Travel Photographer, Canada
Permanent and Ephemeral Paper Lanterns
Hoi An offers two kinds of paper lanterns for sale. The first kind is the traditional lanterns that you’d hang in your house or on your porch. They come in many sizes and colors, and all look beautiful to photograph. The other, more ephemeral kind are simple paper boxes that look like Chinese take-out containers, with a little tea candle in them. After you make a wish, you’re meant to place the lantern into the river and watch it float away.
- The best time to shoot lanterns is at twilight. It’s not dark enough to lose the background, and the blue sky color compliments the lights of the lanterns.
- You’ll absolutely need a tripod. Otherwise you’ll be shooting handheld at slow shutter speeds, and that usually doesn’t work out too well.
- Expose for the brightest part of the scene (usually the lantern), and everything else will look good.
- Avoid using flash if you can. It will just eliminate the glow of the lantern.
- If you use long exposures, you won’t need to worry if someone walks through your frame of view. They won’t likely show up in your image.
- Err on the side of underexposure. Most camera meters will tend to be fooled by the bright lights and dark background. If you shoot at -1 or -2 compensation, you’ll probably be a lot closer to the correct exposure.
Ian Robert Knight Photography
Ian is a professional photographer, specializing in travel editorial and street photography. Find out more about Ian's background and experiences in the bio page here.
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