Late night available light portraits in Las Vegas
During a chance connection at WPPI photography convention in Vegas, Lupita and I struck up a conversation … and later that evening we ventured out on the Las Vegas strip for a few late night portraits. With a fast prime lens – the Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM lens (B&H / Amazon) – we were able to use just the light on the part of the Strip we explored. Here are a few of my favorite images.
It’s always an adventure using random available light like this — there is such a wide range of nuanced shades of colors that play over someone’s features … when it looks good, it can be quite interesting. Something out of the normal “clean” way of lighting our subjects. Still, I had to look for places where we could use the neon signs. I usually waited for a more neutral color from the lights around us, since a green (or overly magenta) skin tone is difficult to fix.
All the images here were taken with the Sony A9 camera (B&H / Amazon) and the Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM lens (B&H / Amazon), wide open. Shutter speeds ranged from 1/60-1/160. ISO ranged from 1600-3200. However, most of these were bumped up by around 0.7 stops in processing the RAW files.
The escalator sequence especially was fun — the Sony A9’s eye-focus meant that as she slowly ascended, the camera accurately tracked her eye, regardless of my composition. I could just frame and trip the shutter as I varied my composition — the camera made sure her eyes were in focus, critically sharp. With the escalator series, I was at 1/160th – the fastest shutter speed I used this evening – because I needed to freeze any motion. Fortunately escalators fairly slowly and at a steady pace. All the images were crisply sharp for the high ISO settings I used.
Camera settings for these images
- f/1.8 @ 1/60 to 1/160th @ 1600 – 3200 ISO
- available light only
- review: Sony 135mm f/1.8 GM lens
- Available light photography – looking for good light (model: Anastasiya)
- Posing into the light for better portraits
- Photographing with available light only (model: Anna L Russell)
2 Comments, Add Your Own
1Michelle Gunton says
Wow that sony 135 is a beast. I really need to get my hands on one and try it out. Thank you for sharing your camera settings.
2Valent Lau says
That escalator shot is amazing! Ours go so fast it feels by the time you get in position they’ve moved halfway up.