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Autumn Photography Tips For Newbies To Benefit From

red-maple-leaf

A skilled artist will be able to read through these autumn photography tips and use the ones that fit their situation. If you’re new to photography, then you’re in the right place. Research what you are about to learn about and you’ll be able to create works of art with your camera.

autumn baby

A photographer is going to have to make sure they get things in order so they can take photos outside. If your style is just to stay indoors where you can control the lighting, you can still learn a lot from going outdoors in the autumn. You will learn how lighting plays a role in changing and image because just a few hours later in the day from when you take the photo you can get a completely different one. Go out and test what kind of pictures you can take at different times of the day in similar locations.

autumn park

A lot of great cameras exist that give you different results. You may have heard that it doesn’t matter what kind of tools you have but it’s more about your skill. While that is true in how you do some art, with photography you’re not going to get very far with that mindset if your photos come from a limited camera like the one you have on your cell phone. You can practice with these weaker camera options, but if you are serious about your craft you have to get the right tools.

Figuring out what kind of camera to get isn’t that difficult. Just search for digital cameras and then sort them by those that are the most well rated. Once you find a list of what is popular at this time, you can then go through each option and read reviews to figure out what people think. Be wary of people that leave reviews up on their company websites, because of course they are only going to choose those that are positive. Most devices have pros and cons, so be suspicious of reviews that are too positive or negative and offer no real substance.

Photo editing software is important to learn about if you want to do various graphic arts tasks and enhance photos you’re taking. Some people say that it’s cheating to use software, but if you think about it, your camera is pretty much running on software that affects how the picture is taken depending on how you set it up. You don’t have to just use things like Photoshop for enhancements. If you have a photo with a mistake in it, such as a bird flying by, you can edit it out and won’t have to worry about people noticing usually.

young-woman-autumn-park

Study images that other photographers are getting praise for with the topic of autumn in the description. You can search for things like #autumn on social media and then look for photos that have many “likes” or “favorites” to see what people are into. You’ll notice that there are common elements that people like, but there are also those people out there that do a great job by not following any formula. Decide if you want to go after collecting likes and fitting in with the crowd, or if you’d like to create your own style regardless of what people enjoy.

Photography can lead into you having a career. You just have to make sure it’s something you’re ready for. During autumn you can get great pictures for various events, like doing weddings. If you’re going to do anything that requires you to work with the general public, then be prepared for most people to want you to do what they say and not what you think would be nice looking artistically. You can always work with clients as your main source of income, and then spend your free time getting artistic shots that you can add to your portfolio and maybe sell later.

autumn wedding

These autumn photography tips are going to get your art to the next level. You’re going to want to test everything you’ve read here. Once you start using the various tips you were given you will notice that your personal style will start to develop.

5 Things To Know When Buying A Camera Online

happy shopping

Too Many Choices

photographers with their cameras

If you search the internet for cameras, you are likely to be overwhelmed by all the offerings. There are also many traps that you can easily fall into such as buying too much camera for your skill level and the type of photography that you will be doing. Our goal with this article is to give you the information that you must know when purchasing a camera. We hope that with this information that you will buy the best camera for you and that you get many years of enjoyment from it.

My Sensor Is Bigger Than Yours!

If you have been researching cameras, then there’s no doubt that you have been introduced to the sensor size war that is brewing in photography circles. I will say that views on this subject have evolved over the years. What is a sensor? A sensor on a camera is what actually takes in the image. Typically, the large the sensor the more light and information can be encoded within an image. This is a great thing, especially if you shoot in low light or if you want to editing your images.

This good thing has been taken a bit our of proportion, where even Joe and Jane average think that they need a full frame camera to take great images. The truth is that unless you are going to be doing any form of RAW editing or blowing up your printed pictures to a very large size, you do not need a big sensor.

Another thing that is interesting is that micro 4/3 and APS-C cameras shoot great images, professional work has been done on these sensor sizes, there are a ton of great companies making cameras with this sensor in a variety of form factors and they are not that expensive.

