Night portrait with beautiful lighted city scape in low light condition


voice123

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Jan 16, 2012
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#1
I went to hk recently also went up The peak at night, i saw those street photo booth people that took picture for tourist able to take beautiful picture.

they use 2 flash , first came out when they press the shutter , 2nd flash came in like 1.5 sec after the first 1 , the shutter is about 2.5 to 3 sec...not sure how they do it.

the ppl in the pic and the background is both lighted evenly and very beautiful

any pros know this technique ?


credit to:edson rivera
 

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catchlights

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Sep 27, 2004
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#2
Why flashes two times?
One for the human subject, and one for the background? Lol.

Anyway, exposing human subject with two flashes will risk to have double images if they moved. Possible that is a easy way to ask the human subjects to hold their pose between two flashes, and only one flash being recorded.

But from the samples photos I saw, showing at the victorial harbour, clealy is a photoshop job, there is no way to give nice blue hour background at anytime of the night for 365 days.
 

daredevil123

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Oct 25, 2005
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lil red dot
#3
If they are using a canon camera and its pop up flash, it is possible. Some canon cameras use a flash to allow the camera to acquire focus in low light (because it it does not come with a focus assist light). The flash at the end of the exposure is the actual flash because it is set to rear curtain sync.
 

voice123

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Jan 16, 2012
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#5
i don have access to the photo, i will try to find it online and post it if i see any. the place is The Peak not Victoria habour, where by the background is far and lighted up very nicely. And yes those photographer are using canon. was too dark to see the model but i don think is a poppy flash more like a mounted
 

BBTM

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Nov 23, 2004
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#6
I was there doing time lapse last year. Saw those photographers too. I suppose first for subject and before close shutter, the flash fires off again. They also puzzle on the LED from my Sony flash, haha! ;p
 

shierwin

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Dec 29, 2008
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#7
I think they shot the ppl and merged the image with a standard template in photoshop. Did they have some pics displayed on site? The background might be the same for all the pics :D
 

voice123

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#8
but the place is very dark and yet they able to shoot the people and the background lighted so evenly. trying to learn this technique, nxt time i can setup my booth there HAHA
 

voice123

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#9
I think they shot the ppl and merged the image with a standard template in photoshop. Did they have some pics displayed on site? The background might be the same for all the pics :D
don think so leh, they use some wireless sync when they shoot the picture , it display on the ipad real time for the customer to review, some customer very yimjim take many many shot until they finally accept their shot..
 

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catchlights

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#10
i don have access to the photo, i will try to find it online and post it if i see any. the place is The Peak not Victoria habour, where by the background is far and lighted up very nicely. And yes those photographer are using canon. was too dark to see the model but i don think is a poppy flash more like a mounted
I did't go up to the Peak due the to raining season when I was at Hong Kong in May this year.
I think they shot the ppl and merged the image with a standard template in photoshop. Did they have some pics displayed on site? The background might be the same for all the pics :D
That is what I saw in Victoria Harbour, clearly is a photoshop job. the sky is just plain grayish, and the skyline is misty, noway you can change the white balance, outline/enhance the buildings in camera without affecting the human subject.
 

ricleo

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Mar 13, 2004
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#11
typically for canon if you are using rear curtain sync flash, the flash will go off 2 times, once before the exposure and the 2nd one at the end of the exposure.
 

Feb 26, 2014
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#12
Hi even my compact camera has this it is rear sync flash

But yes they photoshop the image after
 

Octarine

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Jan 3, 2008
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#13
i don have access to the photo, i will try to find it online and post it if i see any. the place is The Peak not Victoria habour, where by the background is far and lighted up very nicely. And yes those photographer are using canon. was too dark to see the model but i don think is a poppy flash more like a mounted
The first flash is the pre-flash for the foreground object, metering for flash exposure. Usually most people won't see it because under normal conditions (e.g. fill flash / first curtain sync, shutter around 1/120s) the pre-flash and real flash are fired very close together. It becomes more visible with 2nd curtain sync and shutter of 1/30s or slower.
 

Oct 12, 2004
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#14
The first flash is the pre-flash for the foreground object, metering for flash exposure. Usually most people won't see it because under normal conditions (e.g. fill flash / first curtain sync, shutter around 1/120s) the pre-flash and real flash are fired very close together. It becomes more visible with 2nd curtain sync and shutter of 1/30s or slower.
I agree with Octarine. It sounds like they were using ttl flash metering and rear curtain sync.
The length of the exposure is purely for the background ambient light.
The first flash is the pre-flash for determining the flash exposure of the foreground subject and does not contribute to any part of the exposure.
The second flash is the one that actually lights the foreground subject only.

