Week #40 Challenge is: Blue Hour!

You are doing it wrong.

OK, not all of you. But for those of you that have just unboxed your brand new DSLR camera (or those of you that have finally dusted off that old DSLR camera sitting on your shelf) and you find that your photos are just… underwhelming?

I’m going to do something a little different for this opener and get back to basics. In honor of our “blue hour” challenge (note: it’s got nothing to do with blue hour), I’d like to present a few key tips, for anyone reading this that’s just starting their photography journey, that I think will dramatically change the way you capture your images.

#1 – It’s all about light.

Alright, maybe it had something to do with blue hour. But really, the light you are after is “golden hour”, or magic hour, which is the hour before sunset, and after sunrise. Stop shooting at night. Your t7i or 5600 is crap at night (I’m sorry). Shoot during this golden window of opportunity and your photos will be better. Period.

#2 – It’s all about glass.

You can only take your ‘kit lens’ so far. If you want shots that really stand out, you want to get your hands on some good lenses. Prime lenses are the first place you should look, and the “nifty fifty” 50mm f/1.8 lens is by far the best bang for your not-so-metaphorical buck, and will enable you to shoot wider apertures.

#3 – Shoot wider apertures.

Stop being so afraid of this terminology. I don’t know why everything has such scary names in photography, but it’s actually not so difficult. Wider apertures (lower aperture number, or f stop) means that you only focus on what you want to focus on, and the background becomes a delicious, creamy, blurry, goodness. Turn your dial to “A” or “Av” mode, and then click your wheel all the way to the left. You’re welcome.

#4 – Stop underexposing.

I know it can be difficult without a calibrated monitor, but chances are you should be raising exposure on your photos in post. Move a brightness or exposure slider to the right until your histogram is more on the right side than in the middle. Your photos will just look better. While you’re at it, turn on highlight and shadow clipping, and make sure there are no important parts of the photo that are clipped, this is a good way to gauge proper exposure.

Lemme know if you find these tips helpful, and if I should spitball some tips like this in the future.

See y’all next week,

-Yosef Adest, 6X Weekly Warrior


*Weekly Warrior – Someone in 52Frames that submits ALL 52 weeks in a row, in a given year.

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