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Crappy Lighting Conditions: Low Light

Lesson 3 from: FAST CLASS: Conquering Crappy Light

Lindsay Adler, Erik Valind

Crappy Lighting Conditions: Low Light

Lesson 3 from: FAST CLASS: Conquering Crappy Light

Lindsay Adler, Erik Valind

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Lesson Info

3. Crappy Lighting Conditions: Low Light

Lesson Info

Crappy Lighting Conditions: Low Light

all right. Problems. Difficulty focusing good low light or if you're shooting a cannon, five d You have this every day? Um, I'm kidding. This is like the jabbing back and forth thing. Totally. Okay, So difficulty focusing. Focusing on the dark sucks. But we're gonna tell you a bunch of different ways to overcome that. Um, Also balancing the exposure with the ambient light can be rough, because during the day, we're dealing with something that it's so bright. We need to go ahead and crank up flashes or reflectors and stuff toe match that and then we shouldn't in low light. A lot of times you do with the issue of having to dial everything way down, which is where small flash come in really handy because they've got limited power to him. On the other one is achieving that good quality of light, because if you get everything balanced and you get an exposure and it's in focus most the time, you still have a nasty streetlamp overhead with the poor quality and direction of light. So we're gon...

na try to fix all of that here really quick in five minutes and then we're done. No. So The first thing is the autofocus assist team. So that guy, basically is this. It's the headlamp that you have right on your camera. So what if I could trick this 30? I can actually Trickett Perfect. See, that guy's got a tight on that. Cool. Okay, so that's your little headlamp right there. That is gonna save you. So for them. So that guy right there is basically seeking putting a lamp out there to allow me to get focused. This is wonderful. Sometimes the lens hood might block it a little bit, so just kind of keep that in mind. But this is great. You just have to keep in mind if if you have this activated, its within a menu settings, you've got to go in and actually turn it on. I'm not sure if it's on by default on your camera, but we can actually plug in here, right? Yeah. This is something that is exists in both Canon and Nikon. And so you're looking for the word A f assist beam or illuminator? Depends on what you have. So that's the word your looking for? I believe by default it it's on in most cameras I know that mine is offering now. OK, so do we. Have Ah, we jacked in guys, You seem a camera. Yeah, there it is. Awesome. He's like, look at the giant monitor behind it. All right, Cool. So in Nikon, it is within your auto focus section right here. Okay? We're just gonna go in and it's a eight on the Nikon D 800 guys. All of you should have your manuals. But we have limited space in our camera bags, and no one really wants to drag around. Stupid manual. So if you go to Canon Nikon, whatever your manufacturer's website is, they have a pdf version. So there's no excuse not to have a pdf version saved to your phone using a dropbox account or wherever you have to do it so that you have this kind of information accessible. So go to Canon Nikon, Get the pdf of your manual. Find out exactly what sub menu this is going to talk about. A lot of stuff that's kind of camera specific functions that you all have. That might be a different number or name in your specific camera, so basically, I'm just gonna go ahead and turn this on. And now the other key that we have to look at is how we have our cameras set up. So you're gonna notice that I have my centrepoint focus turned on here and you see a f s down on the bottom? Basically, I'm not bursting off motor drive mode or continuous focus our ai servo. I have my single center focus point selected, and I'm taking one frame at a time. And with those settings and that turned on, it's gonna give me that little headlamp action when I'm shooting in low light. And so if you were in continuous, would that work? No, it will not work because it's not gonna be able. Unfortunately, this little headlamps not able to keep up with you spraying and praying 11 frames a second. So this is really kind of more methodical solution. Next thing we're gonna talk about is the flash. If you guys want to get a tight shot of this, there's gonna be this little red compartment right there on the front that's got an infrared assist. Femara, Nayef assist team is gonna do the same thing. But when you have this on top of your camera. See if I can still trick it into happening. Could have had batteries, but we're gonna flip that guy on there. And now, when this is on here and turned on and you have it accessible in here, there's a sub menu on your flashes again. Look at your Flashman. You're gonna have to turn on the auto focus. Assist beam. So that was an illuminator. The headlight. I think most camera manufacturers call this a beam. Once you turn it on in your flash. From now on, when you're low light, you can just go ahead and take the shot there. And infrared crosshairs will admit from this That'll help you focus this rocks. Even if I'm not using