keskiviikko 17. heinäkuuta 2019

PictureCorrect.com: Top 10 Tips for Taking Stock Imagery with People

1. Work with real people

In an effort to reduce costs and boost the authentic appeal of an image, it has become increasingly common that real people (as opposed to professional talent) be used for stock imagery productions. One advantage is that real people are more likely to be willing to sign model releases since they often have a greater return-benefit interest in receiving professionally crafted images of themselves.

real life models for stock imagery

photo by Wavebreakmedia Ltd

Because real people often have little prior on-camera “in the lime light” experience, it is important to screen these potential models wisely. Asking open-ended questions during the casting process can provide insight as to the personality of the individual and their willingness to interact with others. Sharing images of prior shoots with the potential model can assist in managing their expectations and increasing their confidence and willingness to participate.

2. Manage who attends the photo shoot

Because of the risk-taking involved and unknown nature of participating in a commercial lifestyle photo shoot, people tend to ask if they can bring extra people to attend with them. In order to shoot dynamics, it is often helpful if close friends and family of the models are not present (unless models are under age 18). The reason for this is psychological, as the person who is modeling can often feel an obligation to speak with or entertain the non-participating extras. In an effort to allow the model to feel free and detached from the necessities to perform, while also increasing their natural interaction with others, it is suggested that models be encouraged to attend the photo shoot alone.

corporate stock image

photo by Kamil Macniak

3. Increase confidence before and during the photo shoot

It is important to assist the potential model with an understanding of what the photo shoot is about and who else will be there. Providing a “what to expect” guidelines sheet in the form of a PDF that is emailed before the photo shoot can be very helpful. This sheet can include photos of the team members who will be present, the location, wardrobe ideas, and a list of how the process will unfold. The orientation process might include what types of conversations will be taking place on set, who will be supporting everyone with directions, and reasons for why the images are organized in the creative structure as they are. This guideline is similar to the industry specific “call sheet,” but should go beyond factual details of time, place, and contact information. People are more likely to be willing to devote time and energy to a project when they understand the full parameters of what their participation means to the outcome.

models interacting

photo by Christian Bertrand

4. Designate a model “wrangler”

Choose someone—or designate yourself—to be the introducer, initiator, and moderator of communication between models on the shoot day. It’s not uncommon for models, especially real people at a first-ever lifestyle photo shoot, feel initially shy. The wrangler’s job is to keep the conversations going; this requires emotional sensitivity to the needs of the models to feel warmly invited to the photo shoot and shooting process. It may involve helping to get snacks and water for models and any other specific special needs that they might have. It should also involve seeding conversations to help break the ice with humor and contemporary knowledge of news events and/or other collectively shared experiences in order to provide models with the opportunity to have real and natural interactions for picture making purposes.

stock models interacting

photo by Antonio Guillem

5. Provide snacks or special food and drink

Just as business meetings are more comfortable and relaxed when done over dinner, consider making the shoot experience more pleasant for models by introducing special treats. It could be seasonally relevant fruit, sweets from a nearby popular bakery, or a bottle of white wine (to avoid stains to clothing and upholstery). When food and drink are present, models are more likely to stick around for a while and get to know each other, bond, and be conducive to natural interactions when the photo shooting starts.

6. Scout the location environment in advance

The photographer’s sense of confidence is just as important as the models’. By visiting the location ahead of the shoot, one can creatively and logistically digest how the shoot will take place. This confidence will breed efficiency on the shoot day—anything from knowing where the bathrooms are, to how to turn on the lights or where to park the car. Often scouting the location before the shoot day can bring new ideas to mind that would otherwise be missed or not prepared for. Location scout photos might also be relevant to the shoot project and be licensable as stock images.

scouting a photo location

photo by lzf

7. Wear comfortable work clothes

The more comfortable you are in moving about quickly and easily, the more comfortable and creative you will be during the shoot. Having a proper hat, layers of clothes, shoes, and accessories like sunglasses, sunscreen, gloves, or even kneepads, breeds an ease of accessibility to make interesting photos from unique hard-to-obtain angles. If you’re wearing the proper clothing, you will be more encouraged to trudge through the snow, stand in the mud, shoot from overhead, or crawl around from below—things that might make or break the perfect shot.

stock photography outdoors

photo by Olesia Bilkei

8. Overbook models

Not every model will live up to expectations while on set. Sometimes people simply have a bad day or interact better in different group dynamics. Overbooking models allows for a cost-effective way to time manage the process of last minute, and inevitable, cancellation by a certain percentage of the talent. It also hedges a bet for the shoot concept in risk protection should a particular model not be performing as expected and need to have their role exchanged for a while by another model who is attending.

