Creating a portrait by candlelight

Fire flickering warm light, reflected from the face, and by subjects – thus obtained the stunning romantic pictures. However, a photographer working in such conditions is unlikely to be easy, because the lighting in this case is very low.

The obvious nuances of this work

First – turn off the flash. Certainly, the flash is needed, where the light level is low. But when it is used it is impossible to display the candle light, its heat. A small, even catastrophically small amount of light is forcing the photographer to shoot with slow shutter speed. In order to avoid unnecessary movement of equipment at such shooting using a tripod. Jitter can be completely eliminated, if you do the shutter remotely.

To enhance the light level using a larger number of candles. It is understood that the light they emit, will be more vivid, and then you will get some more flexibility in the hardware settings. Candles should not be grouped very close to the subject. Location candles “cohesive” group can lead to the formation of hard shadows. However, this effect can also be used, although in most variants better still ensure evenness of light. Be prepared for the fact that you have a certain time to experiment with a number of candles, and with options for their placement. The optimal location can be considered one more candles on one side and some – other. This method allows you to create a good and at the same time the soft side lighting.

Some practical tips

If you’re shooting by candlelight at the table, be sure to cover the surface of the table with a white tablecloth. This tablecloth will serve as an additional natural reflector, whereby the pictures will turn out softer. Similar effects have and the white walls and ceilings.

Choosing from multiple lenses, prefer to “fast”, because the maximum iris opening will help you miss the greatest amount of light.

As for the composition, when such a recording, it must be simple. Minimum details in the frame, which would detract from the story – that the key to successful shooting. Add a glass of wine can be romantic and mysterious – a mask or cape. You can leave a candle in the frame or, alternatively, to remove them – it all depends on your goals and vision of the story.

To compensate for the lack of light can increase the shutter speed. However, an increase in exposure can lead to the fact that the shot hit extraneous movement – for example, the flame of the candle. However, it all depends on the specific shooting conditions – smeared picture excuse to reduce exposure.

Of course, to somehow compensate for the lack of light, you can increase the shutter speed. But remember, increasing the shutter speed, you increase the chances to capture the “extra” side of the movement (for example, a candle flame). By the way, along with candles, you can shoot not only portraits of people but also objects, obtaining an attractive still life. It is also important creative approach, although much depends on the experience of the photographer. Most importantly – do not be afraid to experiment, if successful he will find you.


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