my flash delight, the scene alternate on its lowest power. A lot of times flip the head around, so it's not hitting my subject. And just use the auto focus assist team to help me get focused in low light. Great. So one of the questions that I also received on the Facebook page of a lot of people are asking. They're saying I photographed concerts. I photograph events and really, really low light, and I don't want to use a flash because I don't want to get rid of the ambience. I don't want to get rid of the lighting that they provided. So what? He was just talking about their So what this flashes. And like, he said, it's an auto focus assist beam of You have to make sure it's turned on in your flash or not turned off. I think by default it's on. So if you've ever seen when someone taking a picture and you see the red light glow on their face, that's what it iss. So for those people that want to shoot the events and they don't want overpower the ambience, we're trying to focus. What he just said is, I mean, he's basically turning his flash down so it doesn't dial into the scene, points it behind him, so it's not hitting the subject. But it will still pulse that focus being. And then you can focus. It's a lifesaver. There is put a little Gaff tape or something on it. There you go, if you're really, really, really worried about it. But the neat thing is, it's amore inconspicuous than that headlamp. So if you're photographing an event. You know, you maybe want to be a little more candid about it. You don't want to be popping them with the equivalent of a flashlight or spotlight every single time you're trying to focus. So the infrared assist beam is a little more, a little more not as not as overt. And then at the same time, it's better for me personally. It does work a lot better, so it's the more efficient way to do it, Absolutely. At the same time, it's not the same thing that using a spotlight on their face, that that's what saved me at the reception's. It would be outdoors at night when they're, I mean literally outdoors at night, lit by candles and things like that. If I didn't have that, I don't know what I would have done. So that was my go to, and that's what saved me. And by the way, just while I do have this up, this is the autofocus assist beam firing on in my canon. It depends on what canon you have. It's under the auto focus menu, which makes sense. So this is what it looks like on mine. The words are a little bit different on Hiss. But here's some examples here of that autofocus illuminator or the headlamp going off. Another really cool features when you're using different pocket wizards and triggers. One of the benefits is they basically allow you to fire your flash off camera so you'll see we have it on camera here in the photo on the bottom. You've gotten that off camera. It makes your flash think that it's still attached to your camera. That's how they communicate. But it's the radio signals, and there's a little hacker. If you touch the depth of field preview button on your camera, this on mine. If you touch that, it'll make your off camera flash pulse rapidly so it'll appear like a constant light and allow you to one. Get focused to dilate the pupils on your shrink the pupils on your subject. But then also get a feel for how the lighting patterns gonna follow what the lights gonna look like before you even take the photograph. So that's something that I use all the time with off camera lights, just that depth of field preview button and honestly, years ago, I found it by bumping the thing. Crap. What happened? Like my strokes freaking out. I did the same thing. Yeah. So this is our happy accidents that we're sharing along with you guys. You don't freak out thinking you broke a string. And for people, for people that want to know what depth of field preview button usually does what it usually does. And how I used to use it is it will stop down your lens to the aperture that you're actually going to be shooting at. So if I'm shooting at F 22 it would stop it down F 22 so I wouldn't let me do it. Previewed the depth of field real time. And so I did this back in the film days when I would be shooting with no side film so I could actually preview what it was. And so when you have the flash on, it just makes it go. But then it pops. Now it has a new purpose for you guys. So the next thing is dragging our shutter. So this is how we get that ambient light. So you were talking about how this has come across where you're shooting outdoors and you know you've got a beautiful environment. Do you actually want to see it? Because if we just pop on her, flashing the first image there on the top, where they're properly exposed using TT, which will talk about but everything else just goes dark. So if you drag your shutter or slow your shutter speed, way, way, way, way down that allows enough time for the rest of the light on the scene to build back up. So think of your flashes as instant. It has a speed of its own, but your flash is gonna get there a lot lot faster than anything else, so soon as you pull that trigger, your person is exposed by the flash, and then you just allow your shutter speed the linger long enough for everything else to build up, and that's when I