So, what is your takeaway when it comes to sensor size– It matters but application is more important than anything. If all you are going to do is take snapshots of your family, then a full frame sensor is going to be overkill. If you want to try something a bit more artistic, look into micro 4/3 and APS-C cameras. You can find them at all price points and sizes that will lend themselves to travel and even for professional shoots.

It Is Your Lens Dummy

camera lenses

While it is so easy to get carried away with sensor size and even the look of a camera, one of the most important things in photography is the quality of the lens that you are using. Some cameras have a fixed lens that can’t be removed so you simply have to buy the right camera but with cameras that have a removable lens, your options are wide. Depending on your goals, a fixed lens zoom with a quality sensor is all that you might need. Some will be happy with a fixed lens, single focal length camera that makes quality pictures. Others might want exchangeable lenses so that they can choose which lenses they use, what quality and the price point.

For a vacation camera, I would say choose either a high quality fixed lens camera or a fixed zoom. Even if your camera can use a variety of lenses, choose a zoom for your vacation lens because packing light and being able to carry around just one lens is ideal. A zoom will allow you to get the perfect length for both portraits and landscape shots. Using a single lens with a fixed focal length is also fine. Most will choose either a 35mm, 50mm or 85mm and or equivalent based on their camera’s sensor size– The lenses represent shooting wide, shooting natural and shooting long.

See also: The Best Travel Photography Tips

Determine how much you can spend on a camera and them use the information above to pick the best camera. A good photographer can do quality work on just about any camera if the light is right, if the subject is right and if they are willing to use the camera to its strengths. Photography is all about you, what you see and what you want to create. As much as you might start with finding the right camera, also learn more about photography, composing shots, using lights and controlling exposure. Such skills will allow you to get the most out of any camera that you should choose.

It is hard to buy a bad camera these days with all the online reviews and information about cameras. You should be able to use this information to find a quality camera that will perfectly fit the role that you will be using the camera in. Be it vacation, family events, snapshots, shooting your friends like mode, nature photography or landscapes. There are many cameras that will get the job done.

Learning The Basics Of Portrait Photography

beautiful-woman's portrait

Portrait photography is one of the most impressive and dynamic techniques. It has a tremendous power of conveying emotions, thus being widely used by most expert photographers. When done right, this technique can display the personality, the mood and the expression of the subject. Most such images focus on the person’s face, but there are lots of situations that involve the whole body or even parts of the background. Decades ago, portrait photography has become widely popular, as its main purpose was to replace painted portraiture. Its popularity was mainly due to the fact that it significantly reduced the required sitting time for the subject. Even the old daguerreotype technique was much faster than hand painting, so people were happy to have their portraits done this way instead of having to sit for long hours or even days in a painter’s workshop.

portrait of woman's face

Portrait Photography: Artistic Expression

Today’s portrait photography serves a totally different purpose. It is an artistic expression, a slice of life captured on camera, a way of communicating values, moods and feelings. The photographer who wants to learn the basics of this art form has to be prepared to go the extra mile to get people pose for him at the right time and in the right setting. This is the real challenge of this trade, and very few professionals understand the importance of establishing rapport with their subject before proceeding to the photo session. A portrait can tell a story, but only if the individual behind the camera knows how to capture its essence.

portrait of a woman

The technical side of this skill is also quite challenging. Good portraits are the ones in which the subject is detached from the background. The focus has to be only on the important elements in the frame, everything else being blurred. The quality of this blur is also important. This is why you have to be very careful when you choose the best lenses for this photography style. Prime lenses are the best, as they enable a sharp focus on the subject, while creating nice bokeh effects in the background. A 50mm f/1.4 lens can enable a good artist create amazing portraits, impossible to replicate by amateurs. However, you have to be aware that such lenses may cost you many thousands of dollars. This is an investment not everyone can afford. Nonetheless, if you have a passion for learning portrait photography, you can start by purchasing cheaper f/1.8 lenses that are almost as good but cost only a fraction of the price. They aren’t cheap either, but they won’t break your bank. If you only have zoom lenses in your kit, you can try to use them for portraits. Zoom in as much as you can, and try to shoot subjects at a relatively small distance. This technique enables you obtain those blurred backgrounds that help detaching the subject from the other elements in your composition.

