Night Photography: Shooting Street Scenes After Sunset | Sean Dalton | Skillshare

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Night Photography: Shooting Street Scenes After Sunset

teacher avatar Sean Dalton, Travel Photographer

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Class Project


    • 3.

      Gear for low-light photography


    • 4.

      Camera Settings


    • 5.

      Preparing for shoot


    • 6.

      Ambient Light


    • 7.

      Shooting in Chinatown


    • 8.



    • 9.

      Next steps


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About This Class

Hit the streets of Bangkok with Sean as he walks you through the process of capturing beautiful images after sunset.

In this 60 minute course, Sean covers everything you need to know about shooting at night or in low-light environments. You'll learn all the tips and tricks for shooting after sunset, and get direct insight into Sean's creative workflow.

Here are some of the things you will learn:

  • The best gear for shooting at night
  • Which camera settings to use
  • How to find the best locations for night photography
  • How to identify quality light sources
  • How to use shutter speed and aperture creatively
  • How to take long exposure shots at night
  • How to edit photos shot at night and how to remove digital noise

This course was designed for:

  • Beginner photographers with little to no experience who want to improve their night or low-light photography skills
  • Intermediate photographers who want a deeper understanding of the principles of night or low-light photography
  • Anyone who wants to improve their general knowledge of photography in order to capture beautiful images!

Hope to see you in the course dashboard!

Other Courses You Might Like:

Meet Your Teacher

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Sean Dalton

Travel Photographer

Top Teacher

Hey guys! I'm Sean.

For the last 5 years I've been traveling the world capturing as many photos as I possibly can. I'm drawn to a wide range of photography styles, and constantly striving to improve my art. Emotion and storytelling are two central pillars of my artwork, and I am always looking for new and interesting stories to tell via my camera.

I'm originally from San Francisco, California, but have spent the last few years chasing stories and light throughout Asia.

Most of what I teach relates to my background with travel and lifestyle photography, but I am constantly expanding my focus as I continue to grow as a photographer. I'm pumped that you are here, let's grow together!

I'm active on Instagram, and you can also find me on YouTube.... See full profile

