Shooting Inside - Low Light Photography

Review by Samuel Ogunlaja

Visiting "Terracota Warriors" exhibition at Te Papa with my Canon, handheld. By Darshan Singh.

Initial Thoughts


This picture is absolutely brilliant! One immediately striking thing is that the main subject (the horses) stands out from the entire frame and immediately captures viewers’ attention. Another commendable thing is the photographer’s use of the stage light available which he successfully harnessed to ensure it evenly spread light on all sides of the subject, effectively causing a fading blackout along the sides of the subjects. The lighting provokes dramatic scenery which is highly complementary for subtle narration of an ancient history.


The picture is also well centered and evenly framed, adopting the rule of thirds composition - The rule of thirds states that a picture should be divided into nine equal grids; and the most important elements should be placed across the intersections in the grids. This picture adopts that method as the photographer ensures the horses rest on the lower line of the grid.

Rule of thirds grid

It is also worthy of note, in terms of the composition, that the photographer took care to ensure almost equal spaces at both sides of the picture.


However, as perfect as this picture looks from the first glance, there are few things to point out which could have been avoided or improved upon by the photographer.


Motion Blur


Ordinarily, this isn’t an obvious one, but when the picture is enlarged to a certain extent, there is presence of motion blur spreading from the left to the right of the picture. This could have been as a result of the photographer reducing the shutter speed to allow for more light in the camera due to the low light situation. A reduction of shutter speed is a better way of shooting in low light than increasing ISO which could have caused digital noise to the picture. However, the lowering of the shutter speed means the camera is very sensitive to shakes which cause the motion blur. These blurs could have been avoided through extra care by the photographer to ensure the camera doesn’t shake at all with the use of a sturdy tripod with or without the use of a remote trigger.


Distractions


There are a couple of distractions in the picture which may call viewers’ attention away from the subject. First off, is the obvious presence of gold lettering just above the subject which is quite sharp to see. Unless there is an intentional inclusion by the photographer in a bid to tell a story, the lettering appears distracting and unnecessary. This should have either been avoided when shooting the picture or by cropping it out in post-production. Another distracting detail is the presence of a horn-like material just around the head of the first horse from the left which could be removed using the clone stamp tool (or any other alternative tool) in Photoshop to give a better looking image.


After removing distractions in Photoshop.

Conclusion


This picture is near perfect but the photographer needs to be more mindful of little distracting details when shooting and in post-production edits.


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