Night Family Portrait Photography Tips For Magical Photos

   

Night Family Portrait Photography Tips for Magical Photos

Family portrait photography, My name is Rachel Jones Ross I’m a landscape and astrophotographer and a member of Sony Alpha’s Imaging Collective. Today, I’m going to share five tips on how to create magical nighttime photos. My first tip is to scout compositions during the day. It can be really frustrating to show up at night and try to find a composition in the dark. Often, this means taking multiple test shots, and sometimes, not even really finding a composition that you love. So, scouting compositions during the day will save you a lot of time and frustration. Now, if you’re a Sony shooter, you can program a function called Bright Monitoring onto one of your custom buttons, and this will essentially allow you to see in the dark.

Night Family Portrait Photography Tips for Magical Photos

I love this function. It definitely saves a lot of time, and really eliminates that need for taking tedious and time-consuming test shots. However, even though I have that, I still prefer to scout my compositions during the day because it really allows me to get a sense of the scene that I’m shooting, and it gives me the option to shoot my foreground during blue hour if I choose. My second tip is to change your perspective. Most people see and experience the world from about eye level. So if we can change their perspective, we can hold their attention longer and engage them in our image. So remember that the world looks different through a wide-angle lens, which we’re often using to shoot astrophotography, than it does to the human eye.

And one of the ways that it differs is that it has lens distortion built into it. So the real magic happens when we can use a wide angle lens and get low and close to our foreground because it really accentuates those foreground elements. Makes them look large on the outer edges of the frame, And then, as the eye moves into the center of the frame, everything gets smaller and moves further away. So when we change somebody’s perspective of the world, we engage them in our image. My third tip is to use an app called PhotoPills to determine how long to leave the shutter open for sharp stars. Now, if we leave the shutter open for too long, we’re going to get star trails, which means that our stars are going to look more like streaks than they are like little pinpoints of light. So, we want to avoid that.

It used to be with DSLR cameras that we could use a rule of thumb called the 500 rule to determine how long to leave that shutter open for, which was just 500 divided by your focal length. But our cameras are so sensitive these days, there’s so much has changed with technology that that rule really is quite antiquated and will almost always result in star trails. So, the function in PhotoPills called Spot Stars takes into account your camera’s particular sensor, the focal length you’re shooting at and your aperture, and you just get 100% accuracy every single time. So I can’t recommend that one enough because sharp stars are really the goal when we’re shooting astro photos. My fourth tip is to do blue hour blends. On really, really dark nights, it can be hard to get a focused stacked foreground, focused and sharp mid-ground, and sharp stars because we have nothing to focus on, and, um..

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And we’re working in absolute darkness. So, it will give us a much cleaner image if we shoot the foreground during blue hour– at, say, f/11 ISO 100– make sure it’s all focus stacked, and then just leave the camera in place and wait for the stars to be in the right position to finish off that photo. If it’s a really, really dark night, I will shoot the stars at a really short shutter time and really high ISO’s, and then I will take 20 images and stack them in a program called Starry Landscape Stacker for noise reduction, Now, I don’t do this on every single night shoot, but I do like to do it when I’m working in really dark conditions, like on new moon nights, or when there’s just not a lot of ambient light moonlight to work with. A nd my last tip is to be patient. Night photography is a really big investment. As you can probably imagine, there’s a lot of challenges when you’re working at wide open apertures with shallow depth of field in absolute darkness.

It means that you have to approach your one particular image in a whole new way than you would during the day. So, there’s lots of times that one image takes me, you know, a half a night or a whole night to produce. So really just be patient, take your time, and if you find a composition that you really love during the day, it’s a lot easier to stick to it and really just shoot it to technical precision. I hope that you found these tips helpful. If you’re interested in learning more about my workshops or any of the courses that I have to offer, you can visit me at astralisphotography.Com You can also find me on social media. Facebook and Instagram at @rachel_jones_ross And, I would love to hear your feedback on these tips or your own tips for shooting at night.

So, join the conversation in the comments below. Thanks so much.

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