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Foundations of Photography: Night and Low Light

Street shooting


From:

Foundations of Photography: Night and Low Light

with Ben Long

Video: Street shooting

Shooting in the city at night is not that much different than shooting in the city during the daytime. Just as in the day, you are going to wander around and you are going to look for good light, and when you find good light, you are going to work it. You are going to try to find the subject within it somewhere. You are going experiment in different ways and see what you can make out of that scenario. Now the big difference is that during the day, of course, your light is predominately coming from overhead and it's casting a very particular kind of shadows and illuminating things in a very particular kind of way. Maybe it's also reflecting off of buildings and things and creating some indirect light that's very nice, but it's still all coming over from overhead.
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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

Street shooting

Shooting in the city at night is not that much different than shooting in the city during the daytime. Just as in the day, you are going to wander around and you are going to look for good light, and when you find good light, you are going to work it. You are going to try to find the subject within it somewhere. You are going experiment in different ways and see what you can make out of that scenario. Now the big difference is that during the day, of course, your light is predominately coming from overhead and it's casting a very particular kind of shadows and illuminating things in a very particular kind of way. Maybe it's also reflecting off of buildings and things and creating some indirect light that's very nice, but it's still all coming over from overhead.

At nighttime, your lights coming from lots of different places and it's lots of different colors. You have got light a bit above you, but you also got light coming directly from the side. It's all different colors. It's casting lots of very different kinds of shadows. Areas that you've seen during the day that you see nothing interesting in might be very, very different and very compelling at night time, as the light changes and color and shadow really rearranges itself compared what it looks like in the daytime. This is the fun part of working at night. Otherwise, mundane situations may become very, very interesting.

Now technically, you're not going to do anything different than what we've already been talking about as regards to low-light exposure. You are going to be balancing ISO versus noise, versus image quality, trying to maintain your shutter speed, and considering your depth of field as you try to keep your shutter speed up. Because of all of these bright point light sources that are around, like streetlights and window lights and things, you are going to be running very often into high-dynamic-range situations that are going to be driving your light meter crazy.

We are going to look at some ways of dealing with those. You are also very often going to be finding that a scene that looks really night- like and dark, the way your camera wants to expose it, when the image is done, it's going to look pretty bright, maybe even like daytime. We are going to show you some ways of dealing with that. One thing you might want to consider when working at night is to shift into a black-and-white mindset, because very often at night it's entirely about light, it's entirely just shadow, light, dark, and that's very often--you can express that better in black and white than you can in color.

If you are not used to working in black and white, take a look at my Foundations of Photography: Black and White course for more information on how to shoot and process black and white. Now you maybe thinking, well yeah, you're in a big city, you can go out and do low-light urban shooting; I live in the small town, I can't. Absolutely not true. Yes, we have got all these bright lights and tall buildings around, but you can find interesting light at night in any kind of small town. Urban situation, rural situations there is still going to be streetlights, there is still going to be lights coming out of people's windows, there is still going to be very different shadows, very different lighting than what you used to in the daytime.

So don't let your location be an excuse not to get your camera, go out at night, and try some of what you have seen here and what we are going to show you in the next couple of movies.

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