9. Make formal introductions

Easily forgotten, a formal “stop in the action” introduction of each new attendee to the shoot helps to not only increase the group cohesion, it is a one-time-only efficient way to let everyone know who everyone else is. A formal announcement of the models attending is respectful and polite to their time and energy and makes them feel as not just another face in the crowd. People enjoy being known by name and knowing that others know who they are.

working with photography models

photo by Photographerlondon

10. Turn off smartphones

Easily the most distracting aspect on set these days is the smartphone and constant “check-in” to smartphone apps. Encourage people to put their phones to the side so that conversations might be had with each other instead. This will not only produce better cohesion, but will also increase attentiveness by those who are modeling and/or attending to the models.

photo shoot smartphones

photo by Cleardesign

The suggestion can be framed by the reality that the more interpersonal the interaction is between those on set, the more likely they are to establish longer-term friendships with each other. Keeping cell phones in Airplane Mode will help encourage this process of networking and will improve the group rapport.

About the Author:
Shannon Fagan is a professional stock photographer for Dreamstime.


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PictureCorrect.com: Interesting Photo of the Day: Northern Lights Over the Yukon

Nature has so many stunning tricks up her sleeve. Photographer Ian Harland came across one of those tricks, the Northern Lights, and captured this one of a kind scene on camera:

Northern Lights over a mountain

“Northern Lights over a mountain, Canada” by Ian Harland (Via Reddit. Click image to see full size.)

Harland took the image in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada when he was actively in search of Aurora Borealis. He then took a 15 second exposure of the first Northern Lights that he came across and ended up getting this beautiful image.

“After almost a week of trying, I saw what appeared to be a hazy green cloud in the distance. I set my camera to take a long exposure and after the 15 second shutter was over, the Northern Lights appeared in my cameras LCD.”

While Mother Nature has done her best in presenting a beautiful scene, Harland, too, put in some effort to capture the Northern Lights beautifully. Having shot the image from the middle of a frozen lake, Harland has made the best of the icy surface by keeping it in the foreground. And while the mountain is standing tall in the middle-ground, the arched Northern Lights with the view of the deep sky makes for a fantastic background.


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PictureCorrect.com: Harsh Sunlight Portrait Photography: 4 Tips

When offered a choice to set up a photo shoot, you’ll most likely schedule it in the early morning or around sunset. The soft light flatters the subject and surroundings and makes your work a lot easier. But what if you need to take first look photos at high noon? As a professional, you need to be ready to shoot in any conditions. Wedding photographer Vanessa Joy with Adorama shares four tips for taking pictures in harsh sunlight:

1. Use a Reflector Diffuser

Take the diffuser out of the reflector and have your assistant hold it over the subject’s head. Tilt it slowly and you’ll notice that it gives a look similar to that of clamshell lighting. The diffuser prevents direct sunlight from striking your subject and instead molds it into beautiful, soft, and flattering light.

using a diffusor in harsh sunlight

portrait with diffusor in harsh sunlight

2. Find Some Shade

Look for a place behind a house, wall, or tree and have your subject stand in the shade. Then, using a reflector, fill in the shadows on the subject. Be careful that the reflector doesn’t create hot spots on your subject.

photographing in shade during harsh sunlight

portrait in shade using reflector

3. Go High Contrast

Make the most of what you’re presented with. Instead of loathing the harsh sunlight and avoiding it, try to take a high contrast image. You can later turn it into black and white for a dramatic effect.

high contrast image during harsh sunlight

4. Use Off-Camera Flash

“It’s almost like hiding in shade and using reflector, but instead you don’t have to hide.”

