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Nightclub Light Trails Photography Tips and Tricks

How to get light trails in your party pictures.

My technique.

Nikon D700 + Nikon 24-85mm @24mm f/8 – ISO 200 1/8s + Nikon SB 910 flash iTTL – Front-curtain sync – Twisting the camera to the right.

I like to use the flash front curtain sync rather than rear curtain sync when I’m shooting light trails of people on the dance floor.

When I’m doing nightclub light trails pictures of people dancing I want to capture the moment first and foremost, the best option for me is to use front curtain flash sync, It’s not a good idea to time the subjects actions to line up with the end of the shutter, when I press the shutter button, I like to capture the moment first, and then use the rest of the exposure time to create my light trails.

First I’m going to make sure that my camera is set to front curtain sync, I press and hold down the flash button and go to the info button.

when I’m pressing and holding down the flash button I can rotate the command dial to change from going to front curtain sync and rear curtain sync.

This is front curtain sync that I like to use, this is the camera default setting.

This is rear curtain sync if you go to this setting make sure that you go back to the default setting when you are done using it.

Swing The Camera.

When swinging the camera, it’s important to know whatever way I will swing the camera, the light will streak in the opposite direction.

And, the more lights I have in the background, the more light trails I will get.

Almost at the same time as I press the shutter button I swing or twist the camera to left or right and hope for the best.

The more I use this technique, the more comfortable I get.

The flash is what makes sure the subject is visible and sharp.

Nikon D200 + Nikon 18-105mm @18mm f/8 – ISO 100 1/6s + Nikon SB 600 flash iTTL – Swinging the camera to the right.
Nikon D700 + Nikon 24-85mm @24mm f/8 – ISO 200 1/8s + Nikon SB 910 flash iTTL – twisting the Camera to the right.
Nikon D200 + Nikon 18-105mm @18mm f/8 – ISO 100 1/8s + Nikon SB 600 flash iTTL – Swinging the camera to the right.

Gear.

I like to use standard zoom lenses with VR and I’m most of the time at 18mm to 45mm so

This is my ideal shutter speed and ISO setting.

Manual mode M and the Shutter is 1/4s to 1/8s and the ISO 100 to ISO 200.

Flash.

TTL speed-light flash is what I use and on my camera, I zoom my flash to around 50mm depending on how close I am to the subject.

To be absolutely safe I dial the exposure on the flash down -1.0EV, so I won’t overexpose the picture.

I also use AF assist beam on the flash to help my camera to focus quicker. 

Make sure that AF assist beam on the camera is turned ON.

And the focus setting is on AF-S then this will work fine.

Editing the photos.

When I edit the pictures I use LR and these Hollywood preset have become my favorite to use with this type of photography and Long exposure photos.

If you like to learn this then watch this video down below from Serge Ramelli Photography, I learn this technique from this video and I absolutely love it.

Nightclub Light Trails Photography Tips and Tricks
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