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  • 5 Tips to Help You Do Better Nighttime Photography

    Nighttime photography offers the opportunity to observe and photograph some great astronomical subjects including the moon (as a whole or during different phases), stars, the Milky Way and even celestial events such as the Northern Lights. If you are new to night photography or want to improve your shots, here are 5 tips to help you on your way:

    1. Decide on a subject

    Nighttime photography 01 - northern lights over mountains and a lake

    Capturing beautiful images at night is not as easy as you might think and camera techniques and settings differ greatly to photographing during the day. Turning up to a location in darkness and hoping to shoot as you would in the daytime can lead to disappointment. You won’t be able to see much by nightfall and finding a scene to shoot will be extremely challenging.

    Whether your dream night shoot is to photograph the stars, the moon, meteors or the Milky Way, for example, decide on a subject first and then where you would like to shoot it.

    It may seem obvious, but if you want to photograph the moon, there are different phases of the moon to consider.

    Nighttime photography 02 - full moon landscape at night

    You also need to be aware of the changes in light that can occur with a full moon or a new moon. Photographing under a full moon will make the sky and landscapes brighter. This means that you won’t be able to photograph as many stars as you would with a new moon but you will see a beautifully lit landscape with fewer dark shadows.

    Neither of the phases is more photogenic than the other, they simply offer different opportunities and variations in lighting. Research the moon’s phase and plan where you would like it to appear in your image by using an app like PhotoPills or The Photographer’s Ephemeris.

    Nighttime photography - stars and tree at night

    2. Choose your shooting location during the day

    Exposing yourself to a location and its surroundings during the day will help you decide what you want to shoot later at night.

    Find a location before dark to avoid the frustration of seeing blind at night and a likely lack of decent images from the shoot. Give yourself time to find your spot and come up with a composition during the day to help you capture better images by nightfall.

    Nighttime photography - star trails over a mountain valley

    3. Include other elements

    Once you have chosen a subject and found a decent location to shoot, your next task is to find a composition you like and that will work well combined with a beautiful night sky. Look for other interesting elements to add to your shots. Other subjects you can include with the moon and stars might include architecture, trees, the landscape or an interesting water source.

    Nighttime photography - northern lights over mountains and waterfalls

    4. Use a tripod

    To stabilize the camera and capture sharper images, always use a tripod. You will need to operate your camera in near darkness and allow for longer shutter speeds in order to record a brighter image than the blackness you will initially see with your naked eye.

    A tripod will help you to get the best image quality and a sharper shot. If you don’t have a tripod with you, you could improvise by finding a spot to put the camera down such as on a wall or ledge to keep it from moving when taking the photo.

    Any image blur and camera movement can ruin nighttime photography. Even if your hands are as steady as a surgeon’s in the operating theatre, you will move the camera slightly while pressing the shutter button. So in addition to using a tripod, a remote trigger to fire the camera is another good idea.

    Nighttime photography - crescent moon and clouds

    5. Raise the ISO

    You will find that if you want to shoot striking photos after dusk, you may need to use slow shutter speeds (long exposures). In order to maintain the quality of a photo that you can capture during the day when using a low rating of say ISO 100-200, this is necessary.

    Sometimes a long exposure may not suit the subject you are photographing so to help you shoot faster (in other words, use a faster shutter speed) during low light, you will need to increase the ISO setting to accommodate.

    Nighttime photography - stars and waterfall

    The advantages of increasing the ISO to 3200 or 6400 include more detail in the image and a brighter exposure with a shorter shutter speed. However, this comes at a price as the higher the ISO you choose, the more noise will be evident in your image, impacting the overall quality.

    I would recommend going for a balance between a slightly slower shutter speed from 1 to 30 seconds and a medium ISO setting of around 1000 or 3200 to get the best image possible without compromising too much on quality. Note: This will depend on your subject though as star trails or the Milky Way may require it higher.

    Nighttime photography 08

    Conclusion

    Once you have experimented with these tips you will soon discover that photographing in the dark can be just as enjoyable and easy as shooting during the day. So what’s stopping you from getting out there and capturing your best ever night shots?