Level: All Levels

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1. Introduction: Shooting at night is one of those things that might seem a little bit difficult at first, but once you learn a few crucial concepts, it becomes no different than shooting during the day. It's also in my opinion, one of the best time to shoot. That's simply because the lack of natural light presents some really awesome photo opportunities that you just don't get when the sun is up. My name is Sean Dalton, I'm a traveler and lifestyle toggle from San Francisco, California. Today I'm here in Bangkok, Thailand, where I'm going to take you guys out on the street and show you how you can capture some really cool photos at night. In this course, we're going to be covering everything you need to know about how to capture really cool images at night or in just general low-light environments. We're going to start things off right here in the studio, where I'm going to talk about gear and how it can play an important role when shooting at night. Then we're going to move on and start talking about camera settings. I'm going to walk you guys through which camera settings you should use when shooting at night or in dark environments in order to get the best looking images. After that, we're going to talk about light and how to find the best ambient light when you're out shooting, as well as some of the things that you can do before you go out and shoot to make sure that you have a successful shoot. After that, we're going to leave the studio and hit the streets of Bangkok, Thailand, where I'm going to take you guys with me to Chinatown. A really, really cool area in the city, and I'm going to show you how I would capture three different compositions utilizing some of the techniques that we talked about in this course. After we're done shooting, we're going to come right back here to the studio where I'm going to edit those photos, tune the colors to how I want them and just really make those images pop. Editing is a big part of the process, so I do want to take a little bit of time to focus on that. In short, this course is going to cover not only my entire workflow for going out and shooting at night, but it's also going to give you the knowledge and tips that you need for capturing beautiful images at night as well. If you're wondering if this course is for you. Well, this course is pretty much for anybody that just wants to take better images at night or anybody that's maybe struggled with shooting in low light environments in the past. Well, the concepts we're talking about in this course, yes, they definitely apply to shooting at night because that is the basis of the content. But all of the principles that we talk about in this course can be translated to any low-light environment, whether that's in a dark room or early in the morning when there's just not a lot of light left and it's not technically nighttime. The principles that we're talking about today are basically irrelevant in any situation where there's just not a lot of light. With that said guys, it is time to get started, we're going to start things off with talking about gear. I really hope you take the time to enroll and if you do, I'll see you right in the next lesson. Let's get after it. 2. Class Project: This course definitely has a class project. I loved doing class projects. The class project for this course is to just take one image at night and post it here in the group. I would love if you guys would expand on how you capture that image, where you capture the image, maybe tell a little bit of a story behind it. I love reading these. I love seeing the images that you create and I think it's a really good way to incite discussion among the other students and among myself as well. 3. Gear for low-light photography: Hey, guys. Before we really dive into the contents of this course, I really want to take a second to talk about gear. When it comes to shooting at night or in any dark environment, gear starts to play a very important role in the overall outcome of every images. The reason for that is pretty simple. When we're shooting at night, we're really pushing our cameras to the limits. Cameras take photos by recording light and when there's not a lot of light, we have to get a little bit creative and we have to really understand our camera in order to capture enough light to get a good-looking image. Now in the next section of this video, we are really going to dive into some of these subjects like shutter speed, aperture, and ISO, and talk about them in accordance to night photography. But in this lesson, I just want to talk about gear and go over everything and show you guys some of the gear that I use for shooting at night or in low light environments, as well as to recommend you guys some gear or things to look for when you're shopping for gear for night photography. One thing I do want to say is, if you have a smartphone that is totally fine, some of the newer smartphones are absolutely amazing when it comes to capturing the images at night. They have these things called Night modes, and the cameras are so smart. They know how to take amazing images, comparable to a DSLR, comparable to a $3,000 setup. So smart phones, really cool especially in this day and age. But for this course, I'm going to be focusing on the traditional DSLR or mirrorless camera. The first thing you need to consider with gear and night photography is the camera itself, the actual camera body. The most important thing with a camera body for a night photography is having a newer camera or relatively newer camera. The reason for that is because as cameras have gotten newer, sensors have gotten better and better. The sensor is the actual parts of the camera that records the light when it comes into the camera. That is what records all the information that you see. A newer sensor will just be able to record light in a more efficient way resulting in a better looking image. The other consideration you should think about when shooting at night is a full-frame sensor versus a crop sensor. This camera here is a Sony a7III, and this camera is a Sony a6400. They're both great cameras. The biggest difference between the two is that the a7III is a full-frame