Shooting Challenge: Dark Photography

Illustration for article titled Shooting Challenge: Dark Photography

It's daylight savings time. And you know what that means. The world goes dark for the foreseeable future. Let's make the best of it, and for this week's Shooting Challenge, let's photograph really dark stuff.


The Challenge

Take a low key photo. Or just photograph something that's really dark.

The Technique

Low key photography is all about limiting your light sources in dark areas to celebrate shadow rather than light. But how can you take photographs this way when our cameras are so often preset to overexpose scenes with as much legibility as possible?


Here's a great tutorial that will teach you how. The secret? Well don't shoot during the day, obviously. And don't let your camera compensate for the darkness with a slower shutter speed (which allows the lens to collect more light) or high ISO (which makes the camera sensor more receptive to tiny bits of light).

The Example

Our lead image, by flickr's Sean McGrath. It's technically a studio photograph, but don't be afraid to venture outside at night, looking for scenes illuminated by single street lights, etc.


The Rules

1. Submissions need to be your own.

2. Photos must be taken this week.

3. Explain, briefly, the equipment, settings, technique and story behind shot.

4. Email submissions to, not me.

5. Include 970px wide image (200KB or less) AND a natively sized image in email. I know that your photo may not fall into those exact high rez dimensions, so whatever native resolution you're using is fine.


6. One submission per person.

7. Use the proper SUBJECT line in your email (more info on that below)

8. You agree to the Standard Contest Rules - though we DO accept non-US resident submissions.


9. If the image contains any material or elements that are not owned by you and/or which are subject to the rights of third parties, and/or if any persons appear in the image, you are responsible for obtaining, prior to submission of the photograph, any and all releases and consents necessary to permit the exhibition and use of the image in the manner set forth in these rules without additional compensation. If any person appearing in any image is under the age of majority in their state/province/territory of residence the signature of a parent or legal guardian is required on each release.


Send your best photo by Monday, November 10th at 10 AM Eastern to with "Dark" in the subject line. Save your files as JPGs, and use a FirstnameLastnameDark.jpg (970px wide) and FirstnameLastnameDarkWallpaper.jpg (2560px wide) naming conventions.

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On the timeframe in which the picture must be taken. Do you mean since last Sunday or just from today (Friday) to Monday morning?

Any clarification appreciated.