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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.
(laughter and cross talk) Steve's out there shooting again. I'm in here snacking. There's a problem we haven't addressed yet though, and that's white balance. White balance, as I mentioned earlier, is always really an issue when you're in low light because everything turns a lot more red. Steve and I are taking different white-balance strategies. He's gone out and is trying a manual white-balance strategy, and I've decided to simply ignore white balance all together. I'm shooting RAW and so I know that I'm going to be able to change my white balance after the fact.
So--and I wasn't just looking for more food here-- I was looking for my white balance card. What I'm going to do is go out there and put my white balance card in there somewhere and take a picture of it and then take it away, and then I know that later I'll be able to use this as a reference to correct all of the white balance in my image. So we're going to shoot some images and then talk about it and see what strategy works better. Chris could you hold my white balance card? Thank you.
Steve might be doing manual white balance, but I'm doing this much fancier white- balance-card-based thing. What I'll do with that is be able to sample that with the white balance dropper in my RAW converter later and then apply that white balance to a bunch of images. So that'll give me a real accurate white balance, but it's going to be an extra step in my image editing process. If I needed to get these images out of the camera and delivered really quickly, that might be not be so practical. (cross talk) Okay Steve, I have explained to them already that obviously in low light we need to worry about white balance and that you and I took very different strategies.
Steve: Yes, we did. Ben: You went all manual on me. Steve: I did go on manual. This is a little a trick. I don't even know where I learnt it, but it's very effective, because I actually selected white balance, the color temperature, and I did kind of a custom white balance, not officially, but by using the live view, the camera's live view function. I'll show you what I did. I basically activated live view, so you get a view of the table. You can see the color is not very good here. Ben: There's a red shift that you usually get in low light. Steve: You really do. So in order to figure out what the most natural rendition is going to be visually, just using my eye in live view, I press and hold the white balance. And by turning the front dial, you can see I'm changing the white balance, and you can see the scene shifting in color until it becomes kind of natural-looking.
I like to go too far back and then come back and see what looks good. And this gets me really close, just by eyeballing the white balance. Though in RAW, of course, we can seamlessly correct without any real repercussions, I find it's easier to get those skin tones when you get the white balance right out of the box a little closer. Ben: A little closer, right. It can be difficult when things are shifted really far to the red, even if you're trying to manually correct it in RAW. You've got so far to go, it's hard to even have a reference point. So that is a very nice way of ball-parking it.
It's not super accurate, but it's certainly better than starting with a really red image. Steve: Absolutely. Ben: White balance is a critical choice to make though, when you come into low light. If you're shooting JPEG, you absolutely have to think about white balance. You've got to get it right in camera because that's going to be very difficult to correct later if you got a JPEG image, because you can't actually just alter that white balance.
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