The intensity of light is another element you have to learn how to master, if you want to create stunning portraits. You have to understand the relationship between exposure, ISO and aperture and practice multiple settings until you manage to get the best one. Set your camera to operate in manual mode, as this is how you can set each parameter as you desire. If you repeatedly fail at finding the right settings, you can switch to the Aperture Mode. You set your f-stop value, and the camera is going to adjust the other parameters as needed for an optimal image. Download your images and study them in detail, in order to understand how the camera made those choices.

Such exercises are very time consuming, so you may want to use a doll or some still life composition for your tests, as human subjects may not have enough patience to sit still and keep their mouth shut until you’re done. Nonetheless, if you manage to keep your motivation up until the pint where you are gong to master your trade, you are gong to be able to capture awesome portraits in minutes. Always make sure to allocate some time for getting acquainted to the subject. Empathy is a must-have for a portrait photographer, as it is going to help you communicate with people and capture their real essence.

Tips For Proper Magazine Photography

magazine model

Thinking about getting a gig with a local magazine? Want to get your images in? The editor is going to be selective, and they get a lot of inquiries especially when we are talking about the big brands.

These are magazines who are not going to mull around with the wrong images for too long. They will toss them aside and get on with their lives.

You want to impress and it begins with these tips because the experts believe you need to implement all of them as soon as you can.

This is the only way to get cracking in this industry.

magazine

1) Understanding Depth

Begin with the depth. How many subjects are in the image you are taking? Are you able to convey the right depth with the image you have chosen?

You should not have it all over the place as that is amateurish and most people are going to look right past it as they should.

The image has to be spot on with the depth. You need the lighting to be focused on the right subject, and it should not blur out to a point where you are not sure about what is going on.

Think about this as you decide.

2) Quality Is Everything

magazine photography

Magazines are all about quality. In fact, it is not just about natural quality, but about making sure, you have perfected what is being shown. You have to learn how to edit well with magazine photography as it is going to resonate with those who are peeking through.

You have to realize the people who are going to read a magazine might not be as nuanced about what they see, so the only thing they’ll remember is the quality.

If you are not hitting on the quality, the magazine is going to die a painful death regarding sales.

3) Lighting Should Evoke Emotion

Lighting is the name of the game for magazine photography, and that will never change. You have to play with the lighting and make it as bright as you can. It is often an exaggerated brightness that you are going to aim for.

You want it to shine through on the subjects you are showcasing.

It should make it easier to get the quality you want as well because that is what the magazine is all about. If you are not getting the lighting right, the rest of the image is meaningless in the end.

You have to be smart with how lighting is maximized.

4) Understand The Magazine’s Underlying Theme

Are you aware of the magazine you have selected to take images for? What is the theme of this magazine? Would it make sense to start writing articles on cars, if you were a National Geographic writer?

The same mindset has to be applied to photography as well.

You cannot ignore what the theme is and the colors they use in the magazine. Grab a few of the previous editions (if it is an older magazine) and go through what they prefer.

This is your foundation, and you need to follow this theme, or you will get rejected.

5) Don’t Forget The Text

It is not about you adding in the text, but about understanding, it will be included. You need to give room for the text and understand how it will reflect the image.

Let’s say the magazine is on fashion; you are most likely going to use bright colors for the image. You want this to correlate with the colors of the text that is going to be nearby.

It is rare to find a page in a magazine which is focused on just the image. It is often a combination of the photo and text.

These are things you can use for magazine photography regardless of how experienced you are. Experts who are in this industry always talk about the minor details and how they have to nail them to keep getting work. You need the same mindset.

You have to understand what a magazine editor requires and then nail those expectations with the images you are putting together.

You need to bring your ‘A’ game without a doubt in this aspect.

How To Learn The Secrets Of Art Photography

Art photography - Buildings

Photography is a huge industry, with multiple ramifications. There is product photography, fashion photography, wedding photography, wildlife photography and many other such styles that define different professions. Each style requires specific lenses, accessories and tools, thus needing relatively large investment in professional equipment.

