Take fantastic candle-lit portraits

Learn to shoot a romantic, low-light portrait at home

Candlelight portraits make great subjects. The warm glow of candlelight can instantly create an aura of mystery or seduction, and give you flattering, focused and romantic looking images – so why not find a model, hunt out some candles and experiment?

Get the light right

It’s all about the glow with candlelight, so use a daylight white balance to retain the warm, orange colour. Its a good idea to underexpose your shots by 1-stop, too, to prevent the candle flame being overexposed.

Use a tripod

For this type of shot youll be shooting at speeds well below 1/30th second, so for a shake-free shot you need to ask your subject to be as still as possible, and definitely use a tripod. If you have a remote shutter release, use it.

Pick your widest aperture

Choose your fastest lens and use it at its widest aperture to let more light into your camera – a real help for both exposure times and accurate focus. Youll be working with a shallow depth of field, so your focusing really does need to be spot on

Experiment with your candles

The way you arrange your candles will have a real impact on your shots. If you use one or more in a single position youll get harsher shadows than if you spread them out. More on one side gives a side-lit effect.

Watch your background

Go for a clean, uncluttered background that wont distract from your subject and the subtle soft lighting of the candle. A white wall gives the added bonus of reflecting extra light onto your subject.