Position your subject with the sun at their back and then fill in the shadows with off-camera flash. Be sure to set the power and use modifiers depending on the sun’s brightness. One trick is to set the exposure for the background and then set the flash to auto (TTL) mode.

overpowering the sun with flash

portrait taken with flash in sunlight

“This is especially useful if you have to photograph large groups of people, and there’s not enough shade to get them all to hide in.”

With these four easy-to-follow tips, you’ll never have to worry about taking photos in the harsh sun again!


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PictureCorrect.com: How to Create a Unique Travel Photography Show

This article focuses on capturing photos that are your images and building them into a travel show.

balcony

Have a list of subjects that you can capture to use as ingredients for your travel show – not your standard travel images – helps you to see so much more on your travels…such as markets, artists, buskers, and even shop windows.

Shop windows are great for illustrating different countries. And images of food bring back good memories and can add ‘taste’ to your travel show.

…also amusing incidents like the attack of the doves…or

even your self-catering…

Remember, travel photography is the way in which we go about recording our travels so that we can revisit and share our experiences time and time again and really enjoy each revisit.

And to do this you need variation, surprise, and unexpected items, all providing an element of visual interest.

When doing your travel show you obviously have to let people know where in the world you are, what country or city you’re visiting. This is essential to give context and the aim is to do this without it being a big interruption to the show. This is the easiest and most effective way of doing this.

Just as one should do with all of our visual images it’s important to include some indication of scale, otherwise your viewer has no real idea of what is being shown.

People are your best indicators of size.

You really do need size indicators. Both the library at Ephesus and the Corinth Canal are huge.

Wherever you are in the world, the time of day can make all the difference to the images you capture and you should factor this into your plans. For example, if you’re in Dubrovnik you can get delightful images of empty streets if you are out before breakfast.

If you wait until after breakfast you may find that the cruise ships have arrived and your images will be very different!

…or you can wait for evening.

This applies to all cities and points of interest that attract crowds. You plan what you would like to have in your image and time it accordingly.

We all want some of our travel images to be slightly different from the normal images one sees…

You can take the standard perhaps obligatory tourist type images such as this one of Venice…

…but what about some images of Venice at work…?

…or images of others parts of the city that are not normally featured…?

There are numerous other ingredients that you can use for your travel show. It’s really up to your imagination. In a future article, I will cover subjects such as details, reflections, time of day, and so on. My travel photography ebook covers a wide range.

About the Author
Roger Lee is a Johannesburg based photographic trainer and cruise ship speaker on Smartphone Photography.
He runs a very successful ‘Enjoy Your Camera’ course and his popular ebooks for people who don’t want to drown in detail are at www.camerabasics.net. His new smartphone photography ebook can be found at www.smartphone.org.za


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tiistai 16. heinäkuuta 2019

PictureCorrect.com: Subject Placement Tips in Photography

This should be one of the most obvious things in an image yet many people have absolutely no idea as to where it should go. Most people take their subject and place it slap bang in the middle thinking that is the right place to go. How wrong can you get? This article will help you place your subject properly.

tips for photo subject placement

Photo by Yoko Ryo; ISO 200, f/2.8, 1/250-second exposure.

Early in my career as a photographer I only had one place for a subject, in the middle of the image. And, my images never seemed to contain that dynamic punch. The photo books and travel magazines all looked great but my photos were just average. Then I discovered that there were some rules and by implementing them and my images came alive.

1. Going for the center

Despite what I have said in my intro about centrally placed subjects, there is a place for it in photography, just that it works in limited ways. Subjects like people portraits can work well with a central subject. Other subjects or objects like buildings that are symmetrical work well as do cars taken from the front and subjects cropped tightly. Be careful though that you use central placement in a limited way in your photo taking.

2. Off-centered

If your want to place a subject in the middle of an image try to off center it just a little so that it’s not right in the middle. This will help make a more pleasant image.

