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Nov 28

Stephanie Kay-Kok There are two views of a city that a photographer can capture at night: the distant view of the bright cityscape , with glowing skyscrapers and silhouetted buildings, or the street view of pedestrians, street lamps, and stretches of darkness. So, the gist of it is if you are photographing in a place that’s extra dark, it might be good to set the compensation to a negative value, such as -.7 or even -1 to ensure the camera does not erroneously overexpose the scene. In painting this is called “chiaroscuro.” The dictionary defines it as “the treatment of light and shade in drawing and painting.” Wikipedia describes it as “the use of strong contrasts between light and dark, usually bold contrasts affecting a whole composition.”. This authenticity is one thing that makes street photography so compelling. There is certainly “bad” light at night, although I try to avoid making excuses like “the light is no good” because I do feel that a good photo can be wrestled out of any kind of light. Having said that, when I was learning the basics, I experimented with White Balance all the time! Well, actually, the first thing to realize is that it doesn’t think at all, it’s actually quite dumb. You don’t want to suddenly find yourself in a bad situation. So, what is good light? By also finding places where there is something interesting behind the glass, you can use this to create multilayered photos that have a dreamlike quality. We’ve already covered a few useful motifs (silhouettes, directional light sources, creative use of color) for night street photography. When you look at the histogram of a night image it should be further towards the dark end (left) than a day image. While some street photos are posed (like the Humans of New York portraits), the majority capture genuine moments, expressions, and emotions. In this article you’ll learn different camera settings for different street scenarios. For example, if your subject is wearing a striped shirt, that’s an easy target for the autofocus system. The reason for this is that at night in the city there are many extreme changes in the brightness of subjects, such as spotlights, car headlights, deep shadows, etc. As a photographer who got his start in the streets of Tokyo, it was inevitable that I … Of course, this effect can also be done in the daytime, but when combined with all of the lights and colors of the urban night, it can make for some stunning photos! If you point it at a scene that’s mostly very dark, the camera is likely to overexpose (and vice versa for very bright subjects). After I do this, if I’ve had to raise the exposure setting a significant amount, the grain will look terrible. Cityscapes are lit with a myriad of interesting and colorful light sources, such as lampposts, neon signs, store windows, car lights, and bare bulbs. Not only that, but if you want to capture static images, shooting with illuminated lights will allow you to capture images with a much faster shutter speed. But since I recommended Aperture Priority, how can we control our shutter speed? If you are planning a trip to NYC, he is offering his new guide free to DPS readers, titled The New York Photographer’s Travel Guide. Like any other form of street photography, shooting at night is all about finding good light and we have to be super-aware of where the good light is. October 16, 2018 by Robin Wong. Noise is okay—embrace the noise. Look for the light, and the rest will be a piece of cake. If your lens aperture doesn’t go wider than f/4, this is a fantastic way to get around that limitation. Please do so in the comments below. Still on the topic of light sources, it’s important to know that artificial lights often add a bit (or a lot) of color to your image. This grain looks much more pleasing to the eye than brightened, extreme digital noise and it can further hide some of the technical deficiencies in underexposed images. If you want to avoid overly harsh shadow and stark contrasts, soft light sources are better. Essentially, I want my subject to be illuminated unevenly—I want light here, and shadow there. If you are leaning against a shop with a lit sign behind you, like the man in the photograph above, then as subjects pass you they will be lit with a strong light that has a gorgeous color to it. Then I will use Lightroom’s grain settings to add grain back into the photo. In street photography the aim is to be fast, and get those unique moments. So, how do we set the camera optimally for night street photography? At night, this changes. Also, at shutter speeds around 1/60th to 1/30th, you can experiment handheld with slight blur, where your subjects are somewhat sharp but have a little motion to them. The reason for that is the lack of light, making photography more difficult. It requires you to manipulate ISO, aperture, and shutter speed among many other things. Pixabay. I like Lightroom’s built in Noise Reduction. First, let’s get into camera settings. Similarly, metal surfaces can reflect and distort light source in surprising and unusual ways, so keep an eye out for such surfaces as well. Let’s Keep it That Way. If you are into night street photography, a camera with a larger sensor will be a better choice. To recap: we are in Aperture Priority, with an average metering, and using exposure compensation when needed. One way to do this is “panning.” In this case, we could switch to Shutter Priority mode (or Manual mode) and select a shutter speed between say 1/30 and 1/60, and then follow moving subjects with the camera while shooting. I don’t like to let it choose for me (this goes for daytime and nighttime) but I do like to use tracking if it’s available. And that about sums it up! This is the crucial piece of the puzzle that will let us keep our shutter as fast as we want. For these photos, I will first ignore the noise and get the exposure and look correct in Lightroom. It is possible to shoot at f/4 in brighter areas, but being able to shoot at f/2.8, f/2, or even 1.8 will greatly expand your opportunities. On this note, aim to get your photos as sharp as possible when you want sharpness, but know that a photo can still look fantastic even if it’s not tack sharp. I try to get close to many of my subjects, but I will also try to create scenes where the subjects are small aspects of the overall scene. If the noise is still bad after noise reduction I will sometimes bring it into Photoshop and add a very slight Gaussian blur. In these cases, you will want to lower the exposure compensation on your camera slightly (-). D0N MIL04K. You can use a faster shutter speed and include more depth of field in the photo and less grain (noise). To learn more about photographing with a high ISO, you can read about it here: Reasons to Shoot High ISO Images. Incandescent lights cast a warm color. It’s important to learn how your camera “thinks.”. Having said that, even on the average metering mode, the camera can be thrown for a loop by those aforementioned bright or dark spots in a given scene. Shop windows with lit up displays are great for this.

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