sensor while this camera is a crop sensor. The difference is just the size of the sensor. The full-frame sensor is about this big and the crop sensor is about this big. Then some cameras will be even smaller than that. Is it going to have a massive impact on your image? Probably not, but it is something to think about. Larger images are just able to record more lights, and thus they just do better in dark environments. It's not always that significant though. I just wanted to raise this because I think it is something to think about. Once you start getting a little bit more advanced and your shooting at night, maybe you're shooting for clientele, having a larger sensor is definitely more beneficial for nighttime photography. By the end of the day, the camera body is mostly irrelevant when we start to talk about lenses. Lenses are going to have the biggest impact on the overall quality of the image, the overall style of your image. They're really going to dictate the overall outcome of how your photo looks. Essentially there's two types of lenses. There are prime lenses and there's zoom lenses. Prime lenses have a fixed focal length, which means they cannot zoom. They're just one focal length, they're locked in, so 35 millimeters, 50 millimeters, 85 millimeters. That's it. They don't move. Then you have zoom lenses. These two here or zoom lenses. This is a 16-35, which means it's very wide. It can go 16 millimeters, which is very wide, and it can go 35 millimeters, which is medium, so it can zoom. This is a 70-200. This can really zoom in far. The main difference between prime lenses and zoom lenses are the maximum aperture. The maximum aperture is what we're really worried about when we start talking about night photography. The maximum aperture of the lens basically tells us how wide that lens can open up so light can get in. The wider the maximum aperture is, the more light can enter the camera, which means you get a better looking image. Prime lenses typically have much faster, maximum apertures, much larger maximum apertures, allowing them to record more light and thus allowing them to be overall better for shooting in dark environments. I have arranged these lenses not based on their focal length, not based on how far or how close they zoom, but rather based on their maximum aperture. This lens here is a 1.4, which is very wide, can really open up wide and allow a lot of lights tends to the camera. This is a 1.8, still very wide. A 1.8 is a very good lens. This is an F2.8. Now we're starting to get to the point where we're not super wide. It's not a very fast lens, but 2.8 is still very good for shooting at nights. This lens here is an F4. F4 is what you're going to find in a lot of your kit lenses, a lot of the lenses that you buy or when you first buy a camera, and honestly it can get the job done. It's not the best for shooting at night, but it's fine and you might have to increase your ISO a little bit, but it's going to work out. I'm also shooting on a 35-millimeter F1.4 on this camera and a 24 millimeter F1.4 on this camera. Those are very wide lenses and they're also very fast, so they're great for shooting at night. When we go out and shoot in Bangkok, I'm going to be using all of these lenses. Probably not the 16-35 and probably not the 55, but I'm definitely going to be using the 85, the 35, the 24, and then maybe even some of the 70, 200, 2.8. Maybe I have too many lenses, but I want you guys to be able to see the difference between not only the zoom and how zooming in can really impact the overall effect of your image, but also having a maximum aperture and how that can really affect the overall look and the overall quality of your image as well. Now if you guys really want to dive into this stuff, I have a photography one-to-one course and I really go in depth about aperture and shutter speed in all of that. While we are going to talk about these things in the next lesson, I do want to say that that course really goes in depth about everything you need to know about this. If you want to learn more about that, check that out. In this course, we're really just focusing on nighttime photography, so we don't really need to go into all of that, but all of that information is there if you want to go check it out. With gear, lenses are going to be the most important consideration. But we've already talked about lenses now. I want to start to talk about some of the other tools that you might use to help you out when you're shooting at night. The first one is absolutely a tripod. If you're shooting at night, I highly recommend getting a tripod. This is a GorillaPod. I'm using both of my tripods right now to feel myself. Unfortunately, I can't show you guys those, but I will show you later when we go out shooting in Bangkok. But this is a tiny tripod and it's great because you can wrap it around things and then your camera is nice and stable. The reason why tripods are so good at night is because when we're shooting at night, there's not a lot of light. Because of that, oftentimes we have to really slow down our shutter speed to make sure that enough light enters the camera. The shutter speed is essentially the speed at which your shutter opens, allows the light to enter the camera and then closes again. That period of time where it opens and then closes is the shutter speeds. Or when we're shooting at night, there's not a lot of light entering the camera, so we have to really slow down our shutter speed. The problem with that is if we go too slow, well, then it's going to be blurry, even if we move our hands just a little tiny bit. Being able to put the camera on a tripod, lock it down so it's not moving at all. We can use any shutter speed that we want to get the shot that we need, and it's not going to be blurry unless things are moving in the frame. But we're going to really get into that while we're out shooting. Also in the next lesson where we're talking about camera settings, just wanted to mention a tripod, it's a really useful piece of gear when shooting at night and you bet we're going to be using it or out shooting in Bangkok. The next item that I highly recommend is a portable LED light like this one from aperture. This little light has saved