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Sunset To Night Street Photography

Fujifilm X-Series Workshop

I conducted a 4 hours workshop for a group of aspiring photographers who have just switched to the Fujifilm X-Series cameras. We settled on this genre of street photography because it is a good training ground for all types of photography.

Fujifilm cameras are considered one of the best mirrorless cameras for low-light photography.

So, I took the group to the street of Singapore, from sunset to night, to exploit the Fujifilm camera’s ability to shoot in low light and coached techniques and essentials of low-light and street photography. Shooting hands-free in low-light conditions was an interesting learning experience for the group.

We were shooting with aperture priority mode to have more control over the depth of field. The aperture setting is equally important to compensate for light entering the lens so there won’t be a camera shake, resulting in blurry images. Participants also learned to use additional light sources available in the environment.

When photographing in low light without a tripod and no flashlight, you rely a lot on the ISO to get enough light sensitivity into your camera. Be cautious though. High ISO equals more noise. As you scroll down this blog for more photos, you will notice that I photograph at a maximum of ISO6400. I noticed that photos become pixelated with any ISO above that. I was using a Fujifilm XT3 and Fujinon XF16-55mm f/2.8 weather resistance lens.

Therefore, it is advisable that after every shoot, go through your photos on the computer to look out for noise. That will help you to determine what is the maximum ISO that you can apply to your camera to avoid too many pixelated images.

To demonstrate Fujifilm's film simulation which replicates closed-to-film colours, I shot the following photos in JPEG format using the Standard and Classic Chrome film simulation. Most of these images are straight out from the camera. Some were adjusted in Lightroom for highlight, shadow, noise reduction and contrast. That's about what it can be done for a JPEG photo.

1/640 sec, f/2.8, ISO200

The first two photos (above and below) were shot at sunset. I intended to create a silhouette of the man and the boy but not to darken the two subjects. Therefore, I used ISO200 to achieve this effect. The shallow depth of field blurs out the background and made the respective subjects stand out more.

1/1600 sec, f/2.8, ISO200

1/60 sec, f/2.8, ISO1600

These two photos (above and below) were shot at blue hour. Light going into the camera is getting a little constraint now. Shooting with ISO1600 was the best choice in this situation which produced sharp photos with no blur. Then again, do not abruptly increase the ISO without working on other settings such as the Exposure Compensation and Metering Mode.

1/30 sec, f/2.8, ISO1600

As the night progresses, the ISO was increased gradually between ISO1600 to ISO6400 to reduce camera shakes as we were shooting handheld. We were still working with a shallow depth of field, between f/2.8 to f3.5. Some of the photos are getting pixelated but it wasn't critical that cannot be fixed in Lightroom.

1/180 sec, f/2.8, ISO6400

1/90 sec, f/2.8, ISO6400

Positioning the lens to create this light flare would add some interesting elements to fill the darker side of the photo.

1/55 sec, f/2.8, ISO6400

1/80 sec, f/2.8, ISO6400

The focus was on the man's mobile phone and getting all light sources around resulted in the subject being sharply captured.

1/50 sec, f/2.8, ISO6400

Another method of making use of light sources around and at the same time, providing the photo with a sense of place. I used a shallow depth of field to focus on the sculpture so the background is blurred to achieve this.

1/125 sec, f/2.8, ISO6400

1/150 sec, f/2.8, ISO6400

1/105 sec, f/2.8, ISO6400

1/40 sec, f/2.8, ISO6400

1/220 sec, f/2.8, ISO6400

1/160 sec, f/2.8, ISO6400

1/120 sec, f/2.8, ISO6400

I am not associated with Fujifilm in any way. My first mirrorless camera system was Fujifilm. I have been shooting with a variety of Fujifilm X-Series cameras for a decade. Fujifilm camera users have found me through articles I have published in Fuji X Magazines (in the early years) or through my 500px gallery that shows most of my photography was made with a Fujifilm X-series camera, starting from XT-1 and XE-2.


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Want to learn more about low light and night photography?

Sign up for my night photography workshop here.

Prefer a custom-made workshop, get in touch with me.

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