Lightroom Tutorial for Beginners

Lightroom Tutorial for Beginners

Lightroom has powerful tools that empower you to enhance the overall photo as well as do selective editing to make your photo(s) stand out.

In the previous blog, we explained how to import & organize your photos (using Library Module in Lightroom).

Now, let’s understand how to:  

  1. Edit your photographs (using Develop Module in Lightroom)
  2. Export your photographs (using Library Module in Lightroom)

Here’s a Photo of Garganey Ducks in the Lake

Lightroom
Original photo as shot

I remember – the original scene that I shot was brighter and more colorful.

Let’s work in the Basic Panel and Color Panel of the Develop Module to enhance this photo to match the original scene.

Remember, you will have to experiment with the edits depending on the adjustments/edits that your photo needs to transform it from ‘Good’ to ‘Wow’.

Edit your photographs (using Develop Module in Lightroom)

1) Basic Panel

The photo is a little dark, let’s brighten it by increasing the Exposure to 0.75 in the Basic Panel of the Develop Module. 

lightroom editing
Increase Exposure to 0.75

To enhance the photo – let’s make the dark tones richer and the lighter areas brighter by increasing Contrast to 60.

lightroom editing
Increase Contrast to 60

Now, let’s move the Blacks slider and increase it to 25 to reveal feather details.

You can also change White Balance: from As Shot to Daylight depending on your creative vision.

We’ll increase Vibrance to 41 to make colors richer without making them look fake.

And increase Clarity to 40 to accentuate the water and ducks.

lightroom editing
Increase Clarity to 40

2) Color Panel

Refining the color in a photo is like adding a fresh coat of paint to a room.

In HSL/Color/B&W panel – let’s go to Color to make adjustments and make the water look greener and richer.

We’ll select the Greens, then increase Saturation to 40 to boost the greens in the water.

lightroom editing
Increase Saturation to 40

3) Effects Panel

The Effects Panel is like the icing on a cake; it helps to make your photo look better, but remember – a little goes a long way, so don’t overdo it.

In Effects panel, under post-crop vignetting: let’s enter -20 in the Amount to darken edges of the photo and keep the viewer’s eye inside the frame (Vignette to -20).

lightroom editing
Vignette to -20

You can choose the Compare view to see the Before and After photos side by side. 

lightroom editing
Before and After editing in Lightroom

These were few adjustments/edits that we explained, you can further explore/experiment and use Lightroom to edit your photos to your heart’s content.

Export your photographs (using Library Module in Lightroom)

In Lightroom, you don’t save photos – instead, you export your edited photos.

To export the edited photo, go to the Library Module – choose the Grid View and select the photo. Click File – Export. 

how to export photos in Lightroom
how to export photos in Lightroom

When exporting the edited photo, you can choose a filename, color space, pixel dimensions, resolution etc. for the photo as per your requirement.

Click on the below Image to see the Comic in which the Camera explains Jo how to edit photos in Lightroom with the help of practical examples

how to use lightroom

When you do photography: Remember the 5E’s – Explore, Experiment, Experience, Enjoy & Express to develop your own style as a photographer.

Do Share The Learning – Like It, Post It, Pin It, Tweet It!

Have any tips on how to use Develop Module of Lightroom? Do share them in the comment box below.

Lightroom for Beginners: How to Import, View, Organise Photos in Lightroom

Mastered the art of taking good photographs using DSLR camera settings and composition techniques? Well, that’s great! Friend, it’s time you take your photography to the next level. Yes, we mean – giving your photographs the ‘Wow Factor’ with Adobe Lightroom for PC (Lightroom desktop version) which has powerful tools that allow you to enhance your photos by adjusting the white balance, brightness, contrast, sharpness, colour, certain parts of your photo using selective editing and more. 

What is Lightroom used for?

Lightroom is a photo organization and post-processing software. Steps include:

  1. Import & organize your photos (using Library Module in Lightroom)
  2. Edit your photos (using Develop Module in Lightroom)
  3. Export/share your photos (using Library Module in Lightroom)

Lightroom Editing: Nondestructive Editing

The adjustments that you make to your photos in Lightroom are stored in the Catalog which is a database that tracks the location and information about your photos. It shows a preview of your original photo combined with the list of changes you’ve made in Lightroom. Your original photos remain untouched.

Lightroom Editing gives you flexibility – if you don’t like any particular edit/change that you’ve made to your photo, you can easily & quickly undo that step. It allows you to create various versions of your photo without affecting your original image data.