me so many times and I absolutely love it. Despite its size, it's incredibly bright, and it's amazing when you're shooting at night and you just need a fill light or something like that. When shooting a model and you need to fill in part of their face, you can just hold it up here and then take your photo and it can really make your shot so much better. You can also place it on a shelf or a window or something. It's just such a useful piece of kit and I absolutely love this little light. If you don't want to use one of those, honestly, the lights on smartphones nowadays are absolutely amazing. This is the iPhone 11 Pro Max. This light is so bright and it can really save you when you're out shooting at night, when there's not a lot of light. Even just this little amount of light can really impact your image at night, whether you're holding it up or even if you're having a model, hold it so the light is being reflected into the camera like this. It can be a creative thing, and honestly it's just really cool to have a bright light like this in your pocket at all times. Don't look past your smartphone flashlight. They're really cool and they can definitely be useful for you when you're shooting at night. A few other tools that you might think about when you're shooting at night are things like a prism or a CD. Prisms are really cool. I don't have one on me because I left it in America unfortunately. But prisms basically take in all the light in the setting and then refracted out. I don't know the correct terminology. All I know is that it looks really cool. Using something like a prism or a CD and positioning it in front of your camera can lead to a really cool look into images with a lot of different reflections, a lot of different color. Just something to think about and something that you might want to experiment with when you're out shooting at night. But in terms of gear, those are the most important considerations. Really, the most important thing is your lenses that you're going to be using that's going to have the biggest impact on images. Of course, the camera as well. Then if you do want to use other tools where you have those at your disposal as well like that little aperture light that I like to use, those are all really helpful. I often get people asking me about flash. Should you use flash? You can use flash. But flash is something that I'm not too verstehen, is not something that I particularly use unless I have to. I don't think you need a flash to take really cool photos at night. There's a lot of ambient light and you just got to find it. That's why I have a less than what we're talking about, how to find good light when you're out shooting on the street. But with that said, guys, now that we've talked about gear, let's move on to the next section and talk about camera settings, in which camera settings you should use to get good photos at night. 4. Camera Settings: When we're shooting at night, selecting the proper camera settings can start to become very important. When you're shooting in the day, if you use incorrect settings, it might not make that big of a difference. But when you're shooting at night and you're really pushing the capabilities of your camera, it can make a big difference in the outcome of your image. It's definitely important to understand which camera setting you should be using when you're shooting in dark environments. Now once again, if you guys have seen my photography essentials course, you will know everything about this. I go super in-depth about shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. I break down everything you need to know. But in this course, I just want to go over three basic steps that you can follow to getting the proper camera settings. If you follow these three steps, you will always have the best camera settings for every scene. In short, we're adjusting our camera settings, we're basically telling the camera how much light we want to enter the camera, and we call that exposure. Exposure is dependent upon three things. All of these things are different settings on the camera that we can adjust. Those are shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. Because we're shooting in a dark environment, balancing these three things, shutter speed, aperture, and ISO becomes very important. The reason for that is because not only do these three settings affect the exposure of very image, how bright or how darker image is, but they also have their own unique effect that can either positively affect your photo, or negatively affect your photo. If you follow these three steps which I'm about to get into, you can be sure that you are going to be utilizing your camera's capabilities to its maximum potential in capturing the best images that you can. Now of course, you can only adjust all three of these settings if we're shooting in full manual mode. So M mode on your camera, I recommend shooting in manual mode if you're shooting at night, but if you're just not comfortable with it, and even after this lesson, it's just not something that you want to do. That's totally okay. You can shoot and shutter priority or aperture priority, which means that you select the shutter speed and the camera selects everything else. Or you select the aperture and the camera selects everything else. You can go ahead and do that. But for this lesson, we're going to be focusing on full manual mode because we want to be able to adjust all three settings. Step One is to set your shutter speed. The shutter speed is essentially the speed at which the camera opens up and closes again. Now, having a fast shutter speed is great because it allows us to slow motion. But the downside of that is it's open for such a short period of time that not a lot of light is entering the camera. Often when we're shooting at night, we want to slow down the shutter speed to ensure that enough light gets into the camera. I always recommend setting your shutter speed to 1/150th of a second. If you want to go slower than that, you can, but you might get camera's shaking your photo, so you're going to want to use a tripod. If you go higher than 1/150th of a second, well then you might not be getting enough light entering the camera and that's going to