Paris Report #2: Better Night Photographs

Yesterday I told you that I’m here in Paris helping professional photographer Rich Wagner lead a group of photo expedition attendees through the streets of one of my favorite cities on earth. And that I’ve decided to shoot this entire trip with a point-and-shoot camera, because I’m pregnant and don’t want the extra weight of my SLR equipment.

Today, as part of my “what pregnancy can teach you about good photography” series, I thought I’d share with you my secret for better night photographs.

What pregnancy can teach you about good photography, tip #2

When we all gathered at the Louvre for our evening sunset and twilight shoot, I didn’t want to lug around a heavy tripod any more than I wanted to carry a heavy camera around my neck. So I went without one.

My tip for you today is: If you’re in a low-light or night situation, without a tripod, try bracing your camera against something solid to eliminate camera shake. And use the self-timer setting on your camera to prevent shake when you press the shutter button.

Here’s a picture I took while holding the camera in my hand…

Better Night Photographs

Notice how blurry the Louvre is behind the pyramid.

And here’s one I took by resting my camera on the edge of the reflecting pool…

See how much cleaner the lines are on the Louvre (again, I rested my camera on something sturdy and put the camera on a timer so that pressing the shutter wouldn’t blur my image).

And here’s one from attendee Colleen McBain who used a full tripod…

Both of us were shooting with point-and-shoot cameras, but you can see that, with a full-length tripod, Colleen had more freedom to move about. I was limited to the areas where I could find something sturdy to brace my camera.

Here’s one of Rich’s taken with a higher-quality SLR camera and a full tripod…

Notice the clean lines on the Louvre and the reflecting pool. The couple on the right is a little blurry, but that’s because THEY were moving, not the camera.

Again, the key if you’re shooting in low-light, twilight or night without a tripod is keeping your camera steady. Brace it against something solid and sturdy and use the self-timer to eliminate camera shake when you depress the shutter.

-- Lori

Lori Allen
Director, Great Escape Publishing

P.S. Now, I can’t sell my photos of the Louvre’s pyramid as stock -- it’s a copyrighted structure. So I’d have to sell them as editorial or fine art. However, I’m using this camera stabilizing technique all over Paris in hopes of getting some clean, crisp shots I can sell online, too. Learn more about taking saleable, stock-quality shots on our next workshop.

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