How to Use Lightroom to Organize your Photographs

Import photos into Lightroom/ Import photos into Lightroom from SD card

Import your photos into Lightroom Catalog either from your PC/laptop, external hard drive or SD card.

  • Open Lightroom in your PC/laptop. At the top right of the screen, look for the Library Module. Then, in the Library Module, click the Import button which you’ll see at the bottom left of the screen.
  • Importing photos from your PC/laptop/external hard drive: On the left-hand side of the screen, below Source – select the hard drive and folders of photos you need to import. (Please note: Include Subfolders should be checked). At the top centre of the Import window (above the image thumbnails), ‘Add’ will be selected by default to enable import without moving your photos to a new location. Click the Import button (at the bottom right) to start importing your photos.
Import photos into Lightroom
Import photos into Lightroom
  • Importing photos from SD card: On the left-hand side of the screen, below Source – select the SD card from which you need to import the photos. (Please note: Eject after Import should be checked) At the top centre of the Import window (above the image thumbnails), ‘Copy’ will be selected by default since you’re importing photos from SD card). Use the Destination panel (on the right-hand side of the screen) to organize your imported photos by date into one selected folder, or by subfolder in your PC/laptop. Click the Import button (at the bottom right) to start importing your photos.
Import photos into Lightroom from SD card
Import photos into Lightroom from SD card
  • Once your photos are imported, you’ll see them in the Library Module in Previous Import in the Catalog panel which is on the left-hand side of the screen.

See photos in Lightroom using different view modes

In the Library Module, you can use different view modes to see your photos in various sizes and also compare them. You can switch between views using the keyboard shortcuts mentioned below. 

  • Grid View (keyboard shortcut: G)
Lightroom Grid View
Lightroom Grid View

This view shows all the photos (in All photographs in the Catalog panel).

  • Loupe view (keyboard shortcut: E)
Loupe View Lightroom
Loupe View Lightroom

In this view, you can view an entire photo or zoom in to see part of the photo.

Note: Zoom in to photos by using the options on the right of the Navigator panel (Navigator panel is on the left-hand side of the screen, at the top).

  • Compare view (keyboard shortcut: C)
Compare View Lightroom
Compare View Lightroom

This view shows two photos side by side, allowing you to compare them and choose the best one.

  • Survey view (keyboard shortcut: N)
Survey View Lightroom
Survey View Lightroom

This view shows the active photo along with all the selected photos on the same screen for you to compare them. (You can select more than one photo, but only one photo will be the active photo which will have a selection border).

Organize photos in Lightroom

  1. Give ratings to photos in Lightroom

You can rate your photos by giving zero to five stars and view them using any view of the Library Module.

Grid view: Select one or more photos, right click on any one of the photos – click Set Rating then select a rating that you want to give to the photos.

How to rate photos in Lightroom
How to rate photos in Lightroom

Loupe view/ Compare view/ Survey view: Select only one photo in the Filmstrip (Filmstrip is at the bottom of the screen) in either Loupe, Compare, or Survey view, then right click on the photo – click Set Rating then select a rating that you want to give to the photo. If you select more than one photo in the Filmstrip in any of these views, the rating will be given only to the active photo.

To see & work on the photos you’ve rated in Lightroom: On the right side of the screen at the bottom – Click on Filters off and select Rated. Click on the number of stars (on the left of Rated), say you click 4 stars, then it will display all the photos that you’ve rated 4 stars & above. After you’ve finished working on the photos, you can select Filters off.

2. Flag photos in Lightroom

Flags indicate whether you’ve picked or rejected a photo. You can flag your photos using any view of the Library Module.

Grid view: Select one or more photos, right click on any one of the photos – click Set Flag then select Flagged or Rejected to pick or reject the photos.

How to Flag photos in Lightroom
How to Flag photos in Lightroom

Loupe view/ Survey view: Select only one photo in the Filmstrip in either Loup or Survey view, then right click on the photo – click Set Flag then select Flagged or Rejected to pick or reject the photos. If you select more than one photo in the Filmstrip in any of these views, the flag or rejection will be applied only to the active photo.

To see & work on the photos you’ve flagged in Lightroom: On the right side of the screen at the bottom – Click on Filters off and select Flagged. Then, all the flagged photos will be displayed on the screen/Filmstrip. After you’ve finished working on the photos, you can select Filters off.

3. Assign colour labels to photos in Lightroom

You can assign a certain colour to your photos as per your choice in the Library Module. For instance, you can assign blue colour to photos where you need to work on the white balance.

Grid view: Select one or more photos, right click on any one of the photos – click Set Color Label then select the colour you want to assign the photos.