get the cool environment going on back there. The light trails, you can see the candle light. You can see the rest of the parties rather than just walking around from table to table to shoot the guests, and everyone else falls black in the background. And she has the question here. And by the way, Eric shot a, uh pre filmed low light at night. That's one where he's photographing with me. And so you will see that much more in depth with how you can very not just eso and things like that. So okay, so basically longer the shutter speed Mawr ambient light, ambient light is all that good stuff that's hiding in the darkness until you let it show up. Hey, um, so number six is the low light when you're not allowed to use the flash, which this is probably the thing that most frustrated me out of anything off my early career, the church where they say you can't use your flash and then everybody has the same cameras. You all using flashes in your new one who's not supposed to use it. Okay, so I have good news and bad news. So let's talk with the the problems you have. It's hard to stabilize damage, trying to keep it in focus. If you can't use your flashing, it's low light. Um, you don't want a lot of noise if you pump up your I s O. And then you want the correct exposure. All right, So these are the problems. Okay, So here's the good news and bad news. The good news is there's nothing fancy to do to solve this problem. The bad news is there's nothing fancy to do to solve this problem because it's probably what you're already thinking. These are the tools that you have available to you. So you do have high I s O. That is something you have available to you nowadays with better cameras. This becomes amazing. And this is one of those situations as well. Where I would say I don't say buy new gear. But if you know you shoot a lot of low light with no flash than having a camera that has minimal noise and really, really good, low light sensitivity would make a difference. It's based on the type of photography that you dio. So when you're in a low, late situation, you do pump up the I. So and that's why test your camera. There's a lot of information online. Were different. Nerds like him compare like noise and, uh, different. Yes, um, at the dent, the different I esos and so you figure what you're comfortable with. Like me, I'm pretty comfortable to 3200. That brings up a good point because you mentioned that you shot on film. I started on film. A lot of people watching. This probably started on film, and we're usedto buying 100 ice over 400 eyes or put it in our camera and that's it. Okay, and then early digital cameras, if you went above 800 got 800 was not usable in some cameras. Like the first digital cameras I own, Um, nowadays, though, 326,400 eso, those results are better grain than some films. Those results are better grain or lower grain, lower noise or more pleasing looking than all of the digital cameras that have come before. That that used to cost us much is your house. So I mean, realistically, it's better to go up a little higher than we might be comfortable or like we learned originally in your eyes. So to be able to freeze the moment, you can't have a blurry picture. If it's blurry, it's blurry. If you have a little green, sometimes you can do a little bit to help yourself with that noise. If you're going to get the shot of like the first kiss of the dancer that look like your clients are going to see that they're not going to see the grain. It's us. Idiots who sit in our computer at on 1 to 1 ratio is 100% like, Oh, my goodness. Look at that noise. Your client doesn't have your raw file on a 30 inch. I, Mac, you know, zoomed all the way in so they don't see that. And I would just say I mean, if you have a really old digital camera, then yes, this is a concern. You have anything the last couple years? Almost 34 years when he says up to I've got a D 700 that came out almost five years ago now, and I still shoot that for some events and deliver files at 1632 100. So not billboards. But I mean, I'll be Web and, you know, small print eight by 11 by 14 for 700 6400. Kind of pushing 1600 to 30. 200. I'm super comfortable shooting all night and delivering those files five years old. What about 800? My gosh thing. Really? So we're shooting the book and just for fun around ST Mark's Street in Manhattan. And it's like pitch dark. We're walking to another location. I saw this cool light. I'm like, Hang away! I have the model go over there was like, I just want to get the shot really quick. We wanted to teach how shooting at high esos At what point you start to see Green falls apart. You start to see, like, really intense noise 6400 at like wide open on this lens, there was like like way cranked in like high 12 It was like Hi three before it was like, OK, maybe I wouldn't deliver this, but still, like the original de 100 or 200 or old of shooting the bad file with another camera because we couldn't get a good look bad enough to use it. We needed a bad example of high eso and were not able to do it on that camera. It was incredible. So see, she could nerds out on this stuff, too, if you like, get her into it a little bit. So I'm afraid the highest. It was what we're saying. Your