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5 Tips for Shooting During Blue Hour Lighting

By @ijyoyo | August 23 2020 | Envision

Natural lighting is the fundamental of learning photography and setting up a photoshoot. Blue hour is a natural lighting time during dusk and dawn. I will be sharing some helpful tips while shooting for photographers during this time!

1.Location Scout

Before you start your photoshoot, location scout around the area!

One way to do this is through google maps or Photographers Ephemeris . Always location scout before heading out for a shoot. Check surrounding light sources and possibly street lamp posts, and stores with attractive light or car lighting.

Some questions you might want to ask is does the lighting from a lamp post/ storefront match your desired look? Do you have enough time to move locations during this time? Decide where you would like to go during blue hour. model during blue hour madisonw wisconsin

Remember you only have 20-30 minutes before the blue hour is gone so make sure to plan accordingly.

2.Review ISO and Shutter Speed

Remember to check and make sure your ISO is relatively low and will not make the image too grainy. Although it is better to get the shot , it’s also important too to have something you can use without visual grain or artifacts from low-light.

This also depends on your camera’s ability for low light and high dynamic range. Make sure to keep your ISO as low as possible for clean images. Photographer during blue hour

Shutter Speed is also very important to check on during changing lighting hours. During sunset you may need to use a faster shutter speeds such as 1/160th or 1/200th. During Sunrise you may need to use 1/20th or 1/60th.

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Behind the scenes📸 @samvandong @ijyoyo

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The best rule of thumb is to double your focal length and use that shutter speed. For example if you are shooting with a 50mm you may need a 1/100th or faster for a crisp photograph.

However this may need to be adjusted during blue hour so nothing is blurry! You will need to make the shutter speed faster if you are shooting a subject freehand.

3. Check your histogram

What is the histogram? It shows the light balance from white, black, neutral and RGB or Red Green Blue channels. The Histogram should be balanced however during the night it will sway left to indicate the darkness of the photos.

Checking the histogram will give you a good measure if you are shooting over-exposure or under-exposed!

4. Use Artificial Light

Using artificial lighting is a great creative boost! When you bring external lighting such as flashing or using street signs you can amplify you photos during the blue hour.

text Some examples may be small speed lights for your camera. Professional Lighting Gear, neon store windows.

5. Bring a Tripod

I leave this at the very end of the article because it is actually the most important one! If you have a tripod, bring it during this period! The advantages of a tripod include having a stable photograph at a lower shutter speed and lower ISO.

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Hey Chicago 👋 First time actually visiting Chicago the city despite going through O’hare international airport multiple times. ✈️ ✈️ I decided to change my route and split through the country from Californian Chicago! 🚂 I didn’t stay long because I knew I’d have to comeback for some more photoshoots 📸 😉 #chicago #citylife #cityscape

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Those are some tips on shooting during blue hour that can help enhance your photo graphs and create and plan your next photoshoot!

Photoshoot Example