Loupe view/ Survey view: Select only one photo in the Filmstrip in either Loup or Survey view, right click on any one of the photos – click Set Color Label then select the colour you want to assign the photos. If more than one photo is selected in the Filmstrip in Loupe/Survey view, the colour label will be assigned only to the active photo.

To see & work on the photos you’ve assigned Color Label in Lightroom: Click on Filter (on the right side of the screen at the bottom) to see all the Filters. Then, click on the blue colour (show photos with Blue Label) – all the photos with Blue Label will be displayed on the screen/Filmstrip. After you’ve finished working on the photos, you can select Filters off.

4. Stack photos in Lightroom

In the Library Module, you can use stacking when you want to group/keep a set of similar looking photos together in one place without having them scattered across rows of thumbnails. For instance, stacking can be helpful to group photos where you had used continuous shooting mode since all the photos would be visually similar.

How to Stack photos in Lightroom
How to Stack photos in Lightroom

To stack photos, they must be in the same folder/collection. Grid view: Select all the photos you need to stack, right click on any one of the photos – click Stacking, then select Group into Stack. You will see the stacking order numbers in the upper-left corner of their thumbnail(s); top photo in the stack will be 1, the next photo will be 2, and so on.

To see all the photos in a stack, you need to expand the stack. Grid view: Right click on the stack you want to expand, select Stacking, then select Expand Stack.

To collapse a stack, you need to right click on any photo of the stack in Grid view, select Stacking, then select Collapse Stack.

5. Add keywords to photos in Lightroom

Adding keywords to photos in the Library Module will help you easily locate your photos.

Grid view: Select the photos to which you need to add the keyword(s), then type the keyword(s) in the box below ‘Enter Keywords’ on the right-hand side of the screen (enter keywords separated by commas). For more keyword ideas, select a category from the drop down (on the right of the Keyword Set, I’ve selected Outdoor Photography), then select from the keywords that display below it (I’ve selected Flowers & Plants).

How to Add keywords to photos in Lightroom
How to Add keywords to photos in Lightroom

Loupe view/ Compare view/ Survey view: Select only one photo in the Filmstrip in Loupe/ Compare/ Survey view, then type the keywords in the box below ‘Enter Keywords’ on the right-hand side of the screen (enter keywords separated by commas). For more keyword ideas, select a category from the drop down (on the right of the Keyword Set), then select from the keywords that display below it. If you’ve selected more than one photo in the Filmstrip, the keywords will be assigned only to the active photo.

Note: The keywords that you add to the photos will be stored only in Lightroom.

To locate the photos later, in Keyword List – select the keyword you’d assigned in Grid view – you’ll see photos with that keyword highlighted with a selection border.

6. Add metadata to photos in Lightroom

Adding metadata to photos in the Library Module means you can add details like your (photographer’s) name, copyright information etc.

Grid view: Select the photo(s) to which you need to add metadata, then type the details in the metadata text boxes in the Metadata panel (on the right-hand side of the screen below Keyword List).

(To add copyright symbol © : Press alt+0169; note: press 0169 from numeric pad which is on the right side of the keyboard; when you release the alt key, the copyright symbol will appear on the screen).  

Loupe view/ Compare view/ Survey view: Select only one photo in the Filmstrip in Loupe/ Compare/ Survey view, then type the details in the metadata text boxes in the Metadata panel (on the right-hand side of the screen below Keyword List. If you’ve selected more than one photo in the Filmstrip, the metadata will be assigned only to the active photo.

Using synchronize metadata will allow you to add metadata from a selected photo to other photos without having to type the metadata for other photos. Select a photo (which will be the active photo) in the Grid view that contains metadata that you want other photos to synchronize with. Next, select the photos that needs to be synchronized with the active photo. Then, select Sync Metadata (which is at the bottom on the right-hand screen). Next, check the box of the metadata (I’ve checked IPTC Copyright). Then, click Synchronize. Remember, the metadata you choose for synchronizing will overwrite any existing metadata in the selected photos.

How to Synchronize metadata in Lightroom
How to Synchronize metadata in Lightroom

Once you have a basic understanding of Lightroom, you can further explore and use Lightroom to better organise, edit and export your photographs. In the next blog, we will cover Lightroom Editing using the Develop Module.

Click on the below Image to see the Comic in which the Camera explains Jo how to organize photos in Lightroom with the help of practical examples

How to Import, View, Organize Photos in Lightroom

When you do photography: Remember the 5E’s – Explore, Experiment, Experience, Enjoy & Express to develop your own style as a photographer.

