that little sliver of light (a low light how-to)

I wasn't planning to take or post any photos today... in fact, the only picture I planned to take was an iPhone shot of Livia's ankle bracelet, because, well... is there anything cuter than a toddler with an ankle bracelet? ;-) After I took a handful of iPhone shots, I decided to get out the real camera. If I knew I was going to post these, I would have tried to be a little more creative but I'll have to save that for another day.

On a side note, I am loving the switch from PC to Mac... but I'm still having color issues. My calibration software arrived in the mail today, so I'll see if that helps. There is definitely a difference between my iPad and Mac (not to mention an even bigger difference compared to my PC and an outrageous difference compared to hubby's laptop). But you know me... I don't like to mess around with color too much; whatever it is, it is. Except for the b&w's, most of the shots below are close to SOOC. In Lightroom I added +3 magenta and +6 brightness and called it a day.

We started with a bit of a dress riding up/wardrobe malfunction but I didn't think you could see anything too terribly revealing, and I loved the way the light was so dramatic. (We were in a totally dark basement with one shade pulled up, above her to the right of the camera).

You can get a better idea of how I positioned her in this shot. The window is now behind her. (I don't want to draw attention to bad color issues, but on my screen I see a hint of green in her hair which drives me crazy, but not enough to mess with it. I'll let you know what happens after I calibrate. My Mac in general is darker and greener than my PC so I'm totally confused by the whole thing).

To take low light shots like these, you need a room that is completely dark, with just a tiny patch of light. That little sliver of light is key to low-light photography. It was totally cloudy out today, so it doesn't have to be a patch of sun; just a small area of light. I shot these in AV mode (and used the evaluative metering mode) and underexposed by maybe 2 stops or so? I can't remember for sure, but that's close. There's no set number of stops to underexpose by, it depends on your lighting situation and the effect you're trying to achieve. I've found that I like to start around -2 stops, and go from there.

If you have any questions be sure to let me know, and I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! xo


Half Gaelic, Half Garlic! said...

Love every last image!

Oh I feel so much better after reading your color woes. I too see a lot of green and yellow on my MAC. Even with the calibration I see a tinge. That being said, I think I finally found my "happy place" on my monitor.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend and a great time tonight. I heard you are going out for a very special dinner..... ENJOY and in case I don't get by tomorrow, HAPPY BIRTHDAY DREW!



Natalie said...

These are lovely! I must try this low-light technique soon!

Calibration woes will soon be a thing of your past. I'm waiting for your calibration software report. ;)

Andrea said...

You already know how much I love these! ;) Of course the black and whites are my favorite. You're kind of making me love the low light photography. And as always I love how you explained how you got these great shots. Since we've chatted about AV mode a couple of times, I've been shooting AV more. Like you, I still don't completely get the manual shooting thing.
Lovely shots, Karli!
What kind of Mac did you get? Desktop or laptop? That's what I'm saving my money for. :)

Elena said...

These are gorgeous! The shading really makes them dramatic; my kind of photo! I love the anklet too! How adorable!

Kristal said...

Love the lighting. And I find my mac to be green too, but I'm bad and haven't calibrated it. What did you get to do it? I need to look into that.

Naomi said...

Love! I adore the black and whites. They are beautiful. Im kind of on a black and white kick right now :). And you must have a very keen eye. I dont see green hair! They are perfect! :)

Skye said...

I love lighting like this- so pretty! I love the dark with the lights - such a contrast - love it. And of course it helps when you have such a good model!

Once you get your calibration software, and 'set it up' and calibrate... et us know - I am curious. I never knew something like that existed but never could figure out how to make colors work right from pc to pc... and now with mac, I do notice another difference too. I think something looks good, then I have it printed or put it up on my blog and it's horrid. I read about calibrating on Clickin Moms ... and I think I might want to do it. Let us all know how ti goes!

stacey said...

Well on my Mac they look fabulous. Absolutely adore these, Karli.

Brooke said...

Love the dramatic feel of these shots!!! Could little TT get any more adorable?!?!? I can't believe how big she is getting suddenly.

Gina @ Gigi Marie Photography said...

I agree with Lisa- the whole set is gorgeous with that selective light. But then again- I always know you will impress with everything you do!

Liza said...

Great tutorial.

Kat said...

that last photo is spectacular!

Andee said...

Your pictures are so amazing. I am horrified sometimes when I look at my pictures on our Mac. I do all my work on my laptop. Sometimes I open my site on the Mac and Eeek with horror and say to myself that is not how they are supposed to look!!! Your pictures look stunning on my laptop!

Michelle Reed said...

Wow, lady!! Yet again, I'm blown away by the light and stories in your photos! (not that I want TT to grow up too fast, but) I'm excited for the day when she's 16, than 25, then has her own TT (yes, please do that mommy-curse! haha) and looks back on all of these -- what a beautiful story of her childhood!!

You are definitely rockin' the light, my dear friend!!! Hum, I guess while I have no problem overexposing, I don't ever really think of underexposing, especially by that much, but I'm gonna have to give it a (purposeful) try!!!


Jeska said...

I LOVE it. Your kids are going to have the best photos ever. And I know I have said that a thousands times but it's true!