Catch the best light: the golden hour
We will show you how to capture the most beautiful light
The golden hour
The most beautiful pictures of a summer day are most often taken at dusk, when the sun immerses the garden in gleaming light. Photographers call this time of the day the "golden hour", and rightly so: the warm light makes colours seem more intense and contours more pronounced due to the long shadows. The golden light lends faces a gently shimmering skin tone which seems warmer than in the harsh light of the noon sun. There's no question about it; photos taken during the golden hour have a look and feel that is totally their own.
The golden hour is followed by the "blue hour": the sky is quite dark but still glows with a royal blue. It's more difficult to capture the perfect picture during this time, but when it works, the pictures are all the more beautiful and are sure to be put at the very beginning of the photo album or "liked" by Facebook friends.
Basics for successful picture-taking in the dark
First, compact digital cameras should be set to their lowest possible ISO value. Values which are too high increase the light sensitivity but also make the picture appear grainy and distort the golden shimmer. An ISO value of 100 to 200 is ideal. It is best to set the aperture to between eight and eleven.
The following rule of thumb applies for the exposure: the darker it is, the longer the exposure time should be. But the longer the aperture stays open, the greater the risk is of having a blurry picture. In fact, every camera should be placed on a firm support in the dark. If you don't have a tripod, you can put your camera on a wall or table.
High-speed lenses are used on SLR cameras when light is low. For digital cameras, a night setting can usually be selected. To spot blurriness, pictures should be magnified on the camera's display screen. Pictures which look good on a small camera display screen may be noticeably and disappointingly blurry on a computer screen or when printed.
No flash? No problem.
Even if it's dark, it's often better to do without a flash, which may have no use anyway as the distance from the camera to the people is often too great. Cameras are also known to select incorrect values, making the picture dark or even completely black. Another disadvantage to flashes is that the complexion of the people being photographed exhibits an unhealthy-looking glare, quite apart from their not enjoying having a bright light flashed in their faces.
If it has become so dark that a flash has to be used, it should be manually set to the lowest possible setting. Attachable flashes often have a diffuser which makes the light less blinding. Alternatively, the flash can be aimed at the ceiling, which then reflects the light downwards, instead of directly at the object or person whose picture is being taken - obviously, a technique which only works in confined spaces. Here's a tip for compact cameras: affix a strip of translucent adhesive tape across the flash.
The perfect subject
Great pictures need both a correctly-set camera and good photographic subjects: the best photos are often taken at random, rarely in a preconceived setting. Try to capture whatever is unique about the evening or the person you are photographing. A close-up of decorations which have turned out well or a group's reaction to a story being told - all of this will make a nice family dinner into a memorable event.
If you want to incorporate the photographer, you can use a
self-timer. Often, though, it's clear who the photographer is in
self-timer pictures - their hurried look reveals that they barely made
it into the picture in time. Many cameras have a timer which requires
the people posing to hold their smiles a bit longer, but guarantees that
the photographer is with them in the picture.
Tips for photographing the fire
A fire can complement photos of a barbecue beautifully. The basic rules here too are: turn off the flash, lower the ISO. However, capturing fire and embers is an art in itself. In this blog, you can find out which details should be observed using the example of the Easter fire: simonsenphoto.com
Available light photography: anything you like is allowed!
There are lots of rules with photography - the most important one though is: anything you like is allowed. Exciting photos often emerge when you give yourself a break when photographing and don't stick to every rule.
When your family and friends get together for the next barbecue evening or football match, the camera should definitely be in on the action. So that you don't miss out on the golden and blue hour you can find out here when they start: jekophoto.de
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