3. The rule of thirds

You may or may not have heard about this rule discovered by the early Greeks and used for centuries in art and painting. Knowing the rules and where to place a subject allows you to break the rules if it works towards creating a better or more dynamic image. So back to the rule of thirds or two thirds rule as it is also known. Imagine an image with a tic-tac-toe or noughts and crosses grid superimposed on it. Two horizontal lines and two vertical lines dividing the scene into thirds. Where these lines intersect are your key points. It’s on these points that you can place your subject to the best effect.

photography subject placement tips

Photo by Ronnie Fleming; ISO 50, f/16.0, 1/125-second exposure.

Take a look for yourself at a photo or travel magazine and see how many of the images use this rule. But, not only do these points help create a great image but the vertical or horizontal lines do the same. If you have a tall object or a person standing up then place it or them on one of the two vertical lines. The same goes for a landscape image with a horizon. The horizon should always lie on one of the horizontal lines and not in the middle, creating a striking landscape photo.

By placing your subject according to the two thirds rule the image becomes more balanced and pleasing to the eye. You can add another focal point to the image but it should never compete with the main subject so it has to be smaller and not dominate the photo. Placement of a subject is key to every image so experiment and practice using these tips on placing your subject as you learn digital photography. Happy shooting!

About the Author:
Wayne Turner has been teaching photography for 25 years. Passionate about photography, radio and video. He is a Radio CCFm producer and presenter in Cape Town.


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PictureCorrect.com: Sony Announces the a7R IV Full-frame Beast

Unprecedented highest resolution and widest dynamic range for α – Alpha system, combined with high-speed performance and a lightweight, compact body.

NEW YORK, July 16, 2019: Sony Electronics Inc. today announced the latest addition to its acclaimed Alpha 7R series full-frame mirrorless camera line-up: the extremely versatile, powerful Alpha 7R IV (model ILCE-7RM4).

sony a7r iv

Sony’s highest resolution full-frame camera ever, the new Alpha 7R IV delivers stunning image quality with high resolution and wide dynamic range while maintaining outstanding focusing performance, high-speed continuous shooting and much more.

“We are continuing to drive innovation, break boundaries and redefine the expectations of digital camera performance,” said Neal Manowitz, deputy president of Imaging Product and Solutions Americas at Sony Electronics. “The new Alpha 7R IV combines medium format-level image quality with high-speed shooting, extremely fast focusing and an extensive list of upgrades to design, connectivity and usability. This will allow professional photographers, videographers and all other types of creators to capture content in ways that were simply not possible before.”

A New Level of Image Quality

The new Alpha 7R IV features a newly developed 35mm full-frame, back-illuminated CMOS image sensor with a resolution of 61.0 MPii, the world’s firsti of its kind. The new sensor’s back-illuminated structure and effective noise reduction techniques combine to deliver extremely low-noise and high-sensitivity performance, ensuring the absolute maximum image quality. The camera also boasts an impressive 15-stopiii dynamic range at low sensitivities, resulting in smooth natural gradations ranging from deep shadows to highlights, and utilizes algorithms from many of the latest Alpha cameras to maintain outstanding color reproduction.

This new full-frame model is equipped with an innovative 5-axis, optical in-body image stabilization system that has been fine-tuned to support its high-resolution shooting capacity, resulting in a shutter speed advantage of 5.5-stepsx. Additionally, the shutter unit assembly has been carefully redesigned to reduce even the slightest movement that may cause blur.

The Alpha 7R IV also includes Sony’s highest resolution viewfinder ever, a 5.76 million dot UXGA OLED Tru-finder EVF. About 1.6x the resolution of the EVF in the Alpha 7R III, this new viewfinder provides an extremely accurate, true-to-life depiction of the scene being framed. The display quality can be set to ‘Standard’ or ‘High’ mode, and to either 60 fps or 120 fps refresh rate to best match the subject and shooting conditions.

Additionally, the new camera features an evolved Pixel Shift Multi Shootingxi mode that composites up to 16 full-resolution images. In this mode, the camera precisely shifts the sensor in one pixel or half-pixel increments to capture 16 separate pixel-shifted images containing a total of 963.2 million pixels of data, which are then composited into a 240.8 million pixel (19008 x 12672 pixels) image using Sony’s “Imaging Edge” desktop applicationxii. Ideal for photographing architecture, art or any other still life subject, this enhanced mode produces photographs with a level of detail and color accuracy that is simply stunning.