    Do you have any nighttime photography tips you would like to share?

    The post 5 Tips to Help You Do Better Nighttime Photography appeared first on Digital Photography School.


    Source: DP School

  • Pros and Cons of Chimping – What is it and how it can hurt or help you?

    Whether you are an amateur taking photos with your smartphone or a pro using a DSLR, if you make digital photographs, you do chimping. It doesn’t matter if you’ve heard the term or not it could be hurting your photographic practice so keep reading to learn about the pros and cons of chimping and how to use it (or stop using it) to your advantage.

    Chimping Tutorial Intro - Pros and Cons of Chimping - photo of a DSLR camera screen

    What is chimping?

    There’s no doubt that digital photography has many advantages. One of them is being able to see the result of your shot immediately instead of having to wait until you got your film developed. This practice is commonly known as chimping, since Bryan Peterson coined the term and it became popular.

    However, it’s not all good. If used without much thought you may not be taking full advantage of it or even worse, it could be working against you.

    So, chimping is simply the act of checking your images on your camera’s LCD screen. It doesn’t necessarily imply what you do after that. You may delete some photos, you may do some adjustments to your settings for the following shots or you may even stop taking any more photos because you’re satisfied with what you’ve got. That’s where it gets tricky.

    Pros and Cons of Chimping

    Pro #1

    If you change the conditions dramatically and need to readjust your settings it’s very helpful to find out immediately if you got the shot right. Here is an example.

    It was a bright sunny day so I was photographing outside with an ISO of 100, f-stop of f/5.6 and a shutter speed of 1/250th. When I walked inside a room it was obviously much darker. But because I was looking at the beauty of the walls and the play of the elements and design I just snapped a photo without thinking about the change of lighting. Needless to say, it came out extremely dark.

    Fortunately, however, I did some chimping, realized the issue and adjusted the ISO to 400.

    Chimping Tutorial Outside Inside - Pros and Cons of Chimping - comparison of two photos

    Con #1

    Things look very different on your camera’s small screen as compared to the big screen of your computer. You might think the photo you just took is perfect but that’s not always the case. For example, this image looked good when I was chimping on the camera when I shot it, but once I downloaded it back home I realized the focus was not really sharp.

    Chimping Tutorial Soft Focus - Pros and Cons of Chimping

    When zoomed in on the computer this image is clearly out of focus, but it looked sharp on the camera.

    Pro #2

    If you are looking for a really concrete shot or effect you can immediately know if you are achieving it or what you need to adjust in order to get it by chimping and reviewing the image on the camera.

    For example, I wanted to capture the movement of these ice skaters. This is always a tricky effect because you need to set the right shutter speed so it doesn’t freeze the subject or leave just a smudge if it’s too slow. If you are interested in learning how to do this I invite you to check out my tutorial, “How to Have Fun with Shutter Speed and Added Motion Blur”.

    You also need to move the camera (panning) at the same speed of the subject so this is an exercise where you need to try many times and definitely do some chimping.

    Chimping Tutorial Slow ShutterSpeed Blur Movement - Pros and Cons of Chimping - skaters

    Con #2

    Another con of chimping is you can miss out on the perfect moment, that once-in-a-lifetime shot because you were looking at your screen instead of paying attention to the scene.

    Here, for example, I wanted to capture the elephant throwing the dirt with its trunk. But I looked at my screen (and snapped) a second too late and all I got was the dirt cloud and the trunk almost all the way down.

    Chimping Tutorial the Decisive Moment - elephant

    Fortunately, elephants do this a lot, so I just had to wait a little bit longer (without taking my eyes off them this time) and got the photo.

    Chimping Tutorial the Decisive Moment2 - elephant spraying dirt

    Tips

    If you have some time to review your photos and you’re sure you’re not going to be missing a once in a lifetime opportunity, then go ahead check, but do it well. Zoom into your image especially on any risky parts, like the shadows and highlights, to see they still have detail as well as your focus point to see that it’s sharp.