Do Share The Learning – Like It, Post It, Pin It, Tweet It!

Have any tips on how to use Library Module of Lightroom? Do share them in the comment box below.

Did this blog help you with some ideas to improve your photography skills? For more useful photography tips, examples, ideas & inspiration, please subscribe below to receive notifications of new blog posts by email. Thank you!

DSLR Manual Mode Settings for Beginners Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO

Sample Photos with DSLR Manual Mode Settings for Different Types of Photography

The ability to control the amount of light reaching the image sensor is what defines how a photograph turns out!

understanding DSLR camera
understanding DSLR camera

Knowing what settings to use for Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO will enable you to set the correct exposure and create photos that don’t come out too dark or too bright.


Aperture

aperture in photography
aperture in photography

Aperture is the opening between the lens (similar to the pupil of our eye) that lets the light into the image sensor. Wider the aperture opening, more light enters the sensor resulting in a brighter image and vice versa.

The aperture is measured using f stop scale (f-number): f1.4, f2, f2.8, f4, f5.6, f8, f11, f16, f22 and so on. A smaller f-number means wider aperture/opening while a larger f-number means smaller aperture/opening.

So, f1.4 is the smallest f-number meaning wider opening, so more light will enter, making the photograph brighter. f22 is the largest f-number meaning smaller opening so less light will enter, making the photograph darker.

Aperture also affects Depth of Field. When the aperture is set at a smaller f-number say f5.6, the subject stands out but the background will appear blur, this is known as Shallow Depth of Field. And when the aperture is set at a larger f-number say f22, the background will be visible beyond the subject, this is known as Deep Depth of Field.


Shutter Speed

Shutter lies behind the aperture and ahead of the image sensor. When the aperture opens, light enters the camera. When you click a picture, the shutter opens for a particular period of time to allow light into the image sensor.

Shutter Speed is the time period for which the shutter is open to photograph a scene (the time for which light will pass through to the sensor). It is measured in seconds or fractions of a second.

Bigger the denominator – faster the shutter speed. 1/4000 sec is the fastest shutter speed while 30 sec denoted as 30″ is the slowest shutter speed.

For instance, 1/1000 sec is faster shutter speed so lesser light will enter the image sensor, darker and sharper will be the image.  

30″ is slower shutter speed so more light will enter the image sensor, brighter and blurred will be the image.

Shutter Speed allows you to freeze or blur the motion in your photo.


ISO

ISO is the sensitivity of the image sensor to light which helps to darken or brighten an image. The image sensor needs less light at a high ISO and more light at a low ISO.

ISO 100: Low ISO (low sensitivity to light) = higher quality image; ideal under clear skies and bright day.

ISO 3200/ ISO 6400: High ISO (high sensitivity to light) = lower quality image (grainy/noisy image); ideal for night photography.


Ready to dive into the Manual Mode to have more control and take better photos with your DSLR?

Scroll down to uncover DSLR Manual Mode Settings for different types of photography:

Bokeh photography

Bokeh Photography

Recommended DSLR Camera Settings – Aperture: f4 or wider, ISO: 100/400, Shutter Speed: 1/60 sec or faster.

Pro tip: To create Bokeh effect, there should be a source of light like fairy lights/lamps/sunlight/city light in the background; there should be a good distance between the subject and the background.


Disco photography

Disco photography

Recommended DSLR Camera Settings – Aperture: f2.8 or wider, ISO: 640 or higher, Shutter Speed: 1/125 sec or faster.

Pro tip: To take photos from a distance, use a zoom lens with a wide aperture.


Food photography

Food Photography

Recommended DSLR Camera Settings – Aperture: f4 or wider, ISO: 100/400, Shutter Speed: 1/60 sec or faster.

Pro tip: Use cooking utensils, tableware, ingredients, sauces & other related props in the foreground or background to add depth, try to use natural light but not direct sunlight.


Freeze motion photography settings

Freeze motion photography settings

Recommended DSLR Camera Settings – Aperture: f11/ f16, ISO: 100/400, Shutter Speed: 1/2000 sec.

Pro tip: Set the focus as the subject(s) come into the frame and then take the snap. 


Golden hour photography

Golden Hour Photography

Recommended DSLR Camera Settings – Aperture: f11/ f16 to capture landscapes during golden hour or f2.8 to create bokeh effect, Shutter Speed: 30 secs or slower, ISO: 100/ 400.

Recommended DSLR Camera Settings to freeze action during golden hour – Aperture: f5.6, Shutter Speed: 1/250 sec, ISO: 100.