cause your ISO to go up. Step 1, set your shutter speed to about 1/150th of a second because this is going to give you the best look. Step number 2, is to open up your aperture as wide as possible. If you're shooting with a prime lens, that's maybe F1.4 or even F1.2, you're going to be able to capture scenes and a lot of different scenarios. Those lenses are so wide they allow a lot of light to enter to the camera, so you can capture shots in pretty dark environments. If you're shooting on a kit lens, maybe the maximum aperture of your lens is F4 that's okay. Set your camera to F4. That's going to give you the best results in a low light environment. Now one caveat to aperture is it really affects the overall depth of field in your image. If you're shooting at F1.4, you're going to have a really shallow depth of field, which means your subject is going to be in focus and everything behind them is going to be out of focus. Sometimes we want that, sometimes that looks really cool. I often like to have my images look like that. But sometimes we don't want that. Sometimes we want to show more of the environment. We need to do what we call stopping down, which means closing our aperture a little bit smaller to make sure we have more uniform focus throughout our image. Issue with that is there's less light. Oftentimes when I'm shooting at night, I just keep my aperture wide open it and I don't worry about trying to get uniform focus there on my image. I'm just trying to focus on having a high-quality image. I like to have a shallow depth of field. It looks cool to me. After you've done step number 1, where you set your shutter speed and then you've completed step number 2, you've set your aperture. Now it's time to move on to step number 3, which is to adjust your ISO. In short, ISO is essentially the sensitivity of your sensor. The higher the ISO number is, the more sensitive your sensor is, which results in more unstable sensor. Having a lower ISO is going to result in a better overall quality image, but it's not going to record as much light as a higher ISO. If you're shooting at 1 /150th of a second and you have your aperture wide open on a prime lens F1.4, you're probably not going to have to raise your ISO too much. You can maybe even shoot at ISO 100. But if you have a slower lens and maybe you're really wanting to capture some movement and you're shooting in a fast shutter speed, you might need to bring the ISO up to 800, 1,000, 2,000, and if you really need to get the shot, maybe you're going all the way up to 10,000. At the end of the day, the most important thing is to get the shot. Don't take a shot because your ISO is too high. Take the shot you can always edit it later. Just know that typically the higher your ISO is, the less image quality your photo is going to have. It's going to have digital noise in your image and that just doesn't look very good, and it's also a little bit difficult to edit. But going back to gear, if you have a newer camera, a newer camera is going to be able to handle higher ISOs much better than an older camera. When it comes to the camera settings and shooting at night, these are really the three steps that you need to follow to ensure that you're getting good images and you're really utilizing your camera in the proper way. Of course, none of these rules are solid rules and they're always meant to be broken. I always urge people to really experiment with their cameras, try different things, shoot at 10,000 ISO, see what that looks like, and just try different things. Because at the end of the day, it's up to you to go out and experiment and you're going to learn so much better if you go out there and make mistakes yourself. I just wanted to cover this lesson because camera settings are definitely very important when shooting at night. But now let's move on and talk about some of the preparations you can make before you go out and shoot to make sure that you guys have a successful shoot at night. 5. Preparing for shoot: Like any shoot, you should be prepared before you go out and shoot. To an extent you don't want to over prepare because then you might be getting in the way of creativity. But I think you should be at least somewhat prepared and have somewhat of an idea of your shoot before you go out and shoot. My first tip is just to have an idea of the shots that you want to capture. Whether you're shooting a portrait, or a landscape, or a street portrait, whatever that is, have some an idea of the shots that you want to get. In this course, I'm going to be focusing on capturing three different shots. Those three are a portrait session with a model, a shot with movement and light trails. Actually moving our camera and using a slower shutter speed to get a lot of blurring our image to give it a really cool look. Then in the last shot is locking down the tripod and getting really cool light trails and our image from cars that are just driving by. These are three of the images that I just have in my mind that I want to capture when we were out in Bangkok. That's how I prepared for the shoot, is just to have an idea of the shots that I want to get. One thing I want to say though, is I don't like to over prepare. Yes, I have an idea of the shots that I want to get, but you never know where you're going to come across when you're out shooting and if you over prepare, then you're going to be missing things that might be really cool, that might lead to some really cool shots that you just weren't expecting. Have an open mind and just shoot whatever you want to shoot, but also just have an idea of some shots that you want to get beforehand. Now the second tip I have is to make sure you find a good location. This is something you really should pre-plan to some extent, because when you're shooting at night, you're 100 percent limited to ambient light. If you're in an area with no ambient light whatsoever, well, you're probably not going to be able to take any photos. At the end of the day, we need some light in order to take images. If you're in an area that has a lot of different light, maybe its from shop or from street lights, or even just car lights, that really is enough for you to take good photos. But if you're in an area with none