Does anyone know how to set correct exposure in low light? I saw lot of recommendations in internet (open aperture,...), but i still can't get the correct exposure for some specific situations.

For example, there was a local concert here, and i needed to take a picture of group of dancing people - my problem was, that result was blurred (people, not background), depth of field was too shallow, so only some people of group were sharp, and there was also a lot of noise, because of high ISO. I couldn't use flash, because it was too large area for it.

What did i wrong? And how should i change ma exposure settings next time?


2 Answers 2


If the exposure is correct, then it is not an exposure problem. The problem is that you are working in difficult conditions, with low light and people moving. There is really no good solution. You either push the ISO until you have an acceptable aperture (for depth of field) and shutter speed (for avoiding motion blur), or you use the flash.

For these kind of situations, an off-camera flash, remote-triggered, can save the day (or the night...), if you can manage to put it in a convenient position. Otherwise, get a wide angle, get close to your subjects, and use the flash on camera, or hand-held.


This is a common problem with indoor / night live event photography. I've battled it as well. You need low f/stop, or your shutter is too slow and people are motion blurred. But with the low f/stop, your depth of field is very shallow. Furthermore, High contrast between stage lights and unlight areas is hard to deal with too. I think your best bet is:

  • Shoot in Manual, expose for the highlights, and boost shadows in post (this will mean a bit more noise, so you'll need to keep ISO lower than you would like to, but you'll be shooting higher shutter speed and not loose any highlight data)
  • Get solo shots of individuals in motion at f/1.2-2.8, don't worry about the others being out of focus. Use that shallow depth of field as a composition tool to emphasize the individual.
  • You can try following the person as they move - this will make everything else even more blurry, but if you're lucky you'll get the face sharper than you would otherwise and have a cool motion blur effect on everything else.
  • For the full group shots, use a tripod and wait for a pause. There are usually more than you'd think.
  • Use wireless, off-camera flash close to the stage. Maybe multiple flashes. Maybe use slow shutter speed + rear curtain sync for a fun motion blur effect. Read the Strobist blog for more about that. (I've lit ~50ft x 150ft rock faces with flash, I'm sure the stage is smaller)

But... I suspect what you really want is to rent a Sony A7S(II) or Nikon D5. They have really impressive high ISO performance. It feels like cheating. (I've only personally used the Sony, and was very satisfied)

  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeap. In my opinion better high ISO response is the main reason to upgrade a camera body. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rafael
    Jun 17, 2016 at 18:53

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