Candlelight is the quintessential example of romantic light. It’s warm, it’s soft, it flickers and it makes you look good. And when you look good you feel sexy. It’s the perfect light source for a Valentine’s Day card self portrait.
It’s also the light that scares amateurs away. Everyone knows you can’t take pictures in candlelight, right? Wrong. You can take pictures by the light of a match if you know what you’re doing.
You need a tripod—I didn’t say candlelight isn’t dim. The shutter speed for this photograph was about a half of a second—much longer than you could hold a camera still. Your subjects are going to need to hold as still as possible, too.
And you need to take lots of pictures because although your camera is on a tripod, your subject will move slightly in most of the pictures. Even a breath at the wrong moment can produce a blurred image. There will be lots of mistakes on both sides of the camera. But if you shoot a picture you like under the light of one candle, your confidence will soar and you will be a better photographer for it.
This is my friend, Lia. She asked me to take a picture of her to send her husband on Valentine’s Day. His National Guard troop had been called up unexpectedly and he was on foreign soil. I thought candle light was the perfect solution despite its technical challenges.