Photos at night?


Ian

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Oh dear.... I've made a huge mistake with night photography (hangs head in shame :()

See my example:

<center><img border=0 src=attachment.php?postid={postid}></center>

There should be a lovely night-time background there :eek: I have taken loads of night shots from when I was in Amsterdam, just leaving my camera on auto (it is my old digital camera, with minimal settings). The flash did go off, and I'm presuming that was actually a bad thing with taking photos at night?

How would I avoid doing these shots?

EDIT : Low quality pic, but its just to illustrate the example
 

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Quadophile

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Ian,

I am very sorry I completely missed out on your request for help.

I think the picture is as good as any typical automatic camera can take, with the black background I am surprised the camera did not over expose you.

A basic automatic camera is something which cannot handle these kinds of situations but with some manual override you could get great results. It entirely depends on the camera model you are using for the shoot. If you have few settings for flash you could use low light situations like these and enhanse the background with slow sync/slow flash and the background will get more exposure and the flash will either fire just after the shutter opens or just before it closes. You will then get a perfect portrait with well lit background.

I hope I am able to clarify things but if not let me know.

Again sorry for the delyed response.
 
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Ian

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Cheers Quad :)

I think it may be a case of me needing to read the manual properly - I'll flick through this tonight for low light levels :)
 
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The problem in this case is the flash. The camera is trying to comphensate for it, and so it's making the aperture smaller so that it doesn't overexpose. However, this makes the background black. I'm not sure if trying a different ISO setting would help, or maybe just tweaking your flash settings. Quad might be able to confirm this.
 
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Quadophile

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Changing ISO setting will not work in this case. The flash and aperture are working in combination. What needs to be done here is to open up the aperture a lot more which will enable the background to appear well lit and be recorded on film, on the other hand the flash intensity needs to remain same and it should fire only to record the foreground in which case it is the subject (Ian). This link needs to be redefined and one of the settings which many cameras offer just to be able to do that is slow sync.

Some cameras (newer ones) have builtin modes which can be "Night Mode" or any such phrase which the manufacturers chooses. I am basically refering to automatic cameras which have some sort of override.

I have attached a picture which I could locate just now on the computer which will give you an idea of what slow sync does. The wall in the background would be atleast 20 feet away from where I took this picture and there is no way I could get the falsh reach that wall for coverage, what you see in the background is backlit by ambient light only. The flash must have fallen off half way to the wall. The camera was Coolpix 995 and the data on file is as follows for those who are curious.

Metering : Multi Pattern
Shutter speed : 1/60
Aperture : 2.6
Flash : Front Curtain
White Balance : Flash

You would have noticed that the flash is at the slowest sync for Programed auto mode and aperture is almost wide open to take the background into account.

I hope this is clear to all, if not, let me know.
 

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