    Chimping Tutorial Critical Points Zoom Review

    Use the Histogram

    When you are chimping, check your image but don’t forget to review the histogram as well. It should have a good range from black to white with many grey tones (unless you purposely went towards one end of the spectrum).

    Most DSLR cameras have this feature integrated. On mine (a Canon 70D), for example, you access the histogram by playing the image, then clicking on the info button and it gives you the histogram by color channel and the general histogram.

    Chimping Tutorial Histogram In Camera Review

    Even after reviewing your photos and deciding you have what you need, do some extra shots. For example, I went to photograph a temple so it was mostly about architecture photos. After walking around it and shooting every angle on the outside, I went inside and did some shooting there as well.

    I figured I had all I needed to head back to the city. Fortunately, I never put away the camera when I’m out for a shoot, especially in a new place. So when I was walking down the stairs I found this little girl in a traditional costume just resting from all the tourist attention she was getting. Never close the door to possibilities!

    Chimping Tutorial Extra Shot

    Finally

    One last thing, reviewing and deleting the photos you don’t want can save you space on your memory card but having the screen on consumes a lot of battery so make sure you keep a good balance. No use in having lots of battery life if you don’t have space for more photos and equally useless to have an empty card but no battery to shoot!

    So chimping is not a good or bad thing in itself, it’s more about how you use it. Let us know in the comments what are your chimping habits and share some of your tips!

    The post Pros and Cons of Chimping – What is it and how it can hurt or help you? appeared first on Digital Photography School.


    Source: DP School

  • How to Make Color Adjustments Using Tone Curves in Lightroom

    In this article, you’ll learn how to use tone curves in Lightroom to make color adjustments to your images and bring your visions to life.

    Color and RAW format

    If you photograph in RAW file format, you know that the images straight out of the camera are often a bit flat compared to photographing in JPEG format. Most RAW images require some sort of editing to make them look close to how you envision the scene when you took the shot.

    Adjusting color in an image is a very powerful component in editing and can really make an image go from okay to wow when done correctly. Of course, it goes without saying that too much color and the image will appear unreal.

    Color Adjustment Bread Still Life Photo - How to Make Color Adjustments Using Tone Curves in Lightroom

    Lightroom color adjustment options

    Whether you photograph in RAW or JPEG, Lightroom is one of the many editing software you can use to bring out the color in your images. Even within Lightroom, there are multiple ways to edit your image based on the look you want to create.

    To understand how to edit the color, you need to first understand color in an image and how it is affected. One of the main things that impacts color in an image is the quality of the exposure. Apart from the exposure, there are other factors that can be adjusted to affect the color.

    Color Adjustment in Lightroom Blueberries in a bowl Still Life Photo - How to Make Color Adjustments Using Tone Curves in Lightroom

    This image was straight out of the camera. You can see on the histogram that the image was slightly overexposed and the color temperature is that of a warm day.

    You don’t need to adjust each and every one of these editing elements, but understanding how they work will help you figure out which one to use based on the desired outcome of your editing skills.

    Color Adjustment Blueberries in a bowl photo still life image

    The same image edited to my specific style and brand aesthetics – light, bright and airy – with some Tone Curve adjustments to the red and green channels applied.

    I want to focus on the Color Curves Panel for the purpose of this article. I recently stumbled upon this panel and once I understood all of its capabilities, it quickly became one of my favorites in terms of experimenting with different colors to get the look and feel I wanted for my images.

    Now, I am not saying that you have to use only the color panel for your images. But it is simply one of the tools you can use to edit your images.

    What are Color Curves?

    Color Adjustments in Lightroom Tone Curve Adjustments

    Color Curves are located within the Tone Curve Panel in the Develop Module in Lightroom. The Tone Curve is one of Lightroom’s more powerful panels and it represents all the tones of your image.

    The bottom of the Tone Curve is the Tone axis that represents the Shadows on the left and Highlights on the right. In the middle, you have mid-tones, which are then further split into darker mid-tones, called Darks, and brighter mid-tones, called Lights. The left axis represents the brightness or darkness of the specific tonal regions. The further up the left axis you go, the brighter the tones get.