Shooting and Focusing Speed

The innovative new Alpha 7R IV full-frame mirrorless camera can shoot full resolution images at up to 10 fps with continuous, accurate AF/AE tracking for up to approximately seven secondsv in full-frame, full-resolution mode (JPEG / RAW), and approx. three times as long in APS-C crop mode delivering 26.2MP images. These high-speed options ensure that fast moving subjects can be captured with extreme accuracy and incredible image detail.

The upgraded focusing system of the Alpha 7R IV is comprised of 567 focal-plane phase-detection AF points that cover approximately 74 percent of the image area. There are also 425 contrast AF points that add extra precision and reliability for low light and other situations that are best served by contrast AF. The higher AF sensor density and refined tracking algorithms of the new camera produce a notable improvement in tracking performance, allowing complex subject motion and sudden subject movements to be reliably tracked with greater precision than ever.

The Alpha 7R IV also supports Real-time Eye AF, which employs artificial intelligence to detect and process eye location data in real-time, locking and maintaining focus on the subject’s eye with extreme precision. This is available for both animal and human subjects, with either animal or human Eye AF mode selectable depending on the shooting situation. Real-time Tracking is available as well, which utilizes a newly developed subject recognition algorithm to ensure the ultimate subject tracking and persistence of the focusing system. There is also an anti-flicker shooting mode, which automatically detects the presence of fluorescent or artificial lighting in a shooting environment to minimize any impact on the final image.

Enhanced Connectivity for Professional Workflow

Sony’s new Alpha 7R IV full-frame camera is equipped with a variety of advanced connectivity features designed to enhance professional workflow. The new model includes wireless LAN functionality to support the conventional 2.4 GHz band, as well as a high-speed 5 GHz band for faster, more stable data transfer. Wireless PC remote connectivity (wireless tethering shooting)viii is also available on the new Alpha 7R IV, a first for Sony cameras. Requested by many working professionals, this allows for much more freedom in studio and location shoots, letting the photographer move around freely and without restriction.

In addition to high-speed Wi-Fi and wireless PC connectivity, the new full-frame camera is equipped with a SuperSpeed USB (USB 3.2 Gen 1) USB Type-C connector that supports extremely fast wired data transmission, with almost doubled data transfer speed achieved in combination with Sony’s Imaging Edge software (compared to the Alpha 7R III). It also supports FTP data transfer with background transfer capability, allowing photographers to send images to a specified FTP remote server while they are still shooting or reviewing images.

To support an efficient, high-speed, connected professional workflow, Sony has announced version 2.0 of its “Imaging Edge” desktop applications (‘Remote’/’Viewer’/’Edit’)xiii. The ‘Remote’ application allows users to control cameras and monitor live shooting on their PC screen; the ‘Viewer’ application is used to quickly preview, rate and select photos from large libraries; and the ‘Edit’ application can develop RAW data into high-quality photos for delivery.

To maximize convenience in image transfer, when utilizing the latest version of Sony’s Imaging Edge Mobile application , the camera can now transfer images to a connected smartphone even if the camera’s power is set to OFF.

High-resolution 4K and Professional Filmmaking Features

In addition to its impressive still image capabilities, the new Alpha 7R IV performs exceptionally well as a serious filmmaking tool, offering 4K (3840×2160 pixels) video recording across the full width of the image sensor, and full pixel readout without pixel binning in Super 35mm mode. This ensures high-quality 4K footage with exceptional detail and depth. S-Log 2 and S-Log 3 are also available to maximize color grading flexibility, with S-Log 3 offering a total of 14-stops of dynamic range. Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG)xvii is also available on the Alpha 7R IV to support an Instant HDR workflow.

For video autofocus, the versatile new full-frame camera utilizes a refined Fast Hybrid AF system that achieves faster, smoother, more stable autofocus during video shooting – even if an object temporarily moves in front of the intended subject. The camera also includes Touch Tracking functionality during movie shooting, allowing the user to simply touch the screen on their intended subject for instant acquisition.

