What camera settings does everyone recommend for inside dark buildings?

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The Spice Must Flow.
Regular User
Aug 26, 2014
F8, Shutter duration will depend on the size of the room and how bright your torch is.


feeling drained?
Regular User
Aug 21, 2017
Impossible to give a definitive answer as every camera and situation is different. However the following might be a possible starting point, if auto mode isn't doing it for you. Learning as you go along is the best thing...

Manual mode
Use a tripod
Aperture at f11
Auto Focus (if it lets you)
Keep your ios low (below 400) so its not too grainy
and adjust shutter speed accordingly.
Likes: tombridges

Oxygen Thief

Staff member
Oct 17, 2005
Just photoshop yourself in the picture instead. :thumb
Seems to work for Matthew Holmes.

Obviously depends on the situation in every case. Use P Mode, with aperture set at F7 or smaller, then let the camera adjust exposure accordingly.

If you're light painting with a torch, use F7 etc and say 10 seconds exposure, then adjust exposure based on results.


I have a Fisheye problem
Regular User
Sep 21, 2014
As someone has said, it depends on the situation and camera/lens as there isn't one method that works for everything. You gotta experiment a bit to find the way that works best for you.

  • Camera on tripod (an absolute must if you want a good shot)
  • Aperture F8 or F11 (about the sharpest most lens get and everything will be in focus)
  • ISO 100-200 (best quality, least amount of noise in the image)
  • 2 second timer on the shutter to stop shake when you press the shutter button
  • Shutter speed on auto, so let it work its self out. Aperture priory mode (AV on a canon) works for this. You can manually set the the shutter speed if you want, it will be in the order of 5 - 30 seconds for most dark rooms shots.
  • Wiggle your torch about the room while the shutter is open to 'paint' light everywhere you want light.
  • Shoot in RAW if you aren't already, you can bring up a lot of detail in the shadows in RAW format that you can't in Jpeg.
If your lens is auto-focus, use a torch to light up the area you are focusing on so the camera can actually focus on it before taking the photo. Otherwise the camera is trying to focus on pitch black and it won't know what to focus on, resulting in a completely out of focus image.

If you want to get more advanced, you can also use HDR bracketing (if you camera has that setting) to get a better dynamic range so highlights and shadows are exposed right, just be careful not to go mad and end up with a horrible puke inducing HDR shot. If done correctly, it shouldn't be obvious that it's a HDR image.