Recently, I photographed another bathroom remodel by Collins Tile & Stone which was pretty challenging. The shower had some glass doors with a bright window directly across from the doors so the reflection of the window showed in the shower glass. A polarizing filter really helps cut glare from reflective surfaces. I had recently sold my cheap polarizing filter because it was adversely affecting the quality of my images. But I hadn’t yet ordered a new, higher quality polarizing filter. I really wish I had one for this shoot. So, I just ordered a new one so I have it for the next shoot. To solve the issue, I got some big black garbage bags and covered most of the window with them and then I did quite a bit of editing in Photoshop to remove the reflection of the window. Here are the before and after images:
Bathroom Before Editing
Bathroom After Editing
And here’s one more image that I rather liked that really showcases the company’s tile work on the walls and floor. I don’t usually like images that have the toilet in them, but this one was pretty well hidden by the dividing wall.
So, I thought I’d try the technique described here to create an “invisible black background” with Nikki the “supermodel.” First we tried shooting inside, but the flash was lighting up the furniture and wall behind her. So, then we moved outside in a shady area in my backyard. I think it would have been better to try this in the evening rather than in the middle of the afternoon because in order to get the background completely black I needed to close the aperture down so far that not enough light from my flash was getting to my camera to light her up. And when I opened the aperture up more the bright spots coming through the trees were showing up in my background. So, most of my photos ended up with a very dark background, but not completely black. It took some trial and error to even get everything close to right, but I did end up with one image that I really liked after a little bit of editing (mostly of the background, not Nikki).
So, I made recent inquiries (to the Loudoun Photo Club and on Twitter) for tips on photographing fireworks since July 4th is quickly approaching. I thought I would consolidate the advice I received into this post, test it out, and then show the resulting photos from this weekend in a future post. Thank you to all who sent your suggestions! Feel free to add more to the comments.
- Use a tripod to keep the camera steady.
- Get to the display early to find the best vantage point.
- Consider having foreground or background elements in the image as they make the scene more interesting and add scale.
- Use manual focus and focus on an object close to where the fireworks will be set off from.
- Plan to take lots of photos and delete about 75% of them.
- Set shutter speed to “bulb” mode. This allows you to keep the shutter open while you press the button and the shutter won’t close until you release the button.
- Use a remote or cable release instead of the on-camera button to prevent camera shake.
- Open the shutter when the rocket starts it’s flight and close as the firework explodes so there is not a gaping black whole in the center of the firework. Should be about 2 seconds, but can range from 1/2 second to 5 seconds. Keep the shutter open longer to have multiple bursts in one image, but not too long or you’ll end up with “big blobs of light.”
- Most recommended setting the aperture to f/8, but the suggested range was anywhere from f/8-f/11.
- Set White Balance to Tungsten.
- Set ISO to 200.
One person recommended this page and which seems to have some good information: http://digital-photography-school.com/how-to-photograph-fireworks
Have a very happy and safe Independence Day!
UPDATE: Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to photograph any fireworks this year. So, I’ll have to wait until next year to try out these techniques.
This list should be helpful for other photographers in the area and a good reference for me as well as I seek to become part of the community here in the DC area. (I moved here about a year and half ago from Ohio. So, I’m still looking to meet new people and create worthwhile connections.) If you are a member of any of these groups, please comment about your experiences and if you think the group would be worthwhile for others. Also, if you know of any other groups in the area, please comment about those as well.
Local Photo Clubs
Local Meetup Groups