Night Effect

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by andrea.gerosa, Feb 16, 2006.

  1. I have some pictures that I took during the day with some friends in
    city streets, with normal light, in the shadow (not in the direct
    sun light).
    Now I want to make them like night pictures.
    I thought to do as follows, after having obtained the correct levels
    and white balance on the original image:
    darken a little, rise the contrast and use filter 80a from photoshop.
    Maybe the gamma may be lowered a litlle too.
    Any suggstions?
     
  2. Eliminate shadow detail.
     
  3. boost the blue channel
    lower contrast
    convert to grey-scale

    or post an example original as a challenge to the rest of us
     
  4. No, no, no. Everyone's overlooking the MAIN thing that makes nighttime photography look the way it does. It's not the darkness or the color.
    It's the size and placement of the light sources! Daytime photography is lit from a single light source that's infinitely (in optical terms) far away. It might have a small angular diameter (the sun) or it might have a very big one (cloudy sky).
    Nighttime photography is lit by multiple light sources that are close - usually close enough so the square-of-the-distance law applies. A streetlight lights the TOP of a subject's head significantly more than his feet. It lights the front of a car more than the back. That's why you THINK you want more contrast but contrast DOES NOT produce the same effect. Also, nightime light sources are often close enough that shadows diverge from the light sources.
    Also a typical street scene has multiple streetlights, storefronts, neon lights, and headlights, so the highlights off of surfaces are multiple - something you seldom see during the day. Also these light sources have different color temperatures so it's not unusual for a subject to have a warm highlight on one side and a cool one on the other side.
    I've spent years doing, and simulating in the studio, nighttime photography. The average person - even the average photographer - might not be able to put his finger on all these elements, but he'll know right away that a daytime shot PS'ed with contrast and color temperature isn't the real deal.
     
  5. Post a sample and let us have a go.
     
  6. Peter Nelson got it 100% right. It's about the lighting. Funny how that lighting thing always relates back to photography, must be something to it.
     
  7. "It's the size and placement of the light sources! Daytime photography is lit from a single light source that's infinitely (in optical terms) far away. It might have a small angular diameter (the sun) or it might have a very big one (cloudy sky)."

    Same with moonlight, which is just reflected sunlight anyway.
     
  8. OK, Peter, Roger,
    I can see your point, I can't simulate artificial light sources...
    but moonlight? According to what you say I think I could, the distance of the light source is the same. The higher contrast could be due to the fact the sky reflects less moonlight than sunlight. By the way, I remember that some directors made it in movies with some particular filters and film.
    I'll try to post some example if I succeeed
     
  9. Same with moonlight, which is just reflected sunlight anyway.
    Most nighttime photography is not lit by moonlight, but when it is the results CAN be the same as sunlight. I have a photo I took, on film, of a neighbor's house by moonlight a few years ago. The sky is blue, the grass is green - everything looks like it was taken on a sunny afternoon except two small details - - if you look closely in the sky there are faint star-trails, and one of the windows looks like it is exploding with light - they had left a light on in a bathroom window.
     
  10. I don't disagree with you Peter.
    Most of my personal night shots are lit with at least some moonlight, although I try to keep exposures shorter than what you describe so that they don't look like day and spoil the mood. Also, reciprocity-related color shifts with film give you some interesting colors you won't normally find during daytime.

    My suggestion for Andrea is to shoot some real night shots and then try to play with PS to mimic the effects she likes. Personally, I shoot at night and keep the PS to a minimum.
     

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