We’ve covered some of the techniques for shooting in low light, so let’s go through the process of capturing a night or low-light scene for maximum image quality. The first thing to consider is that in order to shoot in low light with a low ISO, you will need to use shutter speeds that are longer than you could possibly handhold (longer than 1/15 of a second). This requires the use of a tripod or stable surface for you to place your camera on. For maximum quality, the ISO should be low—somewhere below 200; you don’t need to rely on sensor sensitivity when you have plenty of time for the light to build up the image.
Set your camera to Aperture Priority (Av) mode so you can concentrate on the aperture that you believe is most appropriate and let the camera determine the best shutter speed. If it is too dark for the autofocus to function properly, manually focus the image.
Unlike shooting fast-moving objects or portraits, long-exposure photos allow you to take your time and see which settings work best for the shot. Your patience will be rewarded (Figure 8.5).