Pro tip: Use a tripod when using slow shutter speed, set white balance to cloudy to warm up the colour temperature in the images.


Landscape photography settings

Landscape Photography Settings

Recommended DSLR Camera Settings – Aperture: f11/ f16, ISO: 100, Shutter Speed: 1/60 sec or faster.

Pro tip: Use wide-angle lens (In 18–55mm lens, 18mm is the wide-angle lens) to capture a broader view of the landscape.


Light painting photography settings

Light painting photography settings

Photo by Kev Jay – Light Painting Photographer. For more such amazing images, do check his Instagram profile here instagram.com/kevjayphotos/

Recommended DSLR Camera Settings – Aperture: f8 – f22, ISO: 100, Shutter Speed: 10- 30 secs.

Pro tip: Keep your light source (a flashlight/light painting tube/light painting stick/light wand) constantly moving, use manual focus, use a tripod and remote shutter release/self-timer mode to avoid camera shake.


Light trail photography settings

Light trail photography settings

Recommended DSLR Camera Settings – Aperture: f5.6 – f11, ISO: 100 or least ISO (Lo 1), Shutter Speed: 10-15 secs.

Pro tip: Use a tripod and remote shutter release/self-timer mode to avoid camera shake.


Macro photography settings

macro photography settings

Recommended DSLR Camera Settings – Aperture: f5.6 – f11, ISO: 400/800, Shutter Speed: 1/60 sec or faster.

Pro tip: Use manual focus; use macro lens since it offers a magnification ratio of 1:1 aka life size magnification (minimum focus distance for 100mm macro lens is 30cms).


Milky Way photography settings

Milky Way photography settings

Photo by Daniel Damschen, Product Designer and a Photographer. For more such amazing images, do check his Instagram profile here instagram.com/damschend/

Recommended DSLR Camera Settings – Aperture: widest aperture available in your DSLR, ISO: 800/6400, Shutter Speed: 30 secs or slower.

Pro tip: Place your DSLR on a tripod to avoid camera shake and use Manual Focus.


Panning photography settings

Panning photography settings

Recommended DSLR Camera Settings – Aperture: f8 – f16, ISO: 100/200, Shutter Speed: slower than 1/60 sec.

Pro tip: Move along with your subject while keeping adequate distance between you & your subject.


Portrait photography settings

Portrait with a blurred background/ Shallow depth of field photography examples

Portrait With a Blurred Background

Recommended DSLR Camera Settings – Aperture: widest aperture available in your DSLR, ISO: 100/400, Shutter Speed: 1/60 sec or faster.

Pro tip: To create a blurred background (shallow depth of field), use wide aperture and keep a good distance between the subject and the background.

Portrait photography with Deep depth of field (and stream in the background)/ Deep depth of field photography examples

Deep depth of field photography examples

Recommended DSLR Camera Settings – Aperture: f22, Shutter Speed: 1/15 sec or slower to blur the motion of the waterfall and make the water look smooth, ISO: 100.

Pro tip: The model should remain still since the slightest movement by her will cause a blur image since slower shutter speed is used here.


Sun photography settings

sun photography settings

Recommended DSLR Camera Settings – Aperture: f11/ f16, ISO: 100/400, Shutter Speed: depending on the lighting conditions present in the scene.

Pro tip: Use a tripod to create sharp images, set white balance to cloudy for sunset photography if you want to warm up the colour temperature in the images.


Waterfall photography settings

Waterfall long exposure settings (slow shutter speed)

Waterfall long exposure settings

Recommended DSLR Camera Settings – Aperture: f22, ISO: 100, Shutter Speed: 1/15 sec or slower.

Pro tip: Slow shutter speed (long exposure) will blur the motion of the waterfall and make the water look smooth. Place your DSLR on a tripod or a nearby rock to avoid camera shake. If the day is bright, you can also use a neutral density filter to set slower shutter speed.

Waterfall photography using fast shutter speed

waterfall photography shutter speed

Recommended DSLR Camera Settings –Aperture: f4, Shutter Speed: 1/2000 sec, ISO: 100/400.

Pro tip: Fast shutter speed will freeze the motion of the waterfall.


When you do photography: Remember the 5E’s – Explore, Experiment, Experience, Enjoy & Express to develop your own style as a photographer.

Do Share the Learning – Like It, Post It, Pin It, Tweet It!

Did this blog help you with any ideas to improve your photography skills?

