As a landscape photographer in the city, there are not many choices. Steel buildings in the city have become a very good subject. How to take better photos in the city, let’s climb the stairs together!
Perhaps some friends are still very new to the name Climbing Party. The so-called Climbing Party is a group of lovers of urban scenery, who like to find high-rise buildings and record the beautiful scenery of the city from the sky.
Why do you want to climb? Because on the ground, our vision will be blocked by buildings, making the scene look much flatter. When we stand taller, on the one hand, we can see farther; on the other hand, we stand taller and our vision is wider, and we can see many scenery that we have not normally discovered.
As the saying goes, you can see different scenery when you stand higher. Any city, big or small, has its own unique charm. Standing on the top of the city, we can find many beautiful scenery that is usually difficult to find. This is the unique charm of climbing stairs.
1. Tips for shooting before climbing stairs
We have talked about a lot of things that are irrelevant to the shooting. Now we will enter the shooting session to talk about urban climbing shooting, what are the notable shooting techniques and post-production methods. First of all, let’s talk about the pre-shooting techniques. First of all, urban architecture and landscape shooting are slightly different. There are more things to pay attention to in the pre-shooting.
2. How to find a seat
Finding a seat is a technical task. Since many seats are relatively obscure, we generally do not advocate asking for seats directly. You have to find seats on your own. How to find the seats? For a camera that has already taken photos, it’s actually best to look for it. According to the location in the photo, plus a map, you can easily find which building it is. Of course, the best camera position is what we often call the “first camera position”. This requires us to find the most suitable building based on our usual observations, cooperate with the map, and find the right shooting location by ourselves. I won’t say more here.
3. Select the focal length. Wide-angle is the main telephoto and has miraculous effects
Under normal circumstances, we have to choose a wide-angle focal length for shooting when climbing stairs. Wide-angle shooting can make the scenery look more magnificent. But using telephoto shooting, you can also capture the details of the building, especially the geometric shapes, which will make your own photos different from others.
4. Eliminate reflections, get close to the glass and make good use of occlusion
Unlike usual shooting, in the process of climbing stairs to shoot, glass is sometimes the most severe postgraduate entrance examination. Sometimes we can’t directly face the camera to the scenery, there is always a layer of dirty glass window in between. How to prevent the glass from looking dirty, how to avoid the glass from shining, in fact, the easiest way is to stick the lens on the glass! If this does not remove the reflection, we can try to cover around the lens with clothes, etc., which can make the shooting effect better.
5. Shooting essentials, pay attention to the level to reduce distortion
Compared with natural scenery, urban scenery needs more attention to “horizontal and vertical”. Due to the obvious horizontal and vertical line structure of urban buildings, on the one hand, as long as it is slightly inclined, there will be very obvious visual parallax. In addition, since wide-angle lenses are often used for urban scenery shooting, distortion will make urban buildings very unsightly, so to avoid distortion, the most important thing is level! Ensure the level of the lens to shoot and minimize distortion.
6. Use splices to extend the viewing angle correction level
When shooting in the city, we can use the splicing function more. Splices have two uses: to obtain a wider viewing angle; to obtain better distortion correction. Everyone can understand a wider viewing angle, but what about distortion correction? We first said that only horizontal shooting can achieve smaller distortion, but sometimes we can’t achieve a good composition effect when shooting horizontally. At this time, we can use a wide-angle lens and use vertical splicing. You can use post splicing methods. Get better distortion correction under the bird’s-eye view effect. The principle is very simple. We can correct the distortion of the upside down shot through the distortion correction of the PS, but the frame will be lost, that is, the field of view will be narrowed, and the splice can provide a wider field of view, so there is a greater correction space.
If we need to get a picture with neither too much distortion nor a head-up angle, we can choose a wide-angle lens to shoot vertically, and then use the downward angle for splicing, so that we can get a wider angle in the later stage photo.
7. Pay special attention to exposure and highlight
The second point is to focus on exposure. There are two points to pay attention to when controlling exposure: First, it is inconvenient to use gradient filters in urban scenery, so it is more important to pay attention to exposure than at sunrise and sunset; secondly, when it is night, a large number of advertising screens will cause Partial overexposure.
To control the exposure is not easy for city shooting. Sometimes you cannot rely on filters to balance the light like natural scenery, so you need to control the shooting time more accurately and choose the shooting angle. Under normal circumstances, thirty minutes after sunset is the most suitable time. At this time, the sky is just dark and the sky is still colored. The city landscape lights are usually turned on within half an hour after sunset. This is the most suitable time for shooting. opportunity.
For high light ratio environments, HDR is an optional method. HDR requires us to take multiple bracketed photos in the early stage, and a more stable tripod system is needed. Since the large light ratio generally occurs at sunrise and sunset in the environment, it must be faster when doing HDR to avoid the impact of displacement.
8. Post-processing methods and ideas
In post-processing, we mainly introduce three aspects: how to connect the film, how to correct distortion, and how to adjust the large light ratio. As for the specific adjustment methods, I believe everyone has their own habits.
9. How to connect the film depends on Camera Raw
Using PS for splicing is something that everyone is accustomed to, but with the latest version of Camera Raw of PS, splicing under RAW files can be realized. Let’s focus on this function. In the RAW file, the splice can load Adobe’s lens correction data to make the splice effect even better.
To use Camera Raw (hereafter referred to as ACR), first open all RAW files at the same time. Then we can select the splicing button in the upper right corner to start splicing. Under normal circumstances, we only need to choose the first of the three options. Then the computer will perform the connection processing, which takes longer than the PS, and consumes more memory and cache disk capacity. You need to pay attention to this.
After the splicing is completed, a standard RAW file will be generated, which is a DNG format file. We can refer to all the RAW file adjustments for operation. After the latest ACR 9.4 version, we can directly adjust the distortion after splicing to get more precise spliced photos.
10. How to correct distortion
Of course, we will find that sometimes when synthesizing photos, the distortion problem can not be completed by simple adjustment, which requires us to perform more manual operations. But before introducing manual correction, let’s take a look at the boundary deformation adjustment when using ACR to synthesize the panorama just now. To put it simply, the boundary deformation is to turn the “fan-shaped surface” that is connected to the picture into a “rectangular surface”, and cut out the prominent part of the picture through automatic cropping.
Of course, in addition to the built-in calibration, we need to rely more on manual calibration. The author briefly introduces the adjustment content of the next correction for everyone, which can be a quick start for unfamiliar friends. Of course, I said that you can use the downward shooting method to correct the distortion with the splicing method. Let’s take a look at the actual effect.
11. How to improve exposure
HDR is actually a very practical technique for urban scenery, but HDR here refers to rigorous dynamic range synthesis, not HDR effects. The most common problems encountered in urban scenery are overexposure and underexposure, because artificial city lights never have the softness of natural light. Complicated buildings will make dark areas darker and sky areas brighter, so we need to adjust the exposure later.
The most ideal adjustment method is to directly adjust in the RAW file, using highlights and shadows, and with gradient filters, sometimes you can get good results. However, under extreme conditions, we need to shoot multiple RAW files in the early stage, and then perform HDR synthesis in the later stage. In the new version of ACR, it also has HDR function, we can synthesize a RAW file with high dynamic range based on multiple RAW files.