Art photography - Shapes

Art Photography

Out of all these styles, art photography deserves a special place, as it doesn’t aim to be an accurate replica of real life, but rather an interpretation of it through the personal filter of the artist. This makes it visionary rather than representational, innovative rather than conservative, subjective rather than objective.

Like all other forms of art, photography is a transposition of the artist’s perceptions, thus being an excellent vehicle for carrying and sharing emotions. This is why you should never judge art photography by the same criteria as photojournalism or representational photography, as its purpose is radically different.

Art photography - Flowers

Young photographers who seek to specialize in one of the above mentioned styles need to be very careful which career path they choose. Art requires a huge dose of creativity, so you have to be inclined to think out of the box and find original ways of conveying a message or an emotion to your audience. This kind of work is extremely personal, yet you have to master the right techniques that enable you express yourself through images and visual representations that may have nothing to do with reality at observational level.

The young artist should try to find a model, a professional to learn from. This may require a lot of sacrifice, but all efforts are going to be well worth it by the end of your journey. Choosing the right teacher or coach is extremely important, as this choice is going to shape your artistic personality more than anything else. You may study millions of pages of books written by the greatest artists of all times, and still miss the real thing, the practice in the lab of your mentor or professional guide.

Once you master the basics, you have to seek for alternative ways to broaden your knowledge and your understanding of the world. You need practice. The more you work, the better you become. This should be your main guide in life, at least when it comes to improving your skill, your technique and your ability to make your audience experience certain feelings and emotions. You have to keep in mind that each of us has a personal perception of everything around, from basic items we use every day to paintings, movies, images and situations. You won’t be able to please everybody, so don’t even attempt to reach this level of perfection. You have to do your best to convey your perceptions, and carefully watch the feedback from your audience. If you see tears in the corner of their eyes, you can be sure your art has made a strong impact on these people. This should be a reward and a sign that you are on the right track. You need to be as flexible as your art, to learn and improve with each and every minute that passes, with each and every new artwork you produce.

These being said, you shouldn’t imagine artistic photography is only a dream, thus not needing to follow any rules or guidelines. You still need to know the composition rules, the framing and focusing techniques and the post-processing software that would enable you express yourself through your art. Processing your images is essential, so you have to dedicate a lot of time to understanding your software tools. This is the prosaic side of your art you have to master in order to be able to unleash your creativity and create outstanding images that would impress millions of viewers.

Equipment is the other big secret great artists have in common. You can’t create amazing art by using low quality tools, cheap lenses and poor lights. Awesome portraits are only possible when you use the right lenses and the most appropriate light for this type of shooting. You may not feel like investing so much money in a high quality short prime lens, but you’d be absolutely wrong. The quality of the glass has a direct influence on the chromatic and distortion aberrations, so it’s in your best interest to buy the highest quality equipment possible.

Art photography - winter

Photography done as a fine art requires passion, time, dedication and a good budget to invest in the best equipment and accessories. Once you have this foundation, you can go ahead and build on it, pursuing your your visions and sharing them with the world through your precious gift which is your artistic nature. The line between great artists and average one is so thin that it’s quite hard to see most of the time. Yet, your hard work, grit and creativity can get you there.

Ways To Find Good Family Portrait Ideas And The Importance Of Using Them

family photography

Being the head of a family can be a stressful, but it is very rewarding. If you are the head of your family, you know that it is very overwhelming to keep up with all the different factors. There are several ways for preserving the memories of your family, and the best one that is used by so many families is family portraits.

The best thing that you can do is to use the best family portrait ideas. So where do you find these ideas? There are several ways that you can use to find the best ideas, and you are going to learn some of the best ways in this article. Most people are not willing to look for the right ideas. That is why they don’t have good family portraits in their homes.

Best Ways for Finding Good Family Portrait Ideas

family portrait with baby

Here are the best ways for finding good family portrait ideas.

1: Talk a Professional Photographer

There are professional photographers who have been taking family pictures for several years. Start by searching for these photographers. They have the best ideas and you won’t regret if you use them. After finding the right photographer, ask him/her to show you the best family portraits.

