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Tips for taking outdoor beamshot photos?

Discussion in 'Flashlights & Other Illumination Devices' started by Rah14, Mar 9, 2010.

  1. Rah14

    Rah14 Empty Pockets

    May 22, 2007
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    Hello there. Does anyone have some tips/standards for taking good beamshot photos? I've love to get some great distance and color rendering shots outdoors. Based on my gear I don't have a lot to work with, but as long as my photos come out consistent and (hopefully) less grainy I'll be a happy camper.

    I have a basic tripod and an older point and shoot camera (Canon SD400) with basic manual settings:

    Exposure -2/-1/0/+1/+2
    ISO auto/50/100/200/400
    Auto White Balance, various settings

    Many thanks
  2. chappel

    chappel Loaded Pockets

    Mar 9, 2008
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    Wow - I haven't tried that myself, but I would expect good results if you use a low ISO (lower = less grainy-ness), and shoot manual shutter / aperture (set the aperture as open as will still give you the depth of field that you want, and use whatever shutter speed necessary to properly expose the shot - you'll definitely need that tripod, and probably need the timer or a remote release to minimize camera shake from pushing the button - and fasten down the flashlight, too). Use a manual White Balance setting, or the camera will try and compensate for any color differences in the light. 'daylight' will probably give you the most accurate comparisons.

    On my Nikon the exposure +/- doesn't do anything in full manual mode; you'll have to adjust the shutter (and/or aperture). Take plenty of shots to get it dialed in.

    It probably won't aid the comparisons any, but I would think some dry ice would make the beam itself more visible for a more dramatic effect, if that's what you are after.

    50mm is supposedly about what the naked eye takes in (that'd be about 35mm in a DX 'small frame' digital), so you might want to use a prime of that size - especially a faster one - f1.8 or f1.4 for low-light, or zoom to about that range if you've only got a zoom lens. I would expect that would give an accurate portrayal of distance.

    Have fun!
  3. kirbysdl
    • In Omnia Paratus

    kirbysdl Loaded Pockets

    Feb 15, 2008
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    You'll absolutely need something that can take a fully manual exposure if you want good comparison shots, or else the difference in light output will throw off the camera's metering. To fake this effect, you can try turning the flash on; some P&S cameras will lock in the shutter speed whenever the flash is on; some dark tape over the flash unit itself will keep the light from spoiling your shots.