Lighting a scene to look dark


Hey, my name is Michael. Im working for a project where there is a scene in which the talent is inside a dimly lit room. I havent been able to find any resources online to “light a room to look dimly lit”. I have one softlight that i borrowed from my friend, but i never made a scene like this before. Any suggestions of how can i achieve this without bumping my ISO and with an f/1.4 lens?


Hi Michael,

What you could do is work mostly with back-light. Having your subject’s face (that is turned to the camera) underexposed gives the feeling of a dark scene.

This back light doesn’t need to be behind your subject, it can also be off screen shining on the wall or a soft lighting filling up the room.

If your subject is completely dark, then use a reflector or something to add a little bit of detail in there.

I wouldn’t worry too much about the ISO. A common misconception is that dark environments always give noise.

Like you say, you wanna film a dark scenery. So it’s important you keep the scene dark and also not bump up the ISO. You can control the exposure with your back light.


If there is a tv in the scene that is supposedly lightning the talent’s face, how can i make it so the light dims and brightens on random intervals to give like a “light from an old tv” look?


What you could do is hide an LED panel somewhere and turn the dial fast to let it flicker. This is done quite often actually.