You will make the right decision because the family photographers have several family portrait ideas. Go through these ideas and choose the ones that you love. If you love the ideas of a certain family photographer, hire that photographer. The photographer is good at taking family pictures.

A photographer can also help you create a family portrait that perfectly fits with your needs. All you need to do is to tell the photographer what you want. If you do this, then you don’t even have to go through all the family portrait ideas. You can make the best family portraits for your family.

2: Internet Research

There are thousands of family portrait ideas on the internet. Therefore, look for the best ones that you love. You can use your favorite search engine to find these ideas. The good thing is that you don’t even have to spend money to see these pictures. You can also search for websites of the best family photographers and look at their family portrait ideas.

The most important thing is for you to choose a family portrait that you love. You are going to find several ideas, so take your time and choose the best ones. If you have a big family, choose the family portrait ideas for big families. Don’t be like those people who rush to choose an idea, and they end up not liking it.

See also: Thousands of ideas about Large Family Photos on Pinterest

3: Visit your Friend’s Homes

Some of your friends might have the best family portraits in their homes or even offices. These portraits are the first thing you will notice when you visit their homes. You can use the same portraits in your home. I’m sure your friends won’t mind if you use the same portraits.

The good thing about talking to your friends is that they can refer you to the family photographer who took the photos. This will make it easier for you to choose the right photographer. You don’t have to do your own research. Use the same photographer and you will get the best family portrait.

The Importance of Using the Best Family Portrait Ideas

There are several reasons why you should use the best family portrait ideas. Know that the family portraits will stay in your home for several years. So, you should make sure that you are using the best ones. Here are the importance of using the best family portrait ideas.

Reminds You of the Good Times

The good thing about family portraits is that you can use them to capture a moment in time. It is essential to capture the fleeting moments. That is why you should take your time and look for the right photographer, who will take the family photos that you need. The time and effort that you put into this will be worth it in the end.

Family is Important to You

family portrait

People who will come to your house will know that family is important to you. These family portraits are displayed in your home. Therefore, your visitors will know that family comes first for you and you are proud of your children. There are different ways that you can use to show your family portraits. Therefore, if you choose the best family portrait ideas, your pictures will look good in your home.

Making Pictures Memorable and Original

children portrait

When you are searching for the right family portrait idea, you will come across so many of them. There are those with different settings and poses. Therefore, you can find the right portraits by talking to a photographer. If you want to make the pictures memorable, then you need to choose the best family portrait ideas. You can use the tips mentioned above to choose the right family portrait.

You now know how to select the right family portrait idea and the importance of using the best family portrait ideas. Most people don’t take their time to look for the right family portrait idea, so they end up losing their family pictures. This happens because they might end up not liking the family portrait they chose. The good thing about family portraits is that they make the pictures look original and memorable. You will never forget the good times if you choose the right family portrait idea.

How To Take Close-Ups Of Animals Without Disturbing Them

fox photo

Wildlife photography is simply amazing. It’s a pleasure to see all those eagles, wolves, bears, squirrels and who knows what else doing their thing, right there, in the middle of their natural habitat. These portraits capture the very essence of those beings, their magnificence and their soul. Such shots have the power to connect emotionally with the viewer, demanding attention and establishing a sort of eye contact that’s very hard to ignore.

wildlife photography

However, taking wild animal portraits isn’t easy. In order to maximize the impact on your audience, you need close-ups. On the other hand, perhaps it’s not such a good idea to get that close to a wild beast that might decide to have you for dinner. Besides, some animals are shy, so they tend to run away from people who get too close to them. They are not used to humans, so they tend to avoid contact. Others can become aggressive if they feel you as an intruder. Mothers can cause you a lot of trouble, as they have the natural instinct of protecting their cubs. No photo is worth a life, so you’d better refrain from getting too close to the little ones, no matter how cute they may be.

Tips on How to Take Close-ups Animal Photography

These being said, since animals are such great subjects, many photographers try to capture their awesomeness in close-up. If you know how to do it, you can be rewarded with some really cool shots. This article is going to give you a few ideas to improve your chances of success.

