extra lighting equipment is not required. Subject
distance, when not using flash, has no effect on
exposure; therefore, you can easily photograph distant
subjects that could not otherwise be photographed using
flash or some other means of auxiliary lighting. With
existing light, you can make pictures that could not be
taken with other types of lighting; for example, flash
may not be appropriate during a change of command
ceremony or chapel service. Not only can the flash
disturb the proceedings, but it may not carry far enough
to light the subject adequately.
For existing light pictures, your camera should be
equipped with a fast lens-at least f/2.8, but preferably
about f/1.4. The camera shutter should have a B or T
setting, and for exposures longer than about 1/60
second, you need a tripod or other means of supporting
Because the level of illumination for many existing
light scenes is quite low, you may want to consider using
a high-speed film. When making pictures with plenty of
existing light or when you particularly want long
exposures for special effect, you can use a slower film;
however, the advantages of high-speed film are as
Allows you to get adequate exposure for
Allows you to use faster shutter speeds to reduce
camera and image motion.
Permits the use of longer focal-length lenses
when the camera is hand-held.
Allows the use of smaller f/stops for greater
depth of field.
Try not to pose your subject in a position where too much
of the facial features are in shadow, unless you are trying
for a special effect, such as a silhouette. When you
photograph your subject in direct nondiffused sunlight
coming through a window, you have more light to work
with, but the light is contrasty and your subject has a
tendency to squint.
Indoor existing light, artificial or otherwise, may be
quite contrasty; for example, when your subjects are
close to the source of light and well-illuminated, while
other areas of the scene are comparatively dark. By
turning on all the lights in the room, you can make the
illumination more even and provide additional light for
exposure and at the same time reduce the scene contrast.
The contrast created by some artificial lighting can also
be reduced in an average size room by bouncing
auxiliary light off the ceiling or by using reflectors.
Adding auxiliary bounce lighting or reflectors means
you are not making true existing light pictures, but this
extra light helps to reduce contrast without spoiling the
natural appearance of the scene.
When you are making existing-light color pictures
indoors of scenes illuminated by tungsten light, use a
tungsten type of film. When the light for your indoor
color pictures is daylight from a window or skylight, use
a daylight type of color film or use tungsten film with a
No. 85B filter. Always use an exposure meter to
calculate your indoor existing light exposure. When a
bright window is included in the background, take a
closeup meter reading of the subject to prevent the meter
from being overly influenced by light from the window.
Pictures made indoors by existing daylight are
pleasing to the viewer, because of the soft diffused light
and the squint-free expression of your subjects. Open all
the window drapes in the room to get the highest level
of illumination possible. Pose your subject to allow
diffused daylight to fall on the front or side of their face.
Indoor scenes illuminated by fluorescent lights
usually appear pleasing and natural in real life; however,
color pictures of these same scenes often have an overall
color cast that makes them appear unnatural.
Fluorescent light emits blue and green light primarily
and is deficient in red light. Most color pictures made
without a filter under fluorescent light are also deficient
in red and have an overall greenish appearance. Used
correctly, fluorescent light has some advantages over
other types of available light. A room illuminated by
fluorescent lamps is usually brighter and more evenly
lighted than a room illuminated by tungsten lamps. This
higher level of light makes it easier to get enough
exposure for your existing light photography and helps
record detail that may have been lost in the shadow areas
with other types of existing light. When photographing
people, however, fluorescent lighting often causes dark
shadows under the subject's eyes. These shadows cause
the eyes to appear dark and sunk in.
For making color pictures under fluorescent
lighting, a negative color film with the appropriate filter
is most often your best bet. Color negative film has a
wide exposure latitude that permits, to some extent, a
variation in exposure without detracting from the quality
of the finished print. The greenish effect caused by
fluorescent lighting can be partially corrected when the
color negatives are printed.