Earlier in the week we addressed getting started with night photography. Required equipment, basic techniques involving the use of both aperture and shutter priority, ISO setting, focal points and more were explained in easy to understand and act on terms. Today let’s look at how to create artistic nighttime photos via bracketing and effective photo editing, part one:
1- What is bracketing? Simply put it means taking a series of photos of the same subject framed identically and in sequence where an under exposed shot(s) and an equally over exposed shot(s) are added to shot considered to be metered correctly. In the old days photographers used this technique in hopes of overcoming obstacles like extreme shadows and highlights and getting one image that was acceptable.
2- Today’s Approach: Thanks to advances in digital image processing by applications like Photoshop Elements and similar programs a series of well composed bracketed photos can be combined sandwich- like to bring out the best properties of each resulting in one well balanced, high quality image with very visible midtones and without exaggerated shadows and highlights which often mark a lone frame.
3- Using Photoshop Elements: Use the techniques described in my previous article, find an interesting area at night and bracket a few series of scenes. If you’re unsure how that’s done, contact me. In Elements, just open the first shot and use it as your base. Then individually open the next two following up each with these commands: Select the entire image using the rectangular marquee tool>edit> copy then go back to the first photo and edit>paste. Repeat the process by opening photo number three and following the steps. To complete, adjust your photo for brightness/contrast and or any artistic filters you like, then Layer>Flatten & voila- you did it. Like the effect? The pool scene here was created with this method after being shot in pitch dark with just the underwater light.
Now you understand both the basics of bracketing and how to apply the “digital darkroom”. Try it. Next week we’ll go up a notch and enter the realm of real HDR photography (heard that mentioned before?) and add some new software to help take your photography to new levels. Can’t wait but might need help getting started? Contact me & I’ll get you up and running…Gordon.
“Photography in Naples, Marco Island and Everglades”