Remote, Solid Tripod and Patience

photographer and his tripod

The first thing to know is that no wild animal is ever going to pose for you. The best photographers know patience is a must-have virtue in such situations. Many of them spend countless hours in the cold or under the scorching sun, waiting for the perfect moment to come. They can’t get close, as they might scare away the animals. It’s much better to set the camera on a tripod and wait for the animals to come to you. You can use your remote control for zooming or for changing various parameters such as focal length, exposure and ISO value. You need to hide yourself, if you want to capture the best wildlife moments. Staying too close to the camera won’t do you any good, so make sure you have a remote and a solid tripod.

Telephoto Lenses

When taking photos of animals, telephoto lenses are your best friends. You have to remember that these portraits are good only if they capture the subject from very close. A good zoom lens can help you get closer to birds flying high in the sky, to bears picking berries or to gazelles drinking water. Under these circumstances, you can leave your fixed focal lenses at home, as they won’t help you take those amazing shots you are after. As extreme telephoto lenses aren’t cheap, you have to invest a good chunk of money into your passion, so be prepared to empty your bank account until the next paycheck. Nonetheless, if you invest in a high quality lens, you are going to be rewarded with stunning portraits of animals. Besides, if you decide to sell your photo gear, you can recover most of your money back, as used lenses still have a good market value.

Try Farm Animals or Pets

pet photo

Photographers who aren’t really into wild life and adventure can try their skill on farm animals or pets. They may still be camera shy, but they won’t hurt you whatsoever. Nonetheless, you should use a telephoto lens, as it would enable you to keep a low profile while waiting for the perfect shot. If the subject is one of your pets, you may be able to use a wide-angle lens, as your furry friends don’t tend to run away when they see you. A sleeping cat can make the perfect subject for animal portrait photography with a good viral potential. Publish it on your social media profiles and you are going to be surprised at how many people appreciate this kind of shots.

Last but not least, keep in mind that you may have to take hundreds of shots in order to get a single one. However, their beauty is surely worth the trouble.

Best Wedding Photography Tips For Beginners

groom and best man wedding day

Will you be obtaining a wedding photographer for your up-and-coming wedding? This is often the best idea that you can have for capturing each and every moment of this special day. These professionals will have cameras that can be used to take pictures, videos, and even aerial photography if they have a drone that they are bringing to this occasion. Many people are unable to afford an actual wedding photographer, and therefore must try to get this done on their own. They will have to recruit the help of people that either have smart phones or can use cameras that they already have in order to take all of the images and videos on their wedding day. There are a few tips that people should use if they are going to do this for you if you are planning a wedding in the near future, strategies that will allow friends or family members to get the best pictures every time.

 

What Are The Best Shots?

wedding photographer

People often ask what are the best angles or shots that people can get for their wedding day. There are obvious ones that everyone knows including the cutting of the cake, the kiss after exchanging vows, and of course the picture with the bride, groom, best man and bridesmaids. However, if these shots are not taken at a particular angle, with the right lighting, and also with the people properly prepared, it can change the entire image from something that can be magical to a dismal disaster.

 

Preparing People For Pictures

Just like the director of a movie, you are responsible for creating the magic on the screen, but in this case it is for your wedding imagery. There are a few things that you need to tell people that will be there such as maintaining a happy expression. This is a best of occasion, one that is supposed to be a glorious moment, and therefore there should be smiles on the faces of people that will be attending your wedding that day. This is particularly true for the main images which will be of the bride and groom, and all of the people that are wearing suits and downs that are also part of the wedding.

 

Consider The Angle

wedding photography

Instead of having a straight shot, one that is at the same level as the bride and groom, you might want to consider taking the image from a lower angle. One of the reasons for doing this is that it gives a very unique perspective, making the image larger-than-life, when you are angling up instead of looking straight on, or even angling down. It is also important for the shots that you take to be from perspective that will create unique appeal. For example, instead of being right in front of the people that you are taking photos of, you should be off to the side so that you can get the full perspective of the location.

