Every photo needs a light source, but did you know that light itself can be the subject of a great photo? Pictures that make use of lighting tricks or effects are some of the most striking images you can capture, and most of them aren't difficult. Here's how to do it.
Light trails or light streaks appear in a nighttime photograph when a bright light is in motion, but the rest of the shot is still. The most familiar photos of light trails are those that include automotive headlights or tail lights captured as the car is moving, creating long, fluid streaks of white and red across an otherwise motionless landscape.
This eye-catching effect is easy to produce with a camera like the Samsung NX System. Simply set your camera on a tripod and use Bulb mode (found when you set the camera to Manual Mode) to leave the shutter open for an extended amount of time. Just hold the shutter button down for as long as you'd like it to remain open. You may need to experiment with the aperture setting and take a few shots. If your pictures are turning out overexposed, increase the f stop (a maneuver that makes the aperture smaller) to darken the resulting image. A remote shutter release cable will keep you from accidentally moving or jostling the camera while you're shooting.
Thanks to digital cameras, flashlights have taken on a whole new life as virtual paintbrushes in long-shutter photographs. By simply holding a light source—flashlight, glow stick or even the screen of your cell phone—toward the camera's lens, you can "paint" using the light to create a unique artistic creation. The most striking light painting photos tend to be made with sparklers, thanks to their very bright light and the trail of sparks they leave behind.
Painting something legible using a sparkler or flashlight isn't easy and may take some practice, since you can't really see what you're doing. Start with small, simple designs (circles, stars, happy faces), and work your way up to more complicated light paintings. Work quickly, and cover the light source when you don't want it to show up on film. Remember that if you're facing the camera, your images will appear reversed in the final image. If you're writing words, there's no need to relearn cursive backwards. Simply write normally, and then flip the photo around using a photo editing program on your computer.
When you photograph a bright light source directly—particularly the sun—you may find that the resulting image is full of rays shooting out from the light, almost like a small explosion. Sometimes this effect is obtrusive, but if you plan for it, you can use starbursts to add a certain exotic or uplifting feel to your photographs.
Most photographs that capture a light source will contain some of this starburst effect by default, but you can enhance it by tweaking your camera settings. The secret is to use as high an f stop setting as possible after putting your camera in Aperture Priority mode. This will, as we said, make your camera's aperture small, which naturally brings out and enhances the starburst effect.
This strange-sounding photo technique (it's Japanese for "blur" or "fuzzy") involves the blurring of light, particularly lights that are out of focus in the deep background. Bokeh blurs appear as small, hazy circles or rings, and with a bit of planning the end result can be quite striking and artistic. With a crisply focused foreground and a bokeh-blurry background, pictures can take on an almost surreal, dreamlike quality.
You've mastered the techniques; now share your creations with the world. The Samsung NX System and other Wi-Fi® enabled cameras let you share shots directly from your camera whenever you’re in range of a wireless network. You can instantly share pictures with friends on social networks like Facebook, send them to Microsoft Skydrive for online archiving, or transfer photos to a PC on your home network. You can even set up an impromptu slide show on your television with TV Link and Samsung Link, or send a photo to your Galaxy mobile device with the Samsung MobileLink app, available at the Google Play™ store.
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