Those who have taken their camera to an event and attempted to take portrait photos of people having fun, dancing, or posing for their camera, and had their photos come out dim or dark, this article is for you.  We have put this article together with input from our associates at Party Photography in Melbourne, Australia.


So you’re photographing a party event and the venue you’re in is dim lit or dark, and you’re finding it hard to take photos of people. Here is a list of things you will need to think about it while doing so;




  • Make sure you are using an external flash attached to your camera. If you are using the pop-up flash that came with your camera, you aren’t a professional. Use an external flash and connect a diffuser to the top to take away any harshness of the flash.
  • This is extremely helpful when it comes to Party Photography!  Bounce your flash off the walls/roof. Ideally roof. Instead of pointing your flash forward into people’s faces, point your flash upwards and bounce it off the roof to get a nice even spread of light. This way you can light up and get some of the party atmosphere in your photo and not just the subjects in the front of the photo.
  • Adjust your flash settings. If you are finding your photos are still coming out much too bright, adjust the exposure settings on the flash either up or down. At first try setting it to -7 or -1 to reduce the brightness of the flash.




So you have your flash sorted, but what about the camera settings?

  • Set your camera into manual mode and focus on 4 main things – the shutter speed, the aperture, the ISO, and the exposure adjust.
  • If you’re a party photographer and have fast moving subjects then you will want to set your shutter speed to something quick around 1/60, 1/80 or even 1/100. This will ensure you shoot quick enough to capture your subject still and ensure minimal blur.
  • Open up your aperture as wide as possible and set it very low. Anywhere below 5.6 will do just fine.
  • Depending on your camera and lens, the ideal ISO setting will differ. Try not to go anywhere above 600. We recommend starting at around 320 and adjusting up or down from there. Too high and you will experience noise in your photos.
  • If you’re photos are coming out too bright after all of the above, adjust the exposure on the camera to -7 or -1 just like the flash. You can continue to go lower until you reach the ideal point of exposure in your event photography.
  • If you want some creative photography at a party event for example, and you want some motion photos of people dancing, laughing, or even some blur of venue lights, adjust your shutter speed to slow. Make it 1/15 or lower and try moving your camera while taking the photo. The shutter will be slow enough to deliberately move what’s in the frame in a creative manner.