, and he’s looking at himself in the mirror, contemplating the choices he’s made. That’s happening in the corner right here. Here’s a closer look at this corner and then if you just move
forward you get that nice, there’s just so many colors. The phone booth, super dope. I fit in it too, like I fit
perfectly in this phone booth. Hello. If I bring you in here
with me and close the door. Will you pass me that Aerosol? I put this in a vlog,
maybe two years ago now. This is the stuff I showed you when we were like doing
some urban exploration and we used this to smoke up the, ooh, moody, right, come
on, like that, super cool. Now, I gotta figure out
how to get out of here. (coughing) I love how colorful this vlog is gonna be. This is the lucky sign and
one of my personal favorites. It’s just really nice, it’s
just yellow, just crisp. So, that the other side
of the phone booth. California sign. Still trying to figure
out where this came from, apparently it was
commissioned for a movie. Jon’s trying to figure
out what movie it was for, which kinda makes it a little
mysterious, really like that. On this side, you have
that fake glass wall that you can spray to make it look
like it’s raining outside. Again, attention to detail. It’s those little clever things that make great photos and great videos. Area 51 straight up, get nothing
done, stand in this corner, and play old school videos
game all day, all day. (playful music) So, if you ever come shoot here, plan for at least half an hour doing this. Rack of sun glasses. Great touch, put these on
get super awesome photos, and like this, like you just saw. So, that’s a fun little touch there. – [Peter] Remember that,
what is this thing? – So, this is my master control unit, I have almost every sign in here rigged up to smart switches. – [Peter] I don’t even have
my house rigged like this. – So, I can do this. And, it’ll turn off. – [Peter] Whoa. Oh, so, you can really
like change the lighting like if you want it to
all be like nice and blue. Then you can just. – Or if you just go like, boom. – [Peter] Oh, that’s sick. – Hey, Siri turn on Area 51. – [Siri] Done. – [Peter] Everyone’s playing
Fortnite, but here we go. You’ve tried to set this space up, so this it tells a story with different neon signs
and things like that. – The best part about neon
is that it tells a story, it’s the only source of
light that does that. And, finding neon on the street that does just that is really difficult. I wanted to make space
people would come in, and experiment, and play, and have fun. – Man, this is the best. Look at this. Thank you to Jon for letting
me actually shoot here. And, do wanna plug just for two seconds? Just cause we gotta a lot plug. – If you live in Toronto
or you’re just visiting I’d love for you to come
by and see the studio. Just hit me up on
Instagram, Neondemonstudio. – [Peter] Sick. And, you’re always adding
to this spot too right? – Yeah, like a new a
sign every couple weeks. – [Peter] Oh my goodness, it’s so sick. Dude, thank you so much for having us. It’s been a blast, thanks for the coffee, and we’ll see you next time, goodbye. Wow, that was as cool as
I thought it would be. I mean, I love my dope squad sign, but being a room filled
with that many signs. There’s honestly there’s
too much to shoot. We only had like two hours set for this, I could have easily taken
like the entire day in there and just kept shooting, so. Jon, thank you again man. That was awesome. More low light photography
tips coming atcha. You know, when I think a tip
for low light photography, that I was just casually
give someone would be don’t be afraid to use the
settings that your camera offers. Technology these days is so good. Even back 15 years ago when we
were shooting with Rebel XT’s and you’d push 800 ISO
in low light situations and it would like you were
shooting with sand on your lens. It’s like a beach. But now, you can shoot 6,400
and up, and it looks so good, so don’t be afraid to bump those settings. That’s what you’re paying for
is the quality of that sensor being able to shoot in
such low light conditions. Don’t not use it because you’re afraid that it might be grainy. It’s 2018, cameras are
meant to do this now. I would say, that’s kinda
like causally tip that I would kind of just through out there, just toss it out there. It’s just use your equipment, push it, get what you paid for. (soft electronic music) – Started thinking about
pulled pork on the way home, stopping for pulled pork. They make the best sandwich. I think another important
point when we’re talking about using cameras in low light
is specifically photography. Low light is gonna be a
lot less forgiving when you’re shooting a video,
it’s a lot hard to mask that. Low light video when it get pixelated, it starts getting grainy and
noisy, is a lot harder to fix. And, just a lot harder to
get to look like quality than when you’re shooting photos. You can sometimes, like I said early, low light, and grain actually
look good in photos sometimes, and it’s a lot easier to
clean up using light room. I know this video is title
low light photography and a lot of these principles
sometimes also apply to video, but it is a lot easier to push your gear and your equipment when you
are doing photos versus videos. I’m gonna order a pulled pork sandwich and I think that’s a smart choice. So pumped. Not bad, right. Not bad at all. Thanks for watching. Hit the like button if
you like this video. Smash it, if that’s
something that you’re into. 2018 style subscribe
if you aren’t already. And, I will see you
guys in the next video. I need more neon, goodbye. (suspenseful upbeat music)