of that, it going to be hard for you to take photos at night. One of the things I do when preparing for a shoot, especially in a place that I'm unfamiliar with, I use Instagram. With Bangkok, for example, I'm not very familiar with Bangkok. I don't really know exactly where to go to capture these night images. What I did was I went onto Instagram and I typed in discover Bangkok. I'll use this with any city I go to whether it's discover San Francisco, or discover Vietnam, or discovery England. This hashtag is great because it shows you a lot of different photographers posting travel photos from that area. You can see here when I've searched discover Bangkok, we already have some pretty cool images of people taking photos at night. Sometimes they're going to tag the exact location, or sometimes they won't and you might have to message them, but that's okay. It's just a great place to start and it's also a great place to find inspiration. If you don't have an idea of the shots that you want to get, this is a good place to get inspiration. Then you can also browse other hashtags related to this one. Maybe I'm just searching hashtag Bangkok or hashtag Bangkok at night, or hashtag Bangkok after dark. I mean, there's so many different hashtags that you can use to find cool images. Then you can also just message these people and it's a great way to find people to shoot with as well. That's definitely where my recommendations is to use Instagram to not only find good locations, but find inspiration for your shots. That's one of the ways I prepare for almost all of my shoots when I'm shooting landscapes in the middle of the day, or I'm shooting portraits in the middle of the night. It's just a great, great resource. But those are really the most important things to think about before you shoot on. But before we actually go out and shoot in this next lesson, I do want to take a second to talk about light, because as photographers obviously we need to have good light and finding good light at night can be difficult, but it can also lead to some really cool shots. In this next section we're going to talk about lighting, and then after that we're going to go out and hit the streets of Bangkok, and take some cool photos. 6. Ambient Light: As much as we love natural light, obviously there's no natural light during the day because the sun is down. I guess technically there might be a little bit if it's a full moon and the light is reflecting off the moon. But for the most part, when we're shooting at night we're totally limited to ambient light. Ambient light is essentially just the light that is available to you in any given situation. The light that's around you, the light that you find when you're on location. Ambient light often gets a bad rep. But ambient light can also be super cool, especially if you're shooting in a city. Often times ambient light is awesome. There's all these different colors, lots of different types of lights and they can really give your images a cool look. But there are some considerations you should make when you're going out to shoot at night, especially if you're shooting something like a portrait or a street scene and you want to get a specific type of light. In this lesson, we're basically going to talk about how you can identify good light or nice light versus bad light. We're looking at the quality of an ambient light source. There's really two things you should think about; the color and the frequency. The color is the overall color of the light. Is it really orange? Isn't really blue? That really has a big effect on your image. You can always adjust it with your color balance in your camera. But if you have a really blue light and a really orange light, it's going to be a little bit hard to balance those two out. When you're editing or in your camera with the white balance feature and the next thing is frequency. Frequency is basically how much that light is flickering. Cameras can see much faster than the human eye. If you're shooting at a fast shutter speed, well, then you're going to actually see the lights flickering in your camera. This is an example of bad light in terms of frequency. You can see they're flashing. I mean you have to get lucky and hope that when you take your image, you're catching it on when the actual light is flashing. That's not always the case. Having a light like an LED, which has a much faster beat rate, you can speed your shutter speed up very fast and still capture that light. The next consideration you should think about is the strength of the light source. Do you want a really bright light or do you want a softer light. If you're shooting a model, do you want high contrast or do you want low contrast? A really strong light is going to make your image much higher contrast. Something like the headlights of a car. That would be a very strong light. Utilizing that new image can give you a lot of contrasts that can make your image intense. It can make an image bold. While if you're using a softer light source, something that's maybe diffused, something that's softer your image is going to be lower in contrast. It's going to be more gentle, it's going to be softer. The strength of the light source is definitely something to think about. Lastly, the direction of the light source. This is important for many different types of photography. I think this is one of the things that really sets really good photographers apart from just decent photographers. Understanding how the direction of the light is going to affect your image is very important. One of the things I like to do when I'm shooting is I like to light my subjects either from behind or from the side. The reason why I like to light them from the side or from behind instead of straight on, is because it allows our photo to look much more 3D. We need to make our photos look 3D because photos are a 2D object. They're not 3D, so by utilizing the direction of light, we can really give our photos a lot more depth and a lot more interests. When I'm out shooting, you're going to see me position my model with lights behind her and light to the side of her because I think that gives my images the best look. With that said, if you're shooting a model and you want to make sure