The new Alpha 7R IV debuts Real-time Eye AF for movie shooting, a first in any of Sony’s cameras. When activated, the eye of a subject is automatically tracked with high precision and reliability, allowing the shooter to focus on the content itself as opposed to what is in focus or not. The aforementioned Touch Tracking functionality will also automatically initiate Eye AF when a human subject is selected.

Another notable video feature is the addition of a digital audio interface to the camera’s Multi Interface Shoe™ (MI Shoe), allowing a direct, digital connection from the new ECM-B1M Shotgun Microphone or XLR-K3M XLR Adaptor Kit for clear, low-noise and high-quality audio recording. Interval shooting for creating time-lapse videos is available, as well as full HD recording at up to 120 fps, Slow and Quick Motion functions and much more.

Enhanced Build, Design and Customizability

The new Alpha 7R IV has several upgrades to its design and usability, with many adjustments being implemented directly from the voice of Sony’s professional community.

To maximize durability, the new Alpha 7R IV features upgraded dust and moisture resistance, with additional sealing provided at all body seams, battery compartment cover and media slots. The camera is built with an extremely lightweight and durable magnesium alloy and also has an upgraded six screw, extra-firm lens mount.

Additional enhancements to the body design include an improved grip for greater comfort and a more sure hold within the hand; an increase in the diameter and feedback for the ‘AF-ON’ button; a new multi-selector joystick design for improvised control; an exposure compensation dial lock button; and a redesigned shape and new position for the rear dial. A strong request from many professional users, the new camera also includes two UHS-II compatible media slots, allowing for higher overall capacity and faster read/write speeds.

For added convenience, camera setting registration is expanded. Now, almost all camera settings can be saved to, and read from, an inserted memory card. Up to 10 combinations can be saved to any individual card and loaded into any camera body of the same model.

Despite its increased pixel count compared to the Alpha 7R III, the battery life has been improved with a CIPA measurement of up to 670 still images per change using LCD monitor, or 530 images with EVF. For even more uninterrupted operating time, the new optional VG-C4EM Vertical Grip holds two NP-FZ100 batteries, and the optional Multi Battery Adaptor (NPA-MQZ1K) can hold up to four Z batteries. The body can also be powered via the USB connector.

New Accessories

Sony has also released a variety of new accessories to complement the new Alpha 7R IV camera, including:

  • VG-C4EM Vertical Grip – Provides same operation, handling and design as the Alpha 7R IV camera, including upgraded dust and moisture resistance; doubles battery life and allows USB battery-charging via the camera body
  • ECM-B1M Shotgun Microphone – Eight high-performance mic capsules and advanced digital signal processing provide three selectable directivity patterns in one compact microphone of approximately 99.3mm (4 inches) in length with Super-directional pick up; when connected to the Alpha 7R IV via its Multi Interface Shoe with digital audio interface support, audio is directly transferred to the camera in digital form so that the highest possible quality is achieved without noise or degradation
  • XLR-K3M XLR Adaptor Kit – Two XLR/TRS combo connectors and one 3.5mm stereo mini jack for microphone and line input, with extensive control that helps facilitate the post processing workflow; connected to the Alpha 7R IV via its Multi Interface Shoe with digital audio interface support, audio is directly transferred to the camera in digital form so that the highest possible audio quality is achieved without noise or degradation; supplied extension cable for Audio provides extra flexibility for camera attachment with rig, cage or bracket
  • SF-M series TOUGH – Ultra-Tough UHS-II SD card with ultra-fast speed up to 277MB/s (read) is ideal for shooting under severe circumstances, and streamlines the post-shooting workflow; supplied with file recovery software (supports both mac OS and Windows)
  • MRW-S3 – Fast USB for PC hub with UHS-II SD/microSD reader, supporting USB 3.1 Gen 2 and 100W USB Power Delivery (USB PD), contributes to efficient workflow by ultra-fast, stable backup to PC or SSD

Pricing and Availability

The new Alpha 7R IV Full-frame Interchangeable Lens Camera will ship in September 2019 for approximately $3,500 US and $4,500 CA. It will be sold at a variety of Sony’s authorized dealers throughout North America.