100 Replies to “LOW LIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY – Taking BETTER shots in BAD conditions.”

  1. If you guys really wanna see this neon room in action check out Sickick – No Games… dope ass music video thats underappreciated

  2. Just got an older camera that my father didn't want anymore, I'm a newbie at the moment, but I'm already getting kinda curious if I'm very limited by the few choices of ios, shutterspeed and aperture settings. It's an older canon ios 450

  3. Hey Peter,
    I'm interested in how you incorporate grain into your photos. Throughout my photography journey, grain has always been a bit of a stigma for me… so it'd be cool to see how you intentionally use it. 2 minute Tuesday, maybe?

  4. This may sound like quite nonsensical statement but, I'm noticing you have a good radio voice. Lol. May sound weird but I definitely think so.

  5. I'm a little confused with the aperture of my camera (I'm kind of a beginner) because sometimes it's able to open up to f2 or even wider and the next time its not even at f5, what does this have to do with and is there something I can do about it?

  6. @cgmarshall3 my last night shot was at 50 ISO "The Owl Tree" my "Alien" shot was shot at 350 ISO Nikon D750 with Tamron 15-30 mn f 2.8

  7. Everything I shoot in low-light is always like different light-up signs of buildings and streetlights and stuff, nothing else.

  8. YO. I was just saying how on my T3i , 800 ISO was pushing it.
    I shot at 3200 on my EOS R because I was scared to go further (as I should have) & my photos were still a little too dark. I pulled my shadows back in post like WTF! There's NO grain!?

  9. Hi..thanks for the tips..one ques..how to focus on the moving subjects? auto focus seems to be very slow in low light

  10. You should check out God’s Own Junkyard in North East London, there are hundreds or thousands of neon signs in a small space and it is INSANE! http://www.godsownjunkyard.co.uk/

  11. Does anyone happen to know the name of the track that starts playing at 1:10? I need it in my life. edit: Found it finally: Wave Saver – Night Stalker

  12. The music choice for this video was PERFECT! All the neon plus the music; very vintage, Tron like. So awesome!

  13. Whaaaa!? Literally just bought a pair of these goggles from GloFX and the very next page I visit is YouTube where I see them in the thumbnail for this video, only a day after subscribing! Insane!

  14. I have an idea get the James coffee owl as a neon sign. That would look really cool maybe in the house or studio or even in neon demon you decide

  15. Always some great & helpful advice for low light. I’ve been fortunate to invest in some L lenses so low light is a non-issue!


    1. high shutter speed

    2. high iso

    3. wide open aperture

    4. lightroom noise reduction effect

  17. Wow I love the passion you share with neon , I love neon and we have nothing around our area like that, most neon has been replaced with led and it just makes me sad , if we ever do get to Toronto I sure would love to go for a visit and I sure would not want to go shoot for nothing I don't know that it costs but I would give some money for the time I use up because neon is not cheap to run so I would want to chip in .
    Thank you Peter and happy late late birthday, I'm a recent subscriber. If it's ok I would love to show a link to my Instagram to everyone so they can see our area too , I live in a little town called port Angeles, Washington.

  18. You and Brandon Woelfel are my two most favorite photographers and inspired me to get back into photography after I gave up for a while. Love the videos and information you guys provide.

  19. I wish instead of just talking about the tips, the video had focused more on actually showing practical applications of what he's talking about, real examples of challenging situations and how different settings help you overcome that. But this is just repeating the same information that you can already find on thousands of blogs and websites.

  20. I really liked this video. I have never shot in RAW before. I was wondering how you got about shooting in RAW and how did you edited that Boom box pic you took with it. Loved that look. Would love to see a editing video on that

  21. Hi! I need help on choosing what camera i should get. Should i get canon t3i or canon t6? Which one is better ??

  22. I shoot live concert photography. One of the hardest thing to shoot in is low light in a club when the objects are constantly moving. I use a 50mm lens in a club setting. This sometimes works to my advantage as I love black and white photography. Anyway, digging your videos. If you would like to see some of my work, you can go to IG: DennySpinksPhotography

  23. why is the camera moving while he is talking 3:45 . Just look at the top of the screen. Stop MOVING THE CAMERA!!!

  24. Thank you Peter! I'm shooting my first gig tomorrow and it's going to be in low light, so I really appreciate your tips! 😀

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