Candle Photography : Tips to take a perfect candle photo every time

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Candles are a lovely addition to any room. They provide a comforting, candlelit ambiance and can be used as part of your decorating scheme. While candles have been around for centuries, candle photography is still relatively new. In this blog post we will share some tips for candle photography that help you take the perfect photo every time! 

Candles are a great way to set the mood for any occasion, but they’re also notoriously difficult to photograph. 

Candle light photography can be tricky because candlelight is so unpredictable and it’s hard to capture that perfect moment.

We’ve got you covered with these candle photography tips! These candle photography tips will help you get professional looking photos of candles in no time at all. 

How to photograph candle ?

There are many ways to photograph the candle using your DSLR or mirrorless camera. You can go for a fast shutter speed and freeze the candle light movement or you can go for long exposures to capture the trails of the moving candle.

The trickiest bit is to get the exposure right. Candle light is bright outwards while a little dark at the center. If you want to capture these details accurately then you need to expose the image correctly. Slightly underexposing the image always helps.

candle photography

A candle itself acts as a nice light source. Depending on whether you are photographing the candle or you have other objects as well in your image you can decide the focus and lighting part.

If your camera has manual mode then start off with an aperture of f/8 and a shutter speed of 1/250. Increase or decrease the aperture size to increase or decrease the exposure respectively.

Candle light photography settings

You can take some stunning candle photos by using following settings. Apart from these settings you also need tripod and a good lens. Any prime or zoom lens will work as log as you can frame the scene properly.

  1. ISO : Use the lowest ISO which can give you noise free images. Since we need fast shutter speeds to get the candle light details , we will end up using around 400 – 800 ISO. Most modern day cameras can handle this ISO without much deterioration of the image.
  2. Aperture : F8 is a good starting point , especially if you are shooting close ups or macros. The depth of field will be sufficient to get the entire flame in detail. In case you have some other objects in foreground or background , then you should use wider aperture and create out of focus candle light.
  3. Image stabilization : Keep the image stabilization on camera or lens switched off. Since we are going to mount the camera on a tripod IS will try to stabilize the image when it does not need to and this will create blurry images.
  4. Focus mode : If possible always try to shoot in manual focus mode. Setting the focus manually ensures that camera does not try to adjust it during as the light source moves through the frame. Use single shot focus for candle light photography.
  5. Shutter speed : Shutter speed in the range of 1/125s or faster should work well. If you can go even faster then you can really freeze the flame. Slower shutter speeds can also give you some creative candle photography effects. You can experiment and find what you like.
  6. Image Format : Always shoot in RAW format , this gives you plenty of room to post process the image in Lightroom later on.

Creative Candle light photography ideas

Candles are one of the oldest forms of lighting. It may be old, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still pretty cool! Here are some great creative candles photography ideas.

Turn off all other lights in the room

Don’t photograph your candle in direct sunlight or with artificial light sources on. Doing so usually overpowers any light from the candle’s flame itself, making it virtually invisible and destroying that warm glow you get when photographing the candles with no lights on.

Switching off all other sources of illumination will allow for much better photographs and white balance will also not be a problem as the camera is not confused between candle light and the surrounding light.

Use multiple candles in your photograph

One candle is fine, but how about five candles? Having multiple candles not only allows you to light up a larger area, it also brings that extra element of visual appeal.

By using multiple candles you can create some amazing compositions. Number of candles placed in front of a window for example, can cast some nice light and shadows leading to an excellent photo.

Multiple candles with their flames dancing around can give a beautiful image.

candle light photography

Take close-up pictures

Candles are beautiful objects in close-up. Try taking some photos at different angles and remove all other distractions from the frame. You will need to use a macro lens , such as a Canon 100 F2.8 .

Candle flames are amazing subjects for macro photography. To create an interesting macro shot, you need strong details and excellent lighting. Strong details can be achieved with a close subject and an aperture of ƒ/8 or higher.

The candle flames have a lot of details and color hues , if you can capture it in the required detail , you can get some nice images.

Expose for the Flame

Always expose for the candle flame. It is the brightest thing in the scene and you should know where it is at all times. If your camera uses live view , use it here. Since candles flicker, getting proper exposure can prove to be tricky.

I suggest using 1/125s or faster shutter speed along with an ISO of 400-800.

creative candle light photography

Don’t let your photos be blurry

Candles are pretty, but some of us want to take beautiful photos of them. A lot of candle photography is done at night with no additional lighting sources , creating very low light situations. Slow shutter speeds are required in order to create that ambience and mood , but this can lead to camera shake.

Always keep your shutter speed faster than 1/125s . For additional sharpness, use a tripod , make sure to lock the mirror up too – this will prevent any vibration caused by the mirror movement when photographing at night.

Use other small objects in your image

You can add some small objects in your candle photography. By placing a few tea lights or flowers alongside the main candle light, you will get an interesting image with a nice composition.

creative candle photography

Using other objects like rocks or decorative items will give you a different perspective. You will need to use manual focus , choose an appropriate aperture and experiment with different shutter speeds to get the best results.

Candles are beautiful elements in photos, try experimenting with them and you’ll be surprised at some of the results.

I hope that you enjoyed these candle photography ideas!

Candle light portrait photography

The beautiful, soft light emanating from a candle is perfect for portrait photography. Candles are beautiful and they create a charming environment that is perfect for portraits. A lot of memories can happen in this space because it’s so cozy and personal

You can decide to shoot the portrait using only candle light or you can have mixed lighting. Both can give really good results.

Prime les is always recommended for portraits and if you are shooting with only candle light then you need a fast lens. Use widest possible aperture that gives sharp image on your lens and set the ISO to auto. Shutter speed should be 1/125s and their about.

Candle light portrait photography

Final Words

Photography is an art form that takes patience, skill and the right equipment. The best photographers know how to use light in a way that changes their subjects into something beautiful. Candles are no exception! Try some of these photography ideas with your next candle photo shoot for better results.

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