If you find yourself in a low light situation and you don’t want to use flash, you can use your exposure compensation settings to give you an extra stop or two. Many DSLRs have this as an easy-access button on the camera body (usually with a symbol that looks like “+/-“). If you drop the compensation (negative numbers), you will notice better shutter times. The image will be darker, but nothing you can’t fix in post-production. For best results, use exposure, level and gamma corrections.
You will have to be careful with noise, however. The darker spots will potentially suffer from a lot of noise as you brigten up the photo. JPEG shooters will want to avoid going below -2. RAW shooters can go much further (I’ve shot as low as -5 and stil had successful results).
So next time you find yourself in such a situation, try this little trick. It could mean the difference between getting the shot, and regretting a missed shot.