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Church Photography Technique

Church Photography Technique - We're heading back into the night but this time our focus is a church.

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Category : Architecture
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Today we turn your attention to the local church – or at least one that is lit up. Not every church is so you may have to drive around to find one if you do not already know of a suitable location.

Sunset on the hillside at the small chapel at Llandecwyn, Snowdonia, Wales, UK.
Photo by David Clapp - www.davidclapp.co.uk
 
A wide-angle lens will find plenty of use for this subject. Get in close to fill the frame and do not stress out about converging verticals – you may be able to straighten these out in Photoshop if they annoy you.

A wide-angle used from a distance will also let you include traffic trails and illuminated signs so do have a wander for different viewpoints. The tripod and the remote release are important tools to have for this sort of work, too.

Sacre Coeur Basilica, Paris, France
Photo by David Clapp - www.davidclapp.co.uk

Many churches are locked up, which is a sad reflection of the times, but for night shooting this is not an issue.

The important thing is to be on the spot as day gives way to night. That way you get colour in the sky while benefiting from the lit foreground, which brings us neatly to timing. If you subject’s lights do not come on until later in the evening the black sky will look too stark. You might have to turn up and hope the lights come on before all colours drains out of the sky.

An auto exposure mode is fine. Most cameras have shutter speeds to 30secs or B (bulb) so use that with a lockable release for longer shutter speeds.

Try a few test shots in auto white-balance and see what you think. The warm colour cast can look fine but if you want something more neutral use the incandescent pre-set or even use the Kelvin control, setting a low value. 

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