cameras conduce it. Your client will appreciate a sharp and focus image more than they will have blurry. One perfect Well said, um, fast Last does make your job easier. And I mentioned this before. It's not just about having my fast glass. I mean wide apertures to be on the shoot 2.8. My magic one is, what, 2.2? I don't know. 2.2 is my afra chur. I don't know. I made this up. This is the legacy of their future, and I like to point to, um, fast glass. It's not just the fact that since its wider apertures, I can let more light in, which gives me quicker shutter speeds. And, you know, it's not just that. It's also part of that focusing, because when you're focusing, it will have the aperture wide open toe. Let more light in tow allow you to focus. So that's another reason you would want fast glass. OK, so beyond that tripod, try about the great and low light, but usually not and well, for example, churches or events because people trip on them and they follow over. So we're going to show you a mono pod that we both own that we use all the time because it has a minimal footprint of footprint, and it's really easy to move and it gets your image stabilized, show you a couple other tricks with stabilization. And then finally, when you're purchasing your lenses, if you know you shoot a lot like this a lot of low light situations you would get in These all mean the same thing. I asked his image stabilization. Canon os is optical stabilization Sigma and VR is vibration reduction. I Yeah, I shoot my camera one day, so yeah, of and so that will actually in the lens kind of counterbalance your shake during long exposures and give you a more stable image. So if you you know, like many of my lenses that are really fast, like my 51.4 wouldn't have that on it, it's more. It's generally for longer lenses where you have a little bit of movement. What would just add to that? You're 7200. I mean, that's the day when you can almost hear it moving in there like it's moving stuff around to counter your shake, and they have a path like a normal in active mode. Basically, if you're shooting, you know, normal portrait's and you just kind of want to get rid of the camera, shake of your arm and your breathing versus active. If you're panning following action or sports and knows this movement is good, so it basically doesn't. It takes away your up and down but doesn't try to stabilize for your vertical movement. So it's smart. It's moving multiple pieces of fine tuned glass in there, you know, in trying to anticipate you. So it's rad that I'm cool with the crazy, crazy, expensive some lenses. But that kind of makes sense. You wanted that that much in it. The new Photoshopped CC, like the latest version of photo shop, is a camera shake filter in there that basically has the same kind of mentality. Is moving the glass to anticipate you. It kind of read, does your photograph to read or anticipate where you were shaking crazy so you don't have the are on your lens. For 20 bucks a month, you get, like the new photo shop or something that will save you so a couple zeros more stable shot. Absolutely. So this is just an example. We were shooting in a church really low light. This is if we just put our camera on auto and let it do its thing in the top left after a lot of coffee, a k. It was just like Super Super Bowl with a shooting with 7200 auto. It just would let it do P mode, and it didn't work. Over here, we've got wide aperture shooting at 2.8 or wider in image stabilized lens and on a tripod. You don't need all of those usually, but that's what you have available to you. I wish there was something better. The only thing I can say for bettors, it's nice that you have that photo shop thing now. I mean, that's that's another way. It's not, you know, sharpening your image. You're co interacting your camera movement, which is not the same thing. It's really interesting. New things available to us over seven would be low light with flash, so it's reception at night when you can use your flash or it's when the church says it's OK for me to use Flash. All right, so we've got improve the quality of light and we also need to avoid bouncing off of colored walls. So let's just jump right in really quick because that on camera flashlight, we don't really enjoy. Um, it's that snapshot kind of look with the flash on camera shooting straight ahead. So that's one of our main problems when we're talking about wanted improve. The quality is basically the direction of that light. Eso What we want to do here is we can use light modifiers to shape our light or a redirect our light. We could go off camera, take our flash off camera so we have a way off direction of light or we can then bounce the flash. I'm gonna jump right in here to the slide because that's what I'm talking about. The image on the left right there. That's your on camera flash. That's your snapshot. That's a pretty broad. A bride waiting in the room right before her wedding. You've got to go in and get some photos after she's got hair and makeup in everything done and so does the preparation rooms. And churches are low life. Yeah, low light, small. They've got old bulbs in there. I mean, they're really not designed for photo shoots. And every wedding