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How To: Get Creative with Long Exposures, Add Drama to Landscapes, Shoot Lightning and more

By David Schonauer   Tuesday May 15, 2018


Photography is often about capturing the moment.

But it can also be about capturing a more studied scene with long exposures. “One of the really nice things about long-exposure photography is it really says to the viewer that it’s not just a snapshot,” says photographer Adam Karnacz, whose tutorial on using long exposures is featured in our monthly roundup of how-to posts from around the web.

You’ll also find tips to keep in mind when you’re shooting landscapes, and ideas about adding drama to landscapes in Adobe Light Room.

This month we’re also focusing on light, because … light is what photography is all about. For instance, we’ve got a handy guide to middle gray — the halfway point between white and black to us perceptually. You’ll also find tips on using off-camera flash and on shaping light.

And since we’re getting into thunderstorm season, we have a tutorial on lightning photography. You can also check to see if you’re looking through your viewfinder with your dominant eye.


1. Raise Your Photography Game with Long Exposures

In this 12-minute tutorial, YouTuber Adam Karnacz of First Man Photography covers the basics of long-exposures and shows you how the technique can be applied in creative ways. Think of long-exposures as the zen of photography: “You have literally put the time and the effort in to capture something different than anyone else walking by would have captured,” says Karnacz.


2. Ten Things in Mind When Shooting Landscapes

Whether you’re shooting stills or video, you’ll find ways to improve your landscape photography in this tutorial from vlogger Kai Wong. Among his tips: use ND filters; use a camera stabilizer; have a wide-angle lens ready; look for leading lines; and keep an eye on your foreground. Also, remember: It’s all about location, location; location.


3. Enhance Your Landscape Photos In Post

This  24-minute video from Andrew Marr shows you how to add depth and drama to landscape photos in Adobe Lightroom. “As he’s shooting in RAW format, the image comes out of the camera looking pretty flat. Thus, it’s important that Marr makes good raw adjustments,” notes PetaPixel.


4. The Creative Ideas for Off-Camera Flash

Want to learn more about lighting setups? This tutorial from lighting accessories company MagMod features photographer Trevor Dayley‘s class at the 2018 WPPI expo, in which he explains some 17 lighting setups. Try the double rainbow! See DIY Photography  for more.


5. Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Middle Gray

In this 6-minute video by Filmmaker IQ, John Hess explains the concept of middle gray — the tone that most of us humans perceive as the halfway point between white and black. It’s a basic for understanding how to achieve correct exposure.


6. How to Shape Light

Learn how to shape, cut and diffuse light — and get creative control over your images — with this video from YouTuber Jay P. Morgan. All you need are flags, nets, and silks.


7. Four DIY Lighting Setups for Your Home Studio

Here, Jay P. Morgan offers solutions for creating 3-point lighting setups that you can build yourself for no more than $150.


8. How to Find Good Natural Light for Portraits

On the other hand, why not master natural light? Here, vlogger Sean Tucker shows how he goes about finding the perfect locations for shooting portraits with natural light. “[N]otice how he thinks of the natural light a lot like he would a studio setup, looking for a large, soft source, using the buildings as flags to boost contrast, and improvising a reflector to bring up the shadows beneath the model's eyes and add a second catchlight,” adds Fstoppers.


9. How to Take Lightning Photos

It’s storm-chasing season! “Photographing a good thunderstorm is one of my favorite things,” notes photographer Nick Page, whose tutorial here features tips for shooting lightning. “Remember that lightning is highly dangerous and to not do anything that could increase your risk of being struck, including standing in an open field, which you might be tempted to do to get a shot,” adds Fstoppers.


10. Do You Look Through the Viewfinder with Your Dominant Eye?

Just as you may be right-handed or left-handed, you probably have a dominant eye. And that’s the one you should use to look through your camera’s viewfinder. In this video, from AllAboutVisionVideo, you can find out whether you’re right-eyed or left-eyed.

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