Low Light Challenge

Any photographer that has had the opportunity to take photos of a wedding reception or similar event knows the challenge of shooting in low light. I always joke that they ask us as photographers to take photos to document the memorable event, then turn the lights off to make sure it isn’t too easy for us!

Last night I had the opportunity to attend our church Christmas Activity, themed as “Back to Bethlehem.” Everyone was invited to come in their best costume effort, which included many in bathrobes and sheets on their heads. I was thoroughly impressed by the decorations, program and effort put in to making this evening a great one for everyone involved.

As I mentioned, the lights were off other than some lamps and Christmas lights strung on the “inns,” so I was going to have to either use a flash or push my camera’s high ISO capability to the max. At events like this I really like to avoid using a flash as much as possible as I think they are distracting and fail to capture the mood of the event. Fortunately I also have some decent lenses that give me wide apertures to compliment the high ISO.

Here’s a wide shot of the room from one direction:

If you think I’m crazy and that room looks plenty light, that photo was shot at 6400 ISO at f/2.8. It was d-a-r-k!

I quickly figured out the best “people” shots were going to be as people were at the inns getting the food for their meals. Getting the people near the Christmas lights proved excellent lighting with a dark ambience with faces highlighted. I jumped around the food lines and tried to catch people as unaware as possible to get candid looks. Fortunately my neighbors have grown very used to me being the local event photographer! Here are a few of my favorites from the night.

The musical program was also a wonderful part of the evening, with several numbers provided by church members along with a crèche. This post is getting rather long, but here are a few others from that portion of the evening.

I hope everyone enjoys the photos I was able to get despite the challenging lighting conditions. The full gallery of photos from this event can be viewed on my photo site.