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Foundations of Photography: Night and Low Light
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Choosing a mode


From:

Foundations of Photography: Night and Low Light

with Ben Long

Video: Choosing a mode

(cross talk) Ben: So I have zeroed in on an ISO strategy. I have got my ISO up I think where it needs to be get me a decent shutter speed. I am shooting at 3200. Is that about where you are at? Steve: Yeah, I am actually a little bit higher. This camera allows me shoot at even higher than that, at 6400, so I am taking advantage of it, because the light is really low here. Ben: There's also a mode choice to be made. Obviously, I can change the shooting mode on my camera, which gives me more or less control over different parameters. What's your approach on this one, Steve? Steve: Well, I am a big fan of aperture priority.
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  1. 2m 27s
    1. Welcome
      2m 27s
  2. 6m 20s
    1. What can you shoot in low light?
      2m 17s
    2. What you need for this course
      4m 3s
  3. 28m 54s
    1. Working with exposure parameters in low light
      1m 13s
    2. Working with image sensors in low light
      4m 35s
    3. Working with shutter speed in low light
      3m 3s
    4. Considering motion blur
      1m 14s
    5. Working with ISO in low light
      2m 29s
    6. Assessing your camera's high ISO capability
      4m 52s
    7. Working with in-camera noise reduction
      2m 4s
    8. Working with aperture in low light
      2m 10s
    9. Understanding dynamic range
      2m 2s
    10. Working with color temperature and white balance
      1m 11s
    11. Exposing to the right
      4m 1s
  4. 34m 39s
    1. Introduction
      1m 36s
    2. Talking with Steve Simon about low-light photography
      13m 46s
    3. Shooting by candlelight
      1m 55s
    4. Choosing a mode
      4m 34s
    5. Exploring the role of lens stabilization
      3m 1s
    6. White balance considerations
      3m 27s
    7. Flash considerations
      1m 18s
    8. Problem solving
      1m 35s
    9. Understanding aesthetics and composition
      3m 27s
  5. 30m 4s
    1. Introduction
      2m 20s
    2. Preparing for the shoot
      5m 25s
    3. Act I: adjusting to the light
      3m 48s
    4. Intermission: reviewing the strategy
      1m 53s
    5. Act II: moving to the back of the house
      2m 35s
    6. After the show: lessons learned
      1m 18s
    7. Reviewing the performance images
      12m 45s
  6. 19m 18s
    1. Shooting in the shade
      2m 55s
    2. Street shooting
      2m 52s
    3. Shooting flash portraits at night
      4m 5s
    4. Controlling flash color temperature
      2m 50s
    5. Adjusting exposure to preserve the mood
      2m 34s
    6. Dynamic range considerations
      4m 2s
  7. 41m 0s
    1. Shooting lingering sunsets
      1m 42s
    2. Exploring focusing strategies
      5m 17s
    3. Composing and focusing at night
      10m 42s
    4. Shooting the stars
      9m 27s
    5. Practicing low-light landscape shooting
      9m 55s
    6. Focusing on the horizon in low light
      3m 57s
  8. 13m 4s
    1. Light painting: behind the camera
      7m 34s
    2. Light painting: in front of the camera
      2m 13s
    3. Manipulating long shutter speeds
      3m 17s
  9. 1h 4m
    1. Correcting white balance
      8m 49s
    2. Correcting white balance with a gray card
      3m 50s
    3. Correcting white balance of JPEG images
      2m 0s
    4. Blending exposures with different white balances
      7m 13s
    5. Brightening shadows
      9m 8s
    6. Reducing noise
      7m 44s
    7. Sharpening
      9m 14s
    8. Correcting depth-of-field issues
      9m 32s
    9. Correcting night skies
      6m 39s
  10. 53s
    1. Goodbye
      53s

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Foundations of Photography: Night and Low Light
4h 0m Intermediate Mar 29, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Join photographer and teacher Ben Long as he describes the tools, creative options, and special considerations involved in shooting with a DSLR camera at night or in low-light conditions, such as sunset or candlelight. The course addresses exposure decisions such as choice of aperture and shutter speed and how they impact depth of field and the camera’s ability to freeze motion.

Ben also shows how to obtain accurate color balance in tungsten and fluorescent lighting situations, and how to postprocess the images in Photoshop to remove noise caused by higher ISO settings. He also demonstrates accessories that can greatly expand your low-light photography options.