photographer knows we have to sit in there and take photos, so you know, it's kind of rough able to do that. So to avoid the photo on the left, we want to bounce our flash. So there's a reason that these guys ratchet all around it because they want you to be bouncing them off things. So the image on the left is taken like this, taken shooting straight ahead. Okay, without a lens cap on straight ahead, and the image on the right is just doing this, turning it over to the side. And there's a nice white wall here. So instead I had a kind of look over to the wall bouncing off of this. So we go from a tiny, direct light source. Light hits that comes off of it Now, all of a sudden we have, like a six by eight white soft box equivalent light source, and that's a beautiful soft light that we get there on the side, which is just the same as natural reflectors. On location. The light will take on the quality of whatever it's bouncing off of, and so that's what you're looking for to try to be able to bounce it in a way like that. Yeah. So okay, bouncing is great, but have you had the situation? Something perhaps, Like this, where if you bounce it, you ruin the picture like I've been in reception halls where the walls are green or wood paneled or mirrors. Tough or, you know, you can't bounce up the ceiling because they've got really high ceilings or old wood ceilings where they got the weird off colored kind of foam tiles up there like, I mean, really not ideal. If you're like in a white box, sure bounce off of everything, go to town. But you really have to be careful because, like you mentioned the grass, the light takes on the quality of whatever it's bouncing off. So green sunlight hits grass, becomes green flash, it's wall, becomes red, gets really, really bad. So what you can do here got to get your light going forward. But that light going forward doesn't have really, really good quality. So what we have to do is modify that light kind of soften it up a little bit. We can use some things like the pocket box with road flash bender, and they basically take that light. It's still on camera, but now it's larger, so it becomes softer. Eso people think of a bounce card. Um, like this. Okay, we think of a bounce card and that would kick the light forward and soften it. The problem is, in a situation like this, it will still bounce off the ceiling. And so because it bounces off the ceiling, you'll get the red from the ceiling so you can tuck it down or for something like this. This modifier, Uh, when you add this the top, it blocks off light from bouncing off the ceiling and it kicks it forward, more like a soft box. So this one in particular, this is a rogue flash bender. And this is what both Eric and I prefer when we're shooting something on location where we can't bounce flash. We'll show you a couple other versions of this modifier later, so we will get into this more in depth. But this is the one that we both like that it's versatile. You can basically you can still use it on camera to do the sealing bounce. If you want Teoh or you can not or you can turn it into a soft box. I mean, you'd really have a lot of versatility with that. Where is a lot of other modifiers? You might be able to do one or the other, but not both. And I've got an older one. Now that I've used so much. It's actually staying to blue here because I folded up and put it in my back pocket when shooting events of my blue jeans. And I've been hangs around so much that it's now become a little bit. Stay in blue on the inside, so I'll have to ask for a new one. Or maybe we could keep that sample. I think they might let us. So here's kind what we're talking about. If you do decide to take your life in your own hands and bounce off a red wall, that's what you're gonna get. Fashion. Yeah, it's fashion. They go black and white. Crank the contrast in post, and you're going to get it's very fashionable. Then the one on the left on the bottom. There is that on camera flash with no modifiers gets very tell tale hard shadows flat light, not flattering. The one on the right is still on camera, but it's a little bit softer. So we've got more pleasing skin tones, and that's what this one is shooting through. We're going to show you what I prefer, and I think you do as well a larger version of this, because the larger you get it, the softer it will be so that didn't exist. We're shooting the book and we definitely larger, and we'll show you in a bit. So also, we could go off camera with this. That's another option there. So you see, I've got the flash off camera now shooting from the side. Now again, that's not bouncing off of anything. It's the light directly hitting her. But rather than the light being straight on camera access, we've moved it off to the side for somewhere. Contrast is, the farther Here's your subject, the farther you bring that flash off camera from here, if you want to grab this flashing kind of rotate around for me. So the more you go off camera, the more shadow your camera sees to, the more contrast you're creating. So that's why the big goal is to get off camera this afternoon. We'll talk about a flash primer will discuss a little bit more about that.

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