I try not to go below 1/60 shutter at night w/o flash. Have this question: I try to play around with ISO, apeture & shutter speed in manual mode w/o flash. When I got it right and take the picture, sometimes the picture turned out to be reddish / yellowish, why is it so?
yes, different types of light source produce different white balance, can use the preset white balance closest to what you think of, or set kevin, or set custom white balance, or shoot raw and adjust in post
Handheld night portrait with nicely exposed background is slightly more challenging.
To prevent handshake blur, a min shutter speed is required. Hence it's easier to shoot wide than tele (remember 1/FL).
To have both foreground and background in focus, have to stop down. Again shooting wide is easier as DOF is higher for same f-stop at shorter FL.
With both shutter and aperture limited, only left with ISO to compensate for ambient exposure. Usually for night scene, an under expose of about 1 stop is ok as Catchlight had mentioned.
Next is to use flash as fill light for foreground subject. Haveing the subject in the shadow is better than in lighted spot as flash can freeze it easier without ghosting.
To put simply, 2 lights fall on your subject at the same time: Ambient + flash.
Canon does a not so well job at AWB when both of these light mix.
Nikon does better, but over corrects sometimes.
There's always camera magic. Just put to program mode and shoot. Sure can get at least a decent image.
And for DOF, there's not always a need to put f8. Check your focusing window, if where you focus is already at infinity or near infinitely, just f4 will give you a more than great DOF.
(I'm assuming you're shooting at the wide end of your lens)
I will try to make a guesstimate:
Shooting a group on the water front at the esplanade facing away from the MBS.
1) M Mode, 1/50s, f4, ISO 800/1600, flash +1/3fec, or
2) P Mode.
If on PnS set to night mode (with flash on), hold steady & chances you get nice shots.
If on Dslr, set to manual metering
ensure VR on, if available
use F2.8, 4. or 5.6 for aperture (limited by your lens max aperture) &
1/30, 1/60, or 1/125 for shutter speed
set ISO to auto (if not available, set manually for correct exposure)
set flash to iTTL
use bigger aperture &/or slower speed combinations to capture more ambient, background light e.g. christmas tree/lights etc *
use flash compensation to adjust if flash exposure too dark or too bright on subject
use exposure compensation if ambient light/background too light/too dark
use higher shutter speed if your hand not steady
use larger aperture if you want more background blur (bokeh), smaller if more depth of field (more things in focus)
hope this help
* ambient/background light in night photography seldom over-exposed, more often than not its under-exposed. Whichever aperture/shutter speed combination you select, the auto ISO will ensure metering, exposure is "correct"
Last edited by s1221ljc; 27th December 2011 at 11:18 AM.
Appreciate all the advices here.
1 question, suppose its the characteristic of the camera: say when I setup up to take night shoot with the correct ISO, apeture n shutter speed. After shooting, I realise subject still bit dark. Decided to on the flash. Will the flash fill automatically to the setting which I set earlier or it will just flash full? Do I need to increase the shutter speed? Flash is on i-TTL.
camera limitation really. ur flash cannot light ur background... thats why when u say u use flash, ur subject ok, bg black.
if u meter for background, ur flash will automatically act as a fill. at least thats what it does for me... (i don't always fiddle my flash settings)
1) if subject is dark, flash will fire full and light subject. (and maybe light background as a byproduct)
2) if subject is slightly underexposed, flash will fire a little to light the subject to the "correct" exposure
3) if subject is brightly lit, flash does nothing except provide catch lights.
What is "correct"? its controlled by FEC on the flash.
ittl/ettl is independent of other settings such as aperture, iso and shutter speed.
unless the setting is the limiting factor (such as max sync speed, too low iso/aperture against max flash power)
i use AV mode.
try to meter the background then AE lock.
then focus on your subject and shot.
if shutter speed is too slow then change ur iso.
hmm, i have a question, if using a hotshoe mount flash only
isit better to get a mini-softbox and shoot straight on?
use a bigger catchlight, shoot the flash upwards and use the catchlight to fill?
which provides a less harsh/softer lighting?
1) flash has a set travel distance, and will reduce in brightness as distance increases. Read up on the inverse-square law. That's why your background is black. So never expect to light up an entire building with your flash. You see a lot of those people in Orchard.
2) lets say you're shooting at 50mm. To prevent handshake, your shutter must be set to 1/50. At 100mm, 1/100. 200mm, 1/200. Just 1/(focal length) to prevent handshake. But of course also take your <insert handshake reduction function's name> into account.
If you find a need to you can also get a flexible tripod. These are small and easy to carry about. Or a handheld tripod capable of holding a DSLR
Nikon D7000 | 18-105mm | 55-200mm | 50mm 1.8D | SB700
1. meter the background, then select the iso, aperture, and shutter speed that mataches the metering, or 1-2 stops below, depending on how i want the background to look like.
2. set the camera to manual mode and set the selected iso, aperture and shutter speed.
3. if the shutter speed is too low, use a tripod, and use shutter release string/timer. use rear curtain sync, and ask the subject to stay still until the flash is fired. pls note that if the shutter speed is very low and there are ambient light around the subject, any tiny movement will create a 'halo' around the subject.
4. set the flash to ittl to light up the subject, taking note of the min & max shooting distance displayed on ur flash and ensuring ur subject is within that distance.
here is a sample pic taken with the above method but with manual flash (iso800, f/5.6, 1/30s):
flash using modifier will always be softer than direct flash. which is better depending on whether you want hard light or soft light.
unless u r shooting indoor and have a ceiling/wall to bounce the flash, at nite time aiming the flash upwards will not provide you enough light to light up the subject.
im mostly casual walkaround and snap portraits, thus for convenient's sake, mounted on hotshoe
you said night time flash upwards not enough light, what if i use a much bigger catchlight and not the inbuilt one...would it have sufficient power?
also mini-softbox with straight on flash wouldn't be as diffused/soft compared to catchlight?
if u use a bounce card on the flash and angle it towards ur subject, there would be sufficient light if you subject is closed anough. using bounce card will reduce the output of ur flash by 1-2 stops, so the flash will need to fire up to twice the power to make up for the loss. if the subject is far, the flash might hit it's max output and ur subject will not get sufficient light (for nikon flash the ready indicator will blink after firing indicating an error). the bigger the bounce card, the more diffused and less loss the light will be. u can experiment at home to find out the number of stops ur bounce card will lose by shooting a teddy bear using manual flash with & without the bounce card.