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PictureCorrect.com: Light Painting in Night Photography Tutorial

Light painting is a technique used in long exposure photography. While the shutter is open, you use a handheld light source to “paint” over areas, adding light. Photographer Gabe Biderman with B&H has put together this informative video that teaches you how to light paint:

Light Painting Equipment

You don’t need high-end equipment for light painting. Any camera that lets you have manual control over the settings will work fine. If your smartphone has a manual mode, then even that will do. And you don’t need a fast lens either. Since the shutter will be open to let light in, large apertures aren’t necessary.

“The most important thing a night photographer needs besides the camera and lens is the tripod.”

Be sure to have a sturdy tripod with you to stabilize the camera. Whether you want to go with an aluminum tripod or a carbon fiber tripod depends on your budget. Other than that, also pay attention to the height of the tripod.

“Look about how high the tripod gets without the center column raised and make sure that that’s about six to ten inches shorter than your eyes.”

comfortable tripod

What to Use as a Light Source

Now that you have the equipment needed to take the photograph sorted out, you might wonder what you can use to paint light. Well, a flashlight is quite a convenient tool. Biderman himself likes to use the Coast HP5R LED flashlight because of its high and low power settings and the zoomable head. Since LED lights tend to cast a blue tint, Biderman suggests that you use a warmer gel on the light. He uses a CTO half-cut gel for the purpose.

LED flashlight for light painting

With their narrow beam, flashlights behave as hard brushes. However, when light painting, you can make use of soft brushes as well. And for that purpose, you have LED panels. Biderman likes to use the Luxli Viola RGB LED light. Using that panel, you can dial in any color temperature from 3000K to 10,000K.

“The flashlight will give us a more focused beam with more contrast there, whereas the LED light is a wider and softer spread of light.”

Luxli LED light panel

Using Bulb Mode

Almost every camera can go up to 30 seconds of exposure natively. But, the 30 second time period may not be adequate for light painting purposes. To go beyond the 30-second limit, you’ll need to be in the camera’s bulb mode, and this is where you’ll need a remote shutter release.

vello shutterboss

Using a remote shutter release like the Vello ShutterBoss lets you program in any exposure time. This is just perfect for you to go around the scene and paint with light.

Focusing at Night

“Focusing is always tricky at night. “

Since the camera cannot see properly in low light conditions, focusing can be a challenge. Here’s a simple tip that Biderman shares to help you focus your camera in the dark:

  • Turn the flashlight on and direct it at the scene.
  • Set your camera to autofocus mode and place the autofocus point over a place with contrast.
  • Lock your focus and switch the camera over to manual focus mode.
  • Once done, be sure not to change the distance between the camera and the subject or to turn the focus ring on the lens.

Taking the Image

“Before we add light painting, let’s get a base shot of the ambient light that’s in the scene.”

It is not always necessary to paint with light. Always take a base shot first, and then decide whether or not you need to add light to the scene.

In Biderman’s case, here’s what he got as a base shot:

long exposure without light painting

As you can tell, the image looks flat and boring. To make it appear more interesting, Biderman decides to light paint.

Biderman sets up a Luxli LED panel at 1 percent power to light the scene for 5 seconds from the side and the image. Having the light come in at an angle reveals more texture and details while creating interesting shadows.

long exposure with soft light painting

However, the image still lacks some punch. Using the flashlight, Biderman zoomed in and painted some more light on the left side.

long exposure with light painting

Working in a Situation With No Ambient Light

When you’re working in complete darkness with no ambient light, leaving the shutter open will not light up the scene in the final image. However, this opens up an immense opportunity for light painting. You can determine what your exposure should be. Simply open the shutter, walk in at an angle, and start painting with light.

“That’s the cool thing about light painting. We can be so creative. We could kind of do anything. So, experiment with this at home. Turn off the lights in your room and start playing with light.”

light painting in complete darkness

Be sure to give this technique a try with different types and colors of light. Also, see how changing the shutter speed affects your photos. Experiment and have fun!!!


Go to full article: Light Painting in Night Photography Tutorial

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