For more useful photography tips, examples, ideas & inspiration, please subscribe below to receive notifications of new blog posts by email.

light painting photography

How to do Light Painting Photography with Long Exposure

Long exposure or slow shutter speed allows more light to reach the camera sensor and exposes your image for a longer duration. It helps in sharply capturing the stationary objects in the scene while blurring the moving objects.

Long exposure is used in astrophotography, light painting photography, creative photography, abstract photography, waterfall photography and more.

Light Painting Photography

Light Painting Photography is the art form of using a moving light source (a flashlight, light painting tube, light painting stick, light wand) as a brush to write, draw or paint in a dark scene with long exposure.

Light Painting Photography Kit/Equipment needed

  • Camera that has manual settings; allows long exposure photography (allows to open the shutter for 10, 20, 30 secs or more
  • Tripod and remote shutter release/self-timer mode to avoid camera shake
  • Light Source:

Flashlight/LED torch

Attach the flashlight to a universal connector

Then attach the universal connector to any of the light painting tools like White Fiber Optic, Light Sword or Opaque Light Writer to create different effects.

(Note: A cheaper alternative to the above-mentioned light painting tools include empty plastic bottles; you can simply attach the flashlight to the universal connector, then attach the universal connector to an empty plastic bottle to create Light Painting)

To get an idea of light painting photography kit, you can check this link amazon.com/Light-Painting-Brushes-Starter-White/dp/B07LC35339

Light Painting Photography Settings

Recommended DSLR camera settings for Light Painting Photography include Shutter Speed of 30 secs, Aperture between f/5.6 to f/8, ISO 100 or 200, Manual focus. (Settings may vary depending on the ambient light present at the location)

Composition techniques to try for Light Painting Photography

Use Centred Composition by shooting the light painting over a pool or a lake to show its reflection in water.

Other composition ideas to create eye-catching Light Painting photos include Foreground Composition, Pattern and Texture Composition.

Light Painting Photography Ideas

Light Painting Portraits
Photo by Juan Jose

Photo by Juan Jose – Light Painting Photographer. For more such amazing images, do check his Instagram profile here instagram.com/juanthelightpainter/

Light Painting Portraits

Light Painting Photography
Photo by Juan Jose

Manually set the focus on your model(s) before starting the light painting coz for light painting, you’ll be shooting in dark (lights should be turned off).

Camera Settings: Aperture: f/8, ISO 200, Shutter Speed: between 20 secs to 30 secs or bulb mode.

Equipment: A flashlight which is attached to the universal connector; the universal connector  is then attached to the light painting tools like Light Sword or White Fiber Optic.  

Turn off the lights. Start the exposure. Wear dark clothes so that you aren’t visible in the image, only the model is. If you’re indoors, go towards your model and illuminate her by tracing her body with a light painting tube/sword (preferably from bottom to top) facing the camera with only one pass of light while she stays as still as possible. (If you repeat tracing her body again after a few secs, the light will record her movement causing a blur image). If you’re outdoors and there’s ambient light around, the model will be visible, so – you can skip the above step of illuminating/tracing her with light tube/sword. 

Then, move the light sword in a circular or any other motion from behind or around the model to create a band of light or big circles of light. Instead of a light sword, you can also use a white fiber optic to create a smoky texture.

We bring you ‘Jo & His Camera’ Comic Strips wherein a Magical Camera gives DSLR photography tutorials to Jo, an aspiring photographer

Click on the below Image to see the Comic wherein the Camera explains Jo the concept of Light Painting Portraits with the help of practical examples

Light Painting Portraits

Light Writing: Write a word/message with light

Camera Settings: Aperture: f/5.6, ISO 100, Shutter Speed: 30 secs or bulb mode.

If you want to keep the shutter open for longer periods than 30 sec, go for bulb mode that you can use only in Manual mode. In this mode, as long as you keep the shutter button pressed before taking the shot that much long will be the exposure. You will need a remote shutter release that allows you to lock the shutter button for longer exposures without having to keep the shutter button pressed with your finger for longer periods.

Equipment to write with light include a flashlight which is attached to the universal connector; the universal connector is then attached to a Light Writer.

Also, a colour filter with hood to illuminate the scene.

Turn off the lights. Start the exposure. Go to the spot and start your light writing backwards i.e. from right to left facing the camera. If you want to make it easier, write from left to right facing the camera and then flip it in post-processing. (Wear dark clothes so that you aren’t visible). While writing – physically turn on & off the flashlight (attached to your light writer) between each letter to prevent the light streak to flow from one letter to the other.

Pro tip: Instead of writing in the air, use the ground or a flat surface to write on so that the letters are lined up perfectly. You can use the ground for the bottom of the letter, then bring the height of the letter up to your eye level.  