If you want to try this technique, you need to remember a few things.
- Tell your subject not to move until after the second flash goes off. Its quite funny how many shots I have of ppl walking away from their pose even after telling them to wait for the second flash.
- Measure the ambient light and set the exposure manually independent of your foreground subject. Eg. if you want city lights in the background perfectly exposed, then set your exposure for that first without worrying about the foreground.
- Set your foreground flash exposure independently. I find its easier to use manual flash mode for this but if you do, you'll need to tell your subjects when you're starting the exposure cos they won't know. If you use ttl, then the first pre-flash will tell your subjects that you're starting your shot.
- pose your foreground subject such that it receives little to no ambient light. You want to light your foreground with the flash only if possible to avoid a faint blur of motion. This will depend on how long your ambient exposure is. The longer it is, the harder it is for the subject to stay very still for the entire time.
- This technique doesn't work if there's a strong light source lighting your foreground already.
- the flash won't contribute to the exposure of things far away so don't worry, your flash won't mess up your ambient light exposure that you carefully metered for at the beginning.
- use a tripod if your ambient light exposure is long. Ie. less than hand-holdable shutter speeds.
 

Mythmaker

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Oct 8, 2011
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#15
I also agree with Octarine.

The reason you are seeing 2 flashes is because it's a older generation flash. Nowadays with ETTL II, the preflash and the main flash is fired almost together, so your eyes see them as 1 flash. Last time, it's 2 separate fires.
 

voice123

New Member
Jan 16, 2012
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#16
I agree with Octarine. It sounds like they were using ttl flash metering and rear curtain sync.
The length of the exposure is purely for the background ambient light.
The first flash is the pre-flash for determining the flash exposure of the foreground subject and does not contribute to any part of the exposure.
The second flash is the one that actually lights the foreground subject only.

If you want to try this technique, you need to remember a few things.
- Tell your subject not to move until after the second flash goes off. Its quite funny how many shots I have of ppl walking away from their pose even after telling them to wait for the second flash.
- Measure the ambient light and set the exposure manually independent of your foreground subject. Eg. if you want city lights in the background perfectly exposed, then set your exposure for that first without worrying about the foreground.
- Set your foreground flash exposure independently. I find its easier to use manual flash mode for this but if you do, you'll need to tell your subjects when you're starting the exposure cos they won't know. If you use ttl, then the first pre-flash will tell your subjects that you're starting your shot.
- pose your foreground subject such that it receives little to no ambient light. You want to light your foreground with the flash only if possible to avoid a faint blur of motion. This will depend on how long your ambient exposure is. The longer it is, the harder it is for the subject to stay very still for the entire time.
- This technique doesn't work if there's a strong light source lighting your foreground already.
- the flash won't contribute to the exposure of things far away so don't worry, your flash won't mess up your ambient light exposure that you carefully metered for at the beginning.
- use a tripod if your ambient light exposure is long. Ie. less than hand-holdable shutter speeds.
I means the 2nd flash is handheld by another person not sure if he fire it manually
 

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Oct 12, 2004
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#18
I means the 2nd flash is handheld by another person not sure if he fire it manually
How the second flash gets triggered doesn't matter all that much. It can be manual or wirelessly triggered. The second person could be instructed to fire it manually or it could be controlled completely by the photographer wirelessly.
You can trigger it any time during the exposure really but you wouldn't want 2 flash pulses on the same model at different times unless your intention was to get a double image or at least one with slight blur due to the slight movement of your model between flashes.

If your subject was completely stationary (as in inanimate) then yes you could have multiple flashes going off at different times to light your subject. A variation of this would be 'light painting' except you do it with a torch rather than strobes.

If you wanted 2 flash from different angles on a live subject like people, you should trigger them simultaneously.
 

Jan 5, 2010
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#19
I would have thought that the first flash will be the pre-flash for the human's red eye reduction, and 2nd fash is at the rear curtain. The duration between the 1st and and 2nd flash is subjected to the exposure time?
 

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voice123

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Jan 16, 2012
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#20

credit to:edson rivera

another nicely taken night photo

any good flash required or build in 1 can do the same
 

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