    Now within the Tone Curve, you can select RGB (all the colors) or you can select the curve for each specific color individually (Red, Green, and Blue).

    When you adjust the RGB curve, you will find that your image starts to have a lot of depth. I typically adjust the RGB Curve first when I use Curves in my editing workflow.

    Adjusting the Curves

    To adjust the Tone Curve you can move the sliders or directly drag the line of the curve itself up or down to get the desired effect by changing the shape of the curve. To do this, you must first click the box in the lower right corner of the tone curve so that the sliders go away.

    One of the most commonly used techniques for adjusting images is called an S-curve where the graph actually looks like the letter S. You can do this by dragging the lower third of the line down a bit and raising the upper third just slightly. The S-curve deepens the shadows and brightens the lighter portions (adding contrast), really helping the image pop.

    Color Adjustments in Lightroom Public Transportation in Rural India Photo

    Using Color Curves

    The Color Curves in Lightroom can be used to fine-tune the color in specific regions of your image. For example, you can adjust the blues in your shadows or the greens in your mid-tones. You don’t have to adjust all three tone curves for every image.

    When deciding what direction to adjust your Color Curve remember:

    • Red is the opposite of cyan.
    • Green is the opposite of magenta.
    • Blue is the opposite of yellow.

    Reducing any one of those colors using Color Curves, increases that color’s opposite.

    One of the most common reasons for using Color Curves is when correcting skin tones in images with people. Yes, you can adjust the skin tones by adjusting the White Balance. But if you want to adjust it even further if you’re not quite getting you the look you want, you can use Color Curves.

    Color Adjustments in Lightroom Girl eating summer ice cream

    An exaggerated example of using the Red tone curve to add a warm summer glow to an image and enhance the skin tones.

    Applications

    With Color Curves, you can adjust the color in a limited part of the tonal range versus the global adjustment (the whole image) you get with the temperature slider. For example, if your shadows are overly red you can reduce the red in the shadows through the Color Curve without impacting red globally.

    Save your Color Curves as presets

    Adjusting Color Curves can take a lot of time. So when you find a Color Curve combination that really works for you, you can save it as a preset. You can then use this as a starting point for your images and fine-tune the curve as each individual image necessitates.

    To do this, click on the “+” button at the top of your Presets Panel on the left side of Lightroom. When the preset box pops up, just make sure you only check “Tone Curve” so that when you use this on other images, your preset is adjusting only the Tone Curve.

    Not many people use the Tone Curve as an essential part of every edit. Most people just stick to the basics panel and make global edits to the image and call it done. I use the color panel when I want to elevate my image and/or when the basic adjustments are really not giving me the look I want for my image.

    Another way to get acclimated to the tone curve is to study the tone curve adjustments for presets you already own and use. This gives you more insight into how to use the tone curve for subtle and specific changes.

    Conclusion

    There is no right or wrong way to edit color in an image. Each photo shoot has its own unique feel, and accordingly, will have its own unique color edit as well. There are multiple ways to achieve similar editing results in Lightroom. But what is most important is that you understand all the tools available to you within Lightroom so that you can take full creative control over the direction of your edits.

    How do you use Color Curves? Please share in the comments below.

    The post How to Make Color Adjustments Using Tone Curves in Lightroom appeared first on Digital Photography School.


    Source: DP School

  • BluDomain Killed My Website and Email – What’s Next?

    A few weeks ago I noticed that I had not received any new emails for a day or two. Odd I thought, but it’s summer and maybe people are just on holidays. This was a day before I was leaving for a trip, so I was in the process of checking in my family for […]

    The post BluDomain Killed My Website and Email – What’s Next? appeared first on DIY Photography.


    Source: Diyphotographynet

  • Here are the secret ingredients to achieving your dreams

    If you read the title you are probably thinking what the hell is this douche on about. This sounds like some new age bulls***. Well, welcome aboard the new age bull**** train! I’ve decided I am going to write some smaller personal articles on self-development, mindset, and routines. It’s not always easy working in this […]

    The post Here are the secret ingredients to achieving your dreams appeared first on DIY Photography.


    Source: Diyphotographynet

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