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Tips & Tutorials >> All Tips & Tutorials In Focus: EOS RP- Part9

How to Shoot Captivating Performances Under Low Light with EOS RP

Shooting in low light conditions can be tricky: one must consider the right lighting; control the level of noise in an image; and know how to prevent shooting a blurry photo due to shutter speed or bad focusing. Low light shooting requires a good knowledge of your camera, movements of your subjects, and the light in the environment you are shooting. We speak with professional photographer Marcus Lin, who shot the Live Nation Singapore and Adapt Asia, to find out more.
EOS RP, RF28-70mm f/2L USM lens, f2.0, 70mm, 1/500 sec, ISO1600

Please tell us a little about yourself.

I'm Marcus (IG: @imagin8tv) and I'm a hybrid shooter (which means I do both photography and videography). My content ranges from concerts, products & still life to street photography, and a lot more.

What inspired you in this shoot?

The band and the music they make, of course!
EOS RP, RF28-70mm f/2L USM lens, f2.0, 70mm, 1/500 sec, ISO1600

What are some things photographers should look out for in a low light situation?

In a low light situation such as this, I look out for mainly three things. First, the movement of the subject/subjects–if they are fast or slow, erratic or consistent. Secondly, to find the balance between what ISO to use for that situation. Sometimes a little grain does help to add some dramatisation to the image; personally, I don't always think a clean (less noise) image is a good image. Finally, it would be good to study the light movements during the situation. Lights in a concert usually move according to the song and tempo of the music, in a sort of pattern. Once you've caught that pattern, it'll be easier to adjust your settings on the camera accordingly. 
EOS RP, RF28-70mm f/2L USM lens, f2.0, 33mm, 1/500 sec, ISO1600

What do you think of the EOS RP?

The EOS RP is a small, nifty yet capable camera. The lightweight nature of the camera helped me move quicker when in the photo pit. Its full-frame capabilities definitely helped in such low light situations and the speedy autofocus acquisition of subjects meant I was able to lock on to the artists even though their movements were slightly erratic.
The fact that it is a full-frame camera really did help with maximising the amount of light I was able to capture. Most importantly, the AF was able to nail focus up to EV -5, which is really essential in gig photography because the lights in these gigs are constantly changing; most of the time you're basically shooting in very low light with fast moving subjects. Couple that with Canon's reliable AF servo – the keeper rate was a good 8 out of 10. The multitude of 4,779 focus points on the EOS RP was also a god-send, especially when you need to frame fast moving subjects.

How did you manage between the low light condition and the movements of your subjects?

Finding a balance between shutter speed and ISO is key. For the most part, of course, ideally you'd want your subject to be tack-sharp so a quicker shutter speed like 1/320 (or faster, if you're subject is moving quickly) to freeze motion would be good. But for drummers especially, that may not be enough. So that'll mean having to use a faster shutter, which also means bumping up your ISO, which will introduce more noise into your photo. There's always a trade-off, so it's all about experimenting and finding out what works for you personally. Some people like to freeze motion completely, while others prefer to show some motion blur.
EOS RP, RF28-70mm f/2L USM lens, f2.0, 70mm, 1/500 sec, ISO1600

Did the RF28-70mm f/2L USM lens help you in any way?

Coming from a DSLR (EOS 5D Mark IV) and EF lenses background, I'm grateful for having an additional stop of light from the RF lens. I was definitely happy to go from a (standard) f/2.8 (most of my zoom lenses on the DSLR are at f/2.8 – EF16-35mm III, EF24-70mm II, and EF70-200mm IS II) to a f/2.0. It gave the picture more depth by creating a bit more separation between subject and background, which definitely made it more pleasing to the eye. One feature I noticed from the RF28-70mm was that it rarely hunted for focus, even when the lights were dimmer than usual– this definitely helped and gave me more confidence in the gear I was using.

What is one piece of advice you would give to aspiring photographers?

As photographers, we are always caught up with the technical bits of the camera. And of course, having a set of good gear definitely helps, but never ever (ever) forget about the 'feel' of the photo and why you're squeezing the shutter in the first place: to capture and preserve the moment forever in a photo; telling the story through your eyes. Most importantly, have fun and immerse yourself in the moment!
EOS RP, RF28-70mm f/2L USM lens, f2.0, 60mm, 1/100 sec, ISO1600
Learn more about the RF28-70mm f/2L USM lens or the EOS RP used in this shoot; get more inspirations for shooting in low light or at night in Exploring the City at Night with EOS R; or have fun with Night Photography: How to Shoot Light Painting with EOS R

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