Helpful Posts Helpful Posts:  0
Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: Candle Flames

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Essex
    Posts
    154
    Real Name
    Trev

    Candle Flames

    Hi to you all

    I am interested in taking low light images of candle flames but everytime I try it the images look either to dark or burnt out. Can anyone give me any advice on camera settings or point me to a tutorial

    Thanks

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: Candle Flames

    It's a hard one Trev because the scene is VERY high contrast (light levels are generally low, but you also have a VERY bright light) (relatively speaking) (assuming little ambiant light) - so either way it creates an exposure problem.

    If it were me, and I had to get such a shot (perhaps commercially), I'd fake it by augmenting the light with a gelled flash, but I'm not sure if that's outside the scope of what you want to achieve.

    The only other thing I can think of is exposing for the flame - shooting RAW - and seeing what detail could be revealed using the fill light slider in post-processing.

  3. #3
    arith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Burton on Trent, UK
    Posts
    4,786
    Real Name
    Steve

    Re: Candle Flames

    Take the exposure from the brightest source and overexpose by 1+2/3 stops. It is a bit of guesswork sonce it is hard to determine the brightest bit. The darkest bit should be no more than 250X longer exposure or you will have underexposure problems, but still possible and maybe you will like me like dark bits.

    Candle Flames

    sometimes candle power is too bright, and it is easy to get this wrong.
    Candle Flames

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Essex
    Posts
    154
    Real Name
    Trev

    Re: Candle Flames

    a gelled flash is definitely outside the scope, its just something I have been playing around with at home, candle on a mantle with the lights off, the whole capture of a naked flame really facinates me, but never quite works out how my mind envisages it should. I shall try your suggestions above and hopefully obtain a good capture or 2, if I get a shot I am relatively happy with i'll post it and then get some C&C and maybe further advice. Cheers

    Trev

  5. #5
    herbert's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Sussex, UK
    Posts
    471
    Real Name
    Alex

    Re: Candle Flames

    Hi Trev,

    If you are getting mixed results with your shots of a single candle in a dark room (too dark or burnt out) you could try shooting in manual. In all the other modes the camera will have to determine exposure for each shot and with the high contrast and flickering light it could vary a lot. When there is a bright light source covering only a small part of the image the camera often ignores it (burnt out) or directly preserves it (everything else too dark). I would use manual, fix my ISO and aperture and then take a series of images at different shutter speeds and see what you get.

    However with such a large dynamic range you may have to settle for details in the flames or a nice glow in the surrounding.

    Alex

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: Candle Flames

    Hi Trev,

    Know worries. It's the "with the lights off" bit that's causing the problem; lights ON will light the rest of the scene, leaving just the candle to be captured.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Essex
    Posts
    154
    Real Name
    Trev

    Re: Candle Flames

    Quote Originally Posted by herbert View Post
    Hi Trev,

    If you are getting mixed results with your shots of a single candle in a dark room (too dark or burnt out) you could try shooting in manual. In all the other modes the camera will have to determine exposure for each shot and with the high contrast and flickering light it could vary a lot. When there is a bright light source covering only a small part of the image the camera often ignores it (burnt out) or directly preserves it (everything else too dark). I would use manual, fix my ISO and aperture and then take a series of images at different shutter speeds and see what you get.

    However with such a large dynamic range you may have to settle for details in the flames or a nice glow in the surrounding.

    Alex
    I had been shooting in manual mode but being new to it all I probably gave up far to soon without having the patience to continue and maybe get it right or at least better than my first attempts


    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Hi Trev,

    Know worries. It's the "with the lights off" bit that's causing the problem; lights ON will light the rest of the scene, leaving just the candle to be captured.
    If I fail miserably I will give it a try with the lights on, capturing the flame is whats most important to me so I guess that a lit background as long as its not distracting will be ok

    Thanks again for the advice

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: Candle Flames

    Quote Originally Posted by Splatsworth View Post
    I had been shooting in manual mode but being new to it all I probably gave up far to soon without having the patience to continue and maybe get it right or at least better than my first attempts
    Manual mode is fine - but vary your exposure to see what works best.

    If I fail miserably I will give it a try with the lights on, capturing the flame is whats most important to me so I guess that a lit background as long as its not distracting will be ok
    It really depends a lot on the scene; if it's too dark - and is only "lit" by the candle - then the candle isn't lighting the background enough - but if you extend the exposure so the background IS lit correctly, you'll then have a big white "glob" instead of a nice flame.

    It's a bit like a regular lightbulb in a room; normally it lights the room just fine, but if we stare at the bare bulb, it's too bright for our eyes to handle. On the other hand, if we put on some welding goggles then we can look directly at the light, but the rest of the room will be too dark to see.

    What you need is ambient lighting that takes care of the background, and candle light to provide the highlights. Basically it's a mixed light source, which can be "fun" to get right

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Western MA, USA
    Posts
    387
    Real Name
    Tom

    Re: Candle Flames

    Here is an article on candlelight photography from a site that I often find useful: http://www.digital-photography-schoo...ht-photography I haven't tried the advice in this article, but the site usually has knowledgeable suggestions worth the read. FWIW

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Essex
    Posts
    154
    Real Name
    Trev

    Re: Candle Flames

    Ok, I had a go at it, finally got 2 images that i'm reasonably happy with as starter shots but theres a hell of a lot of room for improvement

    Candle Flames

    Candle Flames

    C&C away

  11. #11
    The Blue Boy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Manchester
    Posts
    787
    Real Name
    Mark Fleming

    Re: Candle Flames

    Hi Trev, (Splatsworth? Not gonna ask! )

    I took this while mucking about trying to remember how to make animated gifs in PS. I shot in really low res as it's quite a large file otherwise. It was trial and error on the exposure and as you can see it's not the best, but it looked great imbedded in the email that it was destined for.

    Candle Flames

  12. #12

    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Essex
    Posts
    154
    Real Name
    Trev

    Re: Candle Flames

    Oh thats so cool, I like it, I think the whole problem I had was just shooting the candles on their own without any context, yours is such a great idea that it makes all the difference.

    Splat is my online gaming name, but these days most people pinch it before I get a chance to register with it, Splatsworth was born because nobody else uses it

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •