Monday, December 3, 2012

The Freaks Come Out At Night

Already called it a day? Great, then you could consider night photography.

Just to warn you, this is one of the most challenging projects to take on. Why? Because taking photos at night require more technical adjustments. At times, night photography may mean you need to improv to "cheat" with constraints such as lighting and focusing.

Of course, if done properly, night photographs can produce some amazing images. But, it can be painfully difficult is you don't understand and apply the technicalities that go behind it.

First, let me show you a photo I took a while back:

Remember this one?

OK, you can probably see the obvious errors in this photo, so let's talk.

First of all, I did not use a tripod to take this photo. I know, I know, it's one of the most essential equipment to use especially for night photos, which would have helped so that the image has sharper results... um yeah..This is very important for night photos because even the slightest movement can offset the quality of your photos, e.g. the above photo. If you plan on taking photos at night, your best bet to get great photos is to use a tripod or if that's unavailable, set your camera on a flat solid surface and use the self-timer to activate the shutter. You want to reduce all possibilities of blurring your images because unfortunately that is a point of no return. You can reduce noise later in photo editors but blurs are a different case.

Now, look at the light posts. They don't help the photo look very appealing and kind of just look like brights blurs. A reason for this is because when taking photos at night, a narrow aperture is beneficial for making these lights look more like a sparkle than a flash of light. Setting the camera aperture, something I did not know at the time, is a great method to gain that look (if your camera allows). This also helps extend your depth of field, referring to the gradual transition of sharpness within your photo.

On a sheet of paper, write your name in the middle. Now take the paper and slowly bring it in closer to your eyes. Getting blurry right? And as you pull the paper away from your eyes, the letters begin to look clearer, or sharper, then begins to blur again the further the paper is extended. This is an example of depth of field. Keep in mind that a camera lens mimics a similar technique but varies depending on your camera type and other settings.

When you first decide to take a night photo, it would be useful to study the setting carefully. Notice the dark spots and lit areas. If you take notice of where the most appealing areas are, be sure to include it in your photo, move closer to that area, and maybe make it your focus.  

I've read about some concepts like ISO and shutter speed that really determine how well a photo turns out, but it would help to get these concepts explained in layman's term please.

Clearly, I know there much more than a few corrections that could have been made to create a clear and crisp photo, but I would like to hear from you. So comment away!

Remember when it's all said and done, there's more than what meets the eye... 

1 comment:

  1. Wow, these are some helpful and interesting tips that I never knew about night photography. It all makes sense too, now all I need is a better camera and i'll be prowling campus at nights taking random pictures.