Topics include:
  • Understanding how low light affects exposure, shutter speed, color temperature, and more
  • Preparing for a low-light shoot
  • Shooting in dimly lit rooms
  • Using the flash indoors
  • Shooting in the shade
  • Taking flash portraits at night
  • Controlling flash color temperature
  • Focusing in low light
  • Light painting
  • Manipulating long shutter speeds
  • Correcting white balance
  • Brightening shadows
  • Sharpening and noise reduction
Subjects:
Photography Photography Foundations Night + Low Light Lighting
Author:
Ben Long

Choosing a mode

(cross talk) Ben: So I have zeroed in on an ISO strategy. I have got my ISO up I think where it needs to be get me a decent shutter speed. I am shooting at 3200. Is that about where you are at? Steve: Yeah, I am actually a little bit higher. This camera allows me shoot at even higher than that, at 6400, so I am taking advantage of it, because the light is really low here. Ben: There's also a mode choice to be made. Obviously, I can change the shooting mode on my camera, which gives me more or less control over different parameters. What's your approach on this one, Steve? Steve: Well, I am a big fan of aperture priority.

I use probably aperture priority about 88% of the time when I am shooting, but in certain situations I like to go to manual. Then reason being, in this particular situation the, light is fairly even, so wherever I kind of aim my camera, the exposure is going to be fairly constant. So once I determine my exposure, when I go to manual, I have the freedom to include point light sources like candles without affecting it. And because I'm shooting kind of wide, if I was in an auto mode and I go real close up to the candle, it's going to affect the meter and maybe you want to underexpose a little.

So in this instance, I am going to go with manual. Ben: So what you're worried about is in automatic mode framing wide enough, which is hard not to do, he has got a 16-35 lens, so he's got a pretty wide angle, the bright candles are possibly going to throw the meter off. They are going to expose--the meter is going to expose where the candles and your scene is going to go dark. So you are locking in your exposure by going to manual mode and preventing that problem from happening. Steve: I am, because for me, the most important thing is to get the exposure right on the guests here at the dinner party.

I want to get nice shots of the people. If the candles blow out a little, I am not going to worry about that. I am going to use those as more of a framing device. Ben: Okay. I am shooting with a faster lens than you are; I am shooting with a 2.8 16-35. You've got a f/4 16-35. I think I am going to go to aperture priority mode, because I want to be sure that that aperture stays really wide. And it's dark enough in here that you might think, well, it's going to stay really wide anyway, but I am noticing it is closing down to 35 a little bit, and I want to be sure that I can keep it opened.

Different strategies. One is not right or wrong necessarily. We'll do some shooting and find out, maybe that my Aperture Priority idea is just not going to work out for me. Ben: Let's go over there and take some pictures. Steve: Let's do it. (cross talk and cameras shooting) Ben: Did you go into manual mode and meter there and follow your meter and set your parameters that way, or did you take a reading in another mode and then dial that into manual mode? Steve: That's a good question.

I mean certainly, maybe the textbook way is to be in manual and meter that way, but because I use Aperture Priority about 90% of the time, it's a very natural thing for me to be in Aperture Priority to make sure that I aim my camera at the areas that are important, particularly a neutral tone, a neutral gray area, determine what that reading is, remember it, and then set it manually. And once I've set it, I can forget it and then I can concentrate on capturing the moments. Ben: Right. Standing in here in the room right now, it doesn't look like it's that dark of a room, but you start looking through that viewfinder and you start seeing those slow shutter speeds and this is really kind of an intense low-light situation. It's a much more difficult shooting situation than you may think when you first walk in here.

Steve: No question, I mean I don't really like to as we--as none of us do, we don't really like to necessarily shoot at the very high ISOs, but at the same time, we are not afraid of it, because now we can get shots that we wouldn't have got otherwise. We can capture the natural light in a very natural way. And the shutter speed was not necessarily as fast as I'd like, but I think a lot of those images are going to be shot. There may be a few people of people who were really moving that will be little blurred and sometimes a little blur in an available light shot can add to the atmosphere of the situation you are photographing.

Ben: I did a little experimenting. I shot some in aperture priority mode. I went back to program mode and I actually could not confuse the meter. I was pleased to find that the candles are not enough of a point light source that they were throwing the meter off. What I am finding myself frustrated by is I don't think I want the wide angle that I am using. I think that I want to go more telephoto, and so I'm going to switch to a longer lens, stay in aperture priority mode, and go for some really shallow depth of field. I think the next thing we want to think about though is being sure that our shots are sharp, so we are going to come back and talk to you about stabilization.

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