 

Consider The Lighting

wedding photo

If this is going to be done in the morning, one of the best shots that you can take of anyone that is there is to capture the morning light. Preferably, it should be off to one side, up in the corner if possible, giving that etheric appearance that will showcase not only the bright light of the sun, but the shadows that it will cast on the people that will be present. If this is outside, you can also get shadows with photos are taken under the trees, and the inside, you can adjust the lighting manually. It’s also a good idea to bring in lights that can be used for images that are portraits in order to cast the right shadows on their faces and body to give depth and dimension to every image that is taken.

 

How To Get The Best Videos

If you are doing videos, there are only a couple things that you can do to change things up, and also make the videos much more appealing. Unlike a camera, and having the ability to keep people still, people at the wedding are always going to be on the move. That’s why you need to shoot clips, preferably with a small amount of movement while filming to make it seem more real. These clips can be stitched together, and with the addition of an aerial view provided by a drone, it can create something that is very unique that will cover the entire wedding.

After you have gathered all of the equipment that you will need for the wedding, and you are ready to show people what to do, just remember that they need to coach the people that will have their picture taken so that they can add some type of emotional dimension to the images. Consider your lighting both inside and out to create shadows that will create the right perspective. Finally, the videos that you do should be short clips, creating a short movie of your wedding day, in order to keep viewers interested.

Tips For Getting Proper Exposures For Night Photography

night photography at the farm

Night photography can be very rewarding. You can get some really stunning pictures, as many bridges, monuments and buildings are lit by night, thus becoming the ideal subjects for many professional photographers and beginners alike. However, very few people manage to get those great shots they see with their eyes. The camera settings become way more important by night, as even the slightest mistake can cost you the shot. Exposure and ISO are the two major parameters you need to learn how to set up in order to be able to shoot in the darkness. As a matter of fact, there is a triangle consisting of aperture, exposure and ISO value, all three parameters being in direct relationship with each other.

 

night photo

Determining The Right Exposure Level

Exposure is extremely important because it determines the amount of time the diaphragm stays open. By night, this time needs to be longer, in order to allow enough light to enter the camera. This means hand holding your camera isn’t the best idea of all. You are going to need to use a tripod, otherwise it’s going to be hard to prevent the camera from shaking. In bright light, the exposure time is very short, so you don’t have to worry about holding your camera steady. Night time is different, so you have to get used to taking your tripod with you, if you want great night shots.

Check out our gallery of night photos collected as examples:

Getting the proper exposure is the biggest challenge of night photography. In addition, when the amount of available light is so little, you need to shoot at higher ISO values, thus having to deal with digital noise. You should know that the higher the ISO value, the lower your exposure needs to be. One step up on the ISO scale is equivalent to one step down on the exposure scale. When trying to set the right exposure, you should probably start by deciding which ISO value you are going to use. Each camera model has its own behavior at high ISO values, so you should know which is the upper limit for yours. Ideally, you should stop by the value that enables you to get low digital noise. Once you set your ISO, go ahead and try various exposure values. Choose shutter speeds of 1-4 seconds, combined with an aperture of f/8 – f/11. If you aren’t happy with the results, try tweaking either the aperture or the shutter speed until you are satisfied with the images. It comes without saying that you need to make sure your camera is in Manual mode. Entry level DSLR and mirrorless cameras have predefined settings for night photography, so you can choose one of them, if you don’t want to bother with trying to get proper exposures by yourself. Nonetheless, the fun of night photography is to try to discover the right settings by yourself, so that you can impress your friends with your abilities and with your results.

You should also be aware that in the Manual mode you can only play with exposures up to 30 seconds. If this is not enough to get a good shot, you need to switch to the Bulb mode. The working principle is the same as in Manual mode, with the difference that the shutter stays open for as long as you hold the button down. If you want the shutter to close you have to release the button. This enables you to have an excellent control over the exposure time. Nonetheless, releasing the shutter without introducing camera shake into the exposure is almost impossible. This is why you need a remote shutter release for such situations. There are two types of remotes. They are both effective and fairly inexpensive, so you can choose the one that suits best your preferences.

