Quick Tips for Shooting HDR Nighttime Images

HDR image by Rick Sammon

Title: Cool Dude
Location: Miami’s South Beach (taken on my Florida Photo Caravan last week)
Exposures: 0,+2, -2 EV
Processing: Nik HDR Efex Pro and Topaz Adjust

• Making HDR images at night is cool, just like this cool dude. 
• Be sure to capture the entire dynamic range of the scene. Keep underexposing until you see not blinkies on your camera's LCD monitor, and keep overexposing until you see can see into the shadows.
• Use slow shutter speeds to blur moving lights, but make sure the main subject holds as still as possible.
• Use ghost-reducing features in HDR programs and plug-ins to avoid or reduce unwanted subject movement. 
• Shoot at the lowest ISO possible. 
• Keep in mind that the best time to take nighttime pictures is not at night, but rather at dusk, when there is still a bit of light in sky. A black sky equals a noise-filled sky.
• If the background is too busy or distracting, get down low and use the sky as your background.
• In a situation like this, use auto white balance.
• Remember what you mother told you, "Wear white at night." Be careful please.
• If the reds are over-saturated, reduce the saturation in the red channel. That way, your other colors will not be affected.
• Bring a flashlight so you can see what the heck you are doing! :-)

Hey! If you have a nighttime HDR photo tip, please post a comment here. Thank you.

For info on HDR Efex Pro and Topaz Adjust, click here

Hey... this image will be in my iPad app. Soon come! Stay tuned for info. Lots of new photos, new tips, videos and audio recordings!

Explore the light,

P.S. For more info on HDR, see my book:

Be My Guest Monday 1/31/11: David Page

It's "Be My Guest Monday," the day of the week that's turned over to a talented guest blogger for a quick tip.

Today's guest: David Page

It is amazing how you can increase the speed of a race car and improve the composition by just tilting the image. The images above are the same except that the top one was tilted before the cropping step. I prefer to to start with a lot of resolution on an image that is "normal" with plenty of room to crop. I then rotate the image in Photoshop several times till I get my favorite angle. Then I go back to the original image and rotate it only once to that best angle again. The reason for the re-do is that every time you rotate an image there is slight small detail loss and to repeat it many times could take the fuzz right off of a peach.

The same result could be accomplished by just rotating the camera on the original shot. But at over 100 miles per hour you only get one attempt at the best angle for the best composition. Be careful in choosing the background as leaning trees etc. can ruin the effect.

• • •

David Page is the co-author, along with Dr. Richard Zakia, of Photographic Composition - A Visual Guide. These two dudes are also two of my favorite people.

Florida Photo Caravan: South Beach – Final Shoot

Photograph by Rick Sammon
We just finished the final shoot on my Florida Photo Caravan. We had some fantastic models and talked about controlling the light and making pictures.

For the opening image for this post, we bounced the light from our on-camera flashes (set on TTL) into a Westcott reflector – after setting our cameras to Manual and setting the exposure for the light coming through the window behind our model.

For the two pictures below, we bounced the sunlight, which was coming from above and behind the lifeguard stand on which the model was standing, onto her face and body – again using a Westcott reflector.

Photograph by Rick Sammon

Photograph Rick Sammon

Reflectors rock.

I took all of these pictures with my Canon 5D Mark II and Canon 25-105mm IS lens.

We are setting the dates for our 2012 Florida Photo Caravan  - and Delray Goes Digital project. Interested? Shoot me an email at ricksammon@mac.com.

Explore the light,