that their whole face is lit so you can see everything, there is nothing wrong with shooting them with light from the front. I just think shooting with light from the side or from behind can really add a lot of depth, a lot of interest to your scene. That's definitely something to think about when you're out shooting. But those are really the main considerations I want you guys to think about when you're shooting; the quality of the light source, the strength of the light source and the direction of the light source. These are things that I really talk about heavily in my photography essentials course and there are definitely worth noting here as well because when we go out and shoot, I want you guys to really pay attention to the light that I'm using. The light that's in the area and then also how that light affects the overall image after we've taken the photo. But enough talking guys, we've been in here for way too long. It's time to wait for the sun to set, go outside and capture some really cool photos. I'm super excited to take you guys on the streets of Bangkok. I love Bangkok. There's so much going on, so let's go ahead out there, take some cool photos and see what we can come up with. 7. Shooting in Chinatown: Hey guys, what's up, and welcome to Bangkok, Thailand. We're here in China Town and we've just found a gap where there's not a bunch of cars driving by and a lot of loud sounds, so we're going to shoot this real quick. There's so much happening here right now. Today is Father's Day in Thailand, and it's a national holiday. Everybody comes to China Town on holidays to get their street food eats on. China Town is known for having absolutely amazing street food. Everyone's out here tonight and it's really busy. After we're done shooting, we're definitely going to go join the crowds and get some food. But right now we're focused 100 percent and taking really cool night images. As I stated earlier in this course, we're going to be getting three different shots while we're out here tonight. The first one is a portrait shoot with a model, her name is Boom, and then we're going to get creative with our shutter speed and get some really cool moving shots of tuk-tuks or motorbikes that are driving by really fast. Then for the third shot, we're going to put our camera on a tripod and do some really cool long exposure shots. All of the shots we're going to be going over tonight I'm going to be putting all of the camera setting information so you guys can know exactly what camera settings I use for each shot and for all the photos that I take I'm going to walk you guys through why I'm choosing the shutter speed, the aperture, and the ISO that I'm choosing for each shot. Without further ado guys, let's get shooting. We've walked around in this area for a little bit and we selected this spot as our first spot to shoot, Boom, our model. I'm going to be shooting with two lenses during the shoot. That first one is a 35-millimeter f/1.4, and this lens is fantastic for shooting at night because it has a very wide maximum aperture of f/1.4. For this first shot, where be shooting Boom here with a 35-millimeter, I'm going to position her in the street. Hopefully, she doesn't get hit by a car we'll be careful so she doesn't. Then I'm going to have all of these lights behind her in the shot. Let's set this up and try to get some cool images. Just to reiterate, while I'm shooting and I'm selecting my camera settings. I'm going through a progression. I'm first selecting my shutter speed, then my aperture, and then my ISO for this shot, since we're handheld, I'm going to set my shutter speed to 1/160, and that's going to allow me to hand hold the camera and not get any blur in the backgrounds. Step two is to set my aperture and I'm going to set that to 1.4 because that's the maximum aperture of this lens. It's going to let in the most light, and it's also going to look the coolest, and last I'm going to set my ISO and we have enough light out here that I only have to some ISO to 400. Now if you're shooting at it with a lens of F4, you might have to bump that up a little bit more and that's totally okay but for this shot, 1/160 of a second f/1.4, ISO 400. Boom just stand there and looked at me. Wow, that's amazing. There's a lot of people in the background, but it doesn't bother me too much. Look at me, Boom. Look up again a little bit. Nice. Now I'm going to do a scenario here. I'm going to set my aperture to F4 because I recognize that a lot of people aren't going to have a camera or a lens that can open up to f/1.4. I'm going to set my aperture to F4, and now the image is going to be a little bit dark. I can't lower my shutter speed because it's already at 1/160th of a second, and if I go any lower, the images is going to be really blurry. So what do I have to do? I have to increase my ISO, and I'm going to increase my ISO all the way up to 30-4,000 here, and that's pretty high, but this camera can handle it, so let's try that out. Something to note also is now that we're shooting at four instead of 1.4 is the background is going to be more in focus. We're closing down the aperture and getting more focused throughout the scene. I'm going to move back down to f/1.4 because I think the images just look a lot better. Typically, the lower your ISO, the better your image is going to look. I think that's enough with the 35-millimeter let's slap on the 85 millimeter and see what we can do with that. That's going to lead to some really cool images. I've put on the 85 millimeter f/1.4, now, for the most part, our camera settings aren't going to change too much because the aperture is the same. The amount of light reaching our sensor is exactly the same. But what's changing now is the focal length, and with an 85 millimeter, it's really going to compress our scene a lot more, and it's going to make the background really out of focus, really blurry, and have a lot of [inaudible]. We're still dodging cars and motorbikes out here, but we're going to position Boom, just off the side of the road here, and I'm going to try to get some of these lights once again in the background, and the scene's going to look a lot cooler because like I said before, it's going to be a little bit more compressed. In