After you’ve finished writing, remove the light writer from the universal connector and attach a colour filter with hood to it. Now, illuminate the scene using the colour filter with hood. Stop the exposure with the remote shutter release if you were using Bulb mode.

Light Writing with iPhone/android phone

If you don’t have a camera, you can capture your light writing using your iPhone/android phone and Slow Shutter Cam app. Though the quality will differ when compared to a light writing captured through a DSLR or any other camera.

Equipment to write with light include a flashlight which is attached to the universal connector; the universal connector is then attached to a Light Writer.

Download and use the Slow Shutter Cam app on your phone to capture the light writing. Place your phone on a tripod to avoid shake.

Settings to be used in Slow Shutter Cam app:

Capture mode: low light

Noise reduction: high

Shutter Speed: 30 secs; bulb mode if you want to keep the shutter open for a longer period

Set the ISO to anywhere between 30-35

Aperture is fixed which is f/2

Turn off the lights. Start the exposure. Go to the spot and start your light writing. Since the live preview in the app is reversed, it’s easier for you to write; you can write from left to right facing the camera. (Wear dark clothes so that you aren’t visible). While writing – physically turn on & off the flashlight (attached to your light writer) between each letter to prevent the light streak to flow from one letter to the other.

After you’ve finished writing, save the image.

Light Painting Photography
Photo by Kev Jay

Light Painting Orb

Camera Settings: Aperture: f/8, ISO 100, Shutter Speed: use Bulb mode along with a remote shutter release

Equipment to draw with light include a flashlight which is attached to the universal connector; the universal connector is then attached to the light painting tool. Here, either you can use one light painting tool or more which include a Plexiglass Rectangle and different coloured light swords to add texture and colour. The universal connector will allow you to quickly interchange these different light painting tools (Plexiglass Rectangle, Light Swords) while you capture the light painting in a single shot.

Light Painting Orb
Photo by Kev Jay

Photo by Kev Jay – Light Painting Photographer. For more such amazing images, do check his Instagram profile here instagram.com/kevjayphotos/

Turn off the lights. Start the exposure. Go to the spot with the Plexiglass Rectangle Light Painting Tool. (Wear dark clothes so that you aren’t visible). Then move the Plexiglass Rectangle up and down and turn the flashlight on and off (attached to it) while you turn your body in 360-degree direction. Try to keep your movements slow and hit the same high & low points. Each of these light trails will be recorded that’ll create an orb.

To paint some ambient light around the orb you’ve created, you can remove the Plexiglass Rectangle from the universal connector and attach a coloured light sword to it. Paint some ambient light by moving the light sword randomly around the spot. (You don’t have to switch on & off the flashlight this time).

After you’ve finished painting, stop the exposure with the remote shutter release since you are using Bulb mode here.

Click on the below Image to see the Comic wherein the Camera explains Jo the concept of Light Painting an Orb with the help of practical examples

light painting orb

Creating a Light Man/Woman

light painting photography
Photo by ASA PHOTOGRAPHY

Photo by ASA PHOTOGRAPHY. For more such amazing images, do check their Instagram profile here instagram.com/carlos.asanuma/

Camera Settings: Aperture: f/5.6, ISO 100, Shutter Speed: use Bulb mode along with a remote shutter release

Equipment to draw with light include a flashlight which is attached to the universal connector; the universal connector is then attached to a Light Writer. The Light Writer will be used for tracing the body to create a Light Man.

Also, a colour filter with hood, if you want to illuminate the scene.

Pick a position that will allow you to keep still. You can either choose to sit or stand. Sitting on a sofa/chair/bench will make it comfortable to trace your body with light. Turn off the lights. Start the exposure. Face the camera and start tracing your body with the Light Writer. Trace your body closely. Wear dark clothes so that you aren’t visible. The camera will record the movement of the light. This way, only the light trail of your body will show up in the image.

Begin by tracing your right leg (move the light writer horizontally) from the foot and make your way to the top till the knee, then trace your left leg from the knee to the foot.

Remember to turn off the flashlight (attached to your light writer) each time when you finish tracing a body part. Now, turn on the flashlight to trace your thighs. Similarly, after thighs – trace your stomach, chest, your arms, your neck and finally your head. Make sure to trace your entire body with the light writer.

After you’ve finished tracing your entire body, if you want to illuminate the scene – remove the light writer from the universal connector and attach a colour filter with hood to it. Now, illuminate the scene using the colour filter with hood. Stop the exposure with the remote shutter release since you were using Bulb mode here.

