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Summerscapes
04-06-2008, 08:16 PM
can anyone summarize key steps and rules of thumb for photographing outdoor lighting projects and demos...ie: manual settings, timing, lens', etc.

I never got into photography much...but I'm gonna need to become darn near an expert to properly build my portfolio and marketing materials.

Thanks

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
04-06-2008, 09:44 PM
I would recommend you look for an amateur / novice photography course. Beyond understanding how your camera works, this will assist you to learn composition which is very hard to simply describe.

Many better photography stores offers course, as well as continuing education programs and private learning centers (learning annex) etc.

NightLightingFX
04-06-2008, 10:14 PM
Summerscapes,
I understand the intimidation factor with an SLR camera. When I fist got it I was having a hard time making it take a simple picture. Lucky for me I have a very active photography club in my town. 2 months ago we had an nighttime field trip I was able to figure out what settings are a good place to start and then experiment out from there. I have a Canon Rebel I believe that is what you also have. Make sure you have a tripod. Set your "ISO" to 800, set your "TV" pretty short 0"3, set your "AV" to 5.6. You will probably want to take your camera out of autofocus. If your camera won't take a pic and gets all blurry it is because your autofocus is taking control. That was DRIVING ME CRAZY! Those are things that are hard to learn from the manual you just need someone to show you. My photography club's nighttime field trip was a lifesaver.
~Ned

The Lighting Geek
04-07-2008, 12:57 AM
Ned, I feel your pain. Know that you wil be using your camera in manual mode and there are no short cuts. The other have given you great advice, go to a class or join your local photo club. I had the fortunate opportunity to have a great friend who is a great photographer. So I got one on one help and spent alot of time practicing. Practice, practice, practice. You have alot of fun in the process.

Grn Mtn
04-07-2008, 09:02 AM
can anyone summarize key steps and rules of thumb for photographing outdoor lighting projects and demos...ie: manual settings, timing, lens', etc.

I never got into photography much...but I'm gonna need to become darn near an expert to properly build my portfolio and marketing materials.

Thanks

or you can build a $100 fee into each job and hire a photographer who has way better equipment (ie lenses with 2.8 f-stop instead of our 5.6 or worse) to take your pictures for you, then he/she can email the files to you.

steveparrott
04-07-2008, 09:16 AM
You might find this article I recently posted to be useful.

http://www.cast-lighting.com/cast-photo-tips.pdf

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
04-07-2008, 09:23 AM
or you can build a $100 fee into each job and hire a photographer who has way better equipment (ie lenses with 2.8 f-stop instead of our 5.6 or worse) to take your pictures for you, then he/she can email the files to you.

Wow, Grn Mtn... I don't know about where live, but around here you don't get much for $100. A top notch professional photographer, one who has knowledge and experience in shooting night time images of high contrast subjects, is bound to cost you a lot more then a couple of hundred dollars.

The last time I inquired the cost for 10-12 8x10 pro images, taken on site by a real Pro, was several thousand dollars. This included a daytime visit to develop a shooting plan, the actual shoot over two evenings, the post processing and the printing of the images. The cost was such that it encouraged me to go out and purchase a complete Canon rig.

There will be those unique, special jobs that you will want to hire a pro to shoot, but for the most part, a good quality digi-cam, with some good accessories, a rudimentary knowledge of image processing, and a decent photography course will suffice.

Oh, and listen to Steve P. from CAST... He does a great job with his images!

NightLightingFX
04-07-2008, 12:15 PM
Heck, you don't have to know anything about photography to get some decent shots. All you need is a tripod, and a point and shoot digital camera that has nightscene. Set the "-" in the nightscene down as low as possible and shoot. As one matures in the industry, at some point they will probably want to get a SLR camera. You can do a lot with a point and shoot and some type of photoshop software.
~Ned

NightLightingFX
04-07-2008, 12:22 PM
Besides being expensive to hire a photographer, 1) It is just easier to take the pics yourself when you finish your final positioning. Then you don't have to spend more time going back out to the site with someone else and etc. 2) Another problem is most photographers don't have much experience taking night shots of illuminated landscape and architecture. I think with a little bit of practice an outdoor lighting professional can be a better night time photographer than a lot of professional photographers.
~Ned

steveparrott
04-08-2008, 09:05 AM
James is right, typical fee for a pro photographer that does nighttime photography is about $3,000 - and you're only guaranteed 2 or 3 good images.

The fees are high for a reason, for professional quality suitable for high-end magazine publication the skillset and equipment cost is high. Still, having said that, amateurs can get decent results with study and practice.

I find the biggest problem with lighting companies and their photos is that they tend to settle for mediocre to poor quality images of their projects. Project images are extremely important in communicating your knowledge, skill and design sense. Excellent images bring excellent jobs.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
04-08-2008, 09:21 AM
Steve is right on the money here.

I just pulled out my copper clad CAST "Hand Crafted Design Portfolio" and took another look through the images in there. Did you take all of those Steve? Lighting designs and styles aside, the photography in that portfolio is top drawer stuff. Well Done.

I especially like that some attention has been paid to including people in the images! I thought of doing this too, while at the AOLP conference. It only makes sense to me to have some images that include the clients who are actually enjoying the spaces (and paying for the priviledge I might add) I am going to try to include more people in my lighting images this year.
It is high time I got back to photographing my work and make this camera rig pay for itself!

Regards

Grn Mtn
04-08-2008, 10:05 AM
guys... I know a little about photography and the design business (my wife and I both went to RIT for Photography and Graphic Design) I understand a "professional photo shoot" can cost big bucks, but here in Rochester we have a glut of up and comings/students/hungry pro's. If you do a little asking around you can find someone with the right stuff willing to work for a lower price, especially if they know this is going to be a long term relationship, no film is involved (straight digital), with a 1-2 hour time that can be done at the photographer convenience- trust me you can find someone.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
04-08-2008, 10:40 AM
That is good for you there Roald, but to assume that you can find qualified pro grade photographers, who know how to shoot night time lighitng images, for only a couple of hundred bucks, in every market... well that is just not the case.

$3000 is low here... my quote was over $4k for a proper planned shoot and 10 -12 Production Quality images. No photog. schools around these parts.

In photography, just like in lighting, you get what you pay for. :)

NightLightingFX
04-08-2008, 12:17 PM
I wouldn't hire anyone to take pics of my work even it it was inexpensive. It is too much of a hassle to organize someone to get out to the site etc. Just get into the habit of taking pics of every job you complete. I personally think if you want to be successfull as an outdoor lighting professional you HAVE TO BE ABLE to take pictures of your work. Photography can get VERY complicated, on the other hand you can take some great pictures with no experience, a tripod, and a basic point and shoot digital camera.
~Ned

pihta
04-09-2008, 05:39 AM
Hey,

with tripod it doesn't matter how long exposure you will choose. Just use remote switch to avoid camera moving.
I just shoot first time with (P)rogramm mode, remember settings camera choose and than switch to manual mode, enter this parameters, correct them, shoot, correct, shoot, correct, until I get picture I like on the screen. after that I take same picture with +1 and -1 exposure stops just to make backup if something goes dark o lighter on the computer screen. And I always shoot night time photos in RAW format.

And yes, IMO you dont need F2.8 lenses for nighttime photography. I always use F11 or more just to be sure that everything in the frame will be crisp and detailed. I dont need beautiful off-focus blurring from F2.8 lenses. So kit lenses works well with F11 too.

Camera Canon 30D.

The Lighting Geek
04-09-2008, 11:17 AM
Steve, I glanced over your article and plan to read it today. Very helpful info in that article. I know I am going to learn something from it, thanks!

The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.
Geekism #13