Determining the right exposure level can be difficult at night, as choosing the metering mode has several challenges. Spot metering is going to confuse your camera, as aiming at a bright light will lead to a totally different value than aiming at a dark background. One possible solution is to use spot metering and to aim at the highlights. Just take some test shots, make the necessary adjustments, and see which setting works best.

When taking test shots, you can speed up the process by reducing the exposure time while increasing the ISO. Once you are happy with the result, work your way down to your regular ISO, and adjust the shutter speed accordingly.

Last but not least, consider bracketing, as it can serve you for creating HDR images later on. Even if you don’t like HDR photography, you can still use bracketing, as it is going to enable you pick a slightly different exposure, thus allowing you to save some otherwise doomed shots. Take your time, relax and don’t worry if you have to spend a lot of time on each shot. These efforts are going to pay off.

The Right Camera Accessories For Stealth Photography

Do Not Disturb The Decisive Moment

candid shot

One of the the greatest photographers who used the stealth style of photography was Cartier Bresson. He came up with an idea called the decisive moment, a moment when something special was happening, that shouldn’t be disturbed but that had to be recorded in photographic form. To do this he chose equipment that didn’t bring much attention to himself and more importantly that didn’t disrupt the moment he was trying to capture. If you want to shoot with this level of stealth, you will need the right equipment.

Choosing A Stealthy Camera

stealth camera

Not all cameras are great for stealthy shooting. Many of the professional and amateur DSLR cameras are not the best choice. They are not the best choice because on each shot a mirror is lifted and snapped back down into place, this causes a very loud sound that brings attention to the photographers and that disrupts the scene that they are shooting. When choosing a camera, you will need something that has a quiet shutter, that doesn’t have loud mirror slap and that is small and easy to handle.

Read more: Stealth Gear: My Favorite Cameras and Photo Accessories For Covert Photography

Snipers Need Silencers & Photographers Need…

In the last section we talked about how most SLR cameras do not make the best stealth shooting cameras, especially up close. Most of the greats use range finders because they do not have a loud mirror that will sound off every time you snap the shutter. They also choose smaller cameras that are easier to hide, that might not look like what ppl see professional photographers shooting, although these cameras are just as expensive. They typically use cameras that hide into the background, that allow them to look like a tourist, that do not bring much attention to the the photographer.

Choosing The Right Lens

It is always our believe that the best place to spend your money as a photographer is on lenses and not cameras. Camera bodies become outdated, they all basically do the same thing for their class, but the lenses that you buy are often the greatest factor on determining your end product. When it comes to shooting with stealth in mind, we can look at what some of the greats used. Some used mid range primes like a 50mm, most use 35mm to get up close and have a wide angle, and some use telephotos so that they can shoot at a large distance from their subjects. All of these make really good stealth shooting lenses and all depends on what type of results you want, how much depth of field, how much isolation or background do you want.

Cheating With Telephoto Lenses

There are many ways to be a stealthy photographer. You could depend on a quiet camera and sneak shots from up close or maybe you could use a telephoto and stay far away from your subject, capturing them in your camera like a sniper strikes down an enemy. This style can create some interesting images and your subject matter will likely never know that you have captured them. There are many telephotos on the market that are great for this purpose.

The Greats Get Close

candid shot of a kid playing bubbles

Some of the best photographers who utilize stealth are not afraid to get in close to capture a moment. They jump in with cat like ninja quickness and take an image before anyone notices. They use quiet cameras and wide angle lenses to make a good image. This type of photography takes bravery but it is a lot of fun. There is a renewed interest in this type of photography and you might be interested in this style.

Putting It All Together

There is a lot of history when it comes to the need of a photographer to be stealthy. It all started with the great street and photo journalistic photographers who didn’t want to disturb what happened but only wanted to record it. Cartier Bresson, the famous street photographer focused on what he called the decisive moment, that perfect moment when life happens and when you need to be ready with your camera unknown to your subject matter. To achieve this goal you will need the right equipment. You will need a camera with a quiet shutter, you will need to decide how much guts do you have: will you cheat and shoot far away from your subject with a telephoto like a sniper or will you get right up close and snap a photos like the greats with a wide angle or some other prime? Each can make great photographs.