Click on the below Image to see the Comic wherein the Camera explains Jo the concept of creating a Light Man with the help of practical examples

light painting photography

When you do photography: Remember the 5E’s – Explore, Experiment, Experience, Enjoy & Express to develop your own style as a photographer.

Click here to read the blog on different types of photography – Landscape Photography, Portrait Photography, Wildlife Photography and more.

Do Share The Learning – Like It, Post It, Pin It, Tweet It!

Have any tips or experience to share on light painting photography? We’d love to know about it, do share them in the comment box below.

Did this blog help you with some ideas to improve your photography skills? For more useful photography tips, examples, ideas & inspiration, please subscribe below to receive notifications of new blog posts by email. Thank you!

aerial photography drone

Bird’s-Eye View with Drone Photography

Life is about perspective and how you look at something… ultimately, you have to zoom out ~ Whitney Wolfe Herd

From weddings and archaeology to environmental studies and movie production – drones have revolutionized and evolved photography! It has made it easier to capture aerial photographs of some of the world’s most amazing and hard to reach places.

As a photographer, it empowers you to discover and delight the viewers with never-before-seen perspectives of places, events across the globe. If you have good post-processing skills (in Lightroom/Photoshop), it will help you get the most out of your drone photos.

drone photography
Photo by Brandon Bester (Pic after post processing in Lightroom)
drone photography
Photo by Brandon Bester (Original pic as shot – before post processing)
Lightroom
Before-and-after post-processing comparison

Photos by Brandon Bester – Aerial Photographer. For more such amazing images, do check his Instagram profile here instagram.com/airtographyza

Composition Techniques

Go for Rule of Thirds, Leading Lines, Symmetry, Pattern & Texture.  

Adding people in your shots will give the viewers a reference for scale and engage them with a visual story.

aerial photography
Photo by Conor

Photo by Conor – Aerial Photographer. For more such amazing images, do check his Instagram profile here instagram.com/conorcorbett

Drones with Camera

You can check out some of the best drones with camera here amazon.com/Best-DJI-Drones/s?k=Best+DJI+Drones

Use the DJI Go App

With the DJI Go App, you can connect your smartphone/tablet to a DJI Mavic Pro, DJI Phantom, or a DJI Inspire’s remote controller.

After connecting the app, you can check out your drone’s related functions on the app which includes: Scan QR Code, Academy, Flight Record, No-fly Zone, Find my drone.

The app allows you to see what your drone’s camera is seeing, adjust the camera settings, review, edit, share your photos and more.

aerial photos
Photo by Niek Vandenabeele

Photo by Niek Vandenabeele – Aerial Photographer. For more such amazing images, do check his Instagram profile here instagram.com/niekvandenabeele

Recommended Camera Settings on the DJI Go App

Use Manual mode; set ISO to 100 on sunny days & 400 on cloudy days.

To freeze the action/motion, set the shutter speed above 1/125 sec.

Keep the histogram enabled/switched on, to guide you to set the correct exposure.

Go for Autofocus mode.

Image size: 4:3 (Mavic Pro), 3:2 (Phantom 4 Pro). With any other size, you may end up with a cropped image; better to crop your image later in post processing.

Image format: RAW is recommended; if you’ve been saving in JPEG – you can also go for RAW+JPEG (but remember: both types of image formats will take more space on your memory card).

Timed shot: With timed sequence of images, you can create an aerial time lapse.

HDR: You can use HDR wherein the camera takes a series of images with different exposure settings and combines them together to create a single image that captures the details in the darkest and lightest elements of the image.

Go for HDR – only if you don’t have a post-processing software (Lightroom/Photoshop) coz the results aren’t that good. AEB is a better option over HDR.

AEB: The camera will take 3 photos at different exposures (at the set exposure, an underexposed image and an overexposed image).

Later, you can combine all 3 images and create a single HDR photo in the post-processing software.

We bring you ‘Jo & His Camera’ Comic Strips wherein a Magical Camera gives DSLR photography tutorials to Jo, an aspiring photographer

Click on the below Image to see the Comic.

drone camera photo

When you do photography: Remember the 5E’s – Explore, Experiment, Experience, Enjoy & Express to develop your own style as a photographer.

Do Share The Learning – Like It, Post It, Pin It, Tweet It!

How has your experience been with drone photography? We would love to know about it, do share them in the comment box below.

Did this blog help you with some ideas to improve your photography skills? For more useful photography tips, examples, ideas & inspiration, please subscribe below to receive notifications of new blog posts by email. Thank you!