terms of lighting, we actually have these massive LED panels on the side of the road, which are really lighting up everything, and for this model shoot, it's actually hitting Boom perfectly and really lighting her face and her body really well. That's something to think about when you're shooting a portrait, identifying good light becomes very important, and we're really lucky with having a lot of good lights on here. We're going to use this light here and we're going to shoot, Boom, try to get the stuff in the background. Good, go ahead and look at me. Cool. Look up at the light to your left the other one up here. Yeah. Perfect. Go ahead and just stare at that light for a little bit. We've taken our portraits, but now it's time to get a little bit creative with our shutter speed. I put the 35-millimeter lens back on and I've set my shutter speed to around 120th of a second. The reason I'm doing that is because I want to have motion blur in my image. For this image, I'm going to be finding a tuk-tuk or a motorbike that's driving by, and I'm going to follow it and just take as many photos as I can. The whole idea of that is because you're following the movement. The thing that you're following is going to be in focus, and then the entire background will be a little bit blurred. It makes it look like your subject is going a lot faster than they actually are, and using a shutter speed of 130th or 120th of a second will give us that really cool motion blur. I position myself in front of this red background here, and I'm just waiting for these tuk-tuk or motorbikes to drive by and then I'm just following them. Check this out once again to go over my settings once more, 130th of a second, f/1.4 and I'm shooting at ISO 100, and I can do that because our shutter speed is so low, a lot of light is hitting the sensor and then partner with an aperture of f/1.4, we have all the light we could want. I don't know if you guys can hear it, but I'm just taking a lot of photos here. Last night I was in China Town and I was shooting in a different area with a gate in the background, and it was so cool. I'll show you guys some of those images. But unfortunately, it was close tonight because they're doing some ceremony there for Father's Day, so I couldn't go there and shoot tonight. We're just making do with what we have. I think it still looks pretty cool. I think we're still getting some good shots, and even if the photos aren't amazing, I think they're really good examples for the concepts that I've been discussing in this course. Shutter speed, aperture, and ISO, and how to balance all those three in a setting that doesn't have a lot of light. Okay, guys, we've gotten some pretty cool photos here, but now I want to show you guys how would utilize a tripod in a dark environment, and utilizing a tripod will allow us to really drop our shutter speed and get some really cool looks that are not only really high-quality, but also have some really cool effects as well. We're going to go set up our tripod and get some cool long exposures. Let's go do that now. For this third lesson here, I want to discuss why you should use a tripod when you're shooting at night and why it's so beneficial. As we talked about earlier with camera settings, you're always going to be setting your shutter speed first. That's going to be dictating how sharp your photo is or how much movement you are going to have and if you're shooting handheld, Well, you can't really go below 150th per second if you want everything to be sharp. When we introduce a tripod into our scene, it allows us to basically locked on our camera and not have any movements. Then we can use a really slow shutter speed and still get everything in sharp focus, and what's also cool about that is we can close down our aperture. It's really small, and having a small aperture will give us a really deep depth of field, which means that everything is going to be in focus. Another cool effect of using a slow shutter speed is you get light trails. Today we're going to be shooting with a shutter speed of about 10 seconds, that means the shutter is going to be open for a period of 10 seconds. Whenever a car drives by or somebody walks by, there's going to be a blurry light motion, which looks really cool. For this scene, I'm shooting with a, with 24-millimeter lens. It's a very sharp lens. The only problem with this lens is it only goes to F16, and that's pretty small, but a lot of other lenses got to F22, and why that's good is because well in this situation, I wanted to shoot with a shutter speed of 30 seconds but unfortunately I can't do that because if I shoot with a shutter speed of 30 seconds, There's going to be too much light entering my camera, even if I stopped down all the way to F16, and I use 100 ISO. You can use what's called ND filter in a situation like this. ND filter is basically going to scroll down to the front of your camera, on the front of your lens, and it's going to block incoming lights. Why that's good is because it will allow you to use a much slower shutter speed, which will allow you to get really cool light trails in your photos. Unfortunately, I don't have a ND filter today, but I do have a circular polarizing filter which blocks a little bit of light. It's not very dark though, so it's really not going to do that much, but it will allow me to slow my shutter speed down just a little bit so I can get a little bit more light trails. One of the things I recommend, when you're shooting a long exposure shot like this, is to do a self-timer for the drive mode. That means instead of pressing the camera and the image taking right away, you press it and then it will take two seconds later, and why you want to do that is because when you press the camera or the camera actually moves a little bit and that's going to make your shot blurry. I've said that drive to two seconds. Once I press it up two seconds and then the photo will take. I got the focus locked in. Let's do it. Now the camera is taking an image and it's going to take 20 seconds to take that image. Every time a car drives by or motorbike drives by, it's going to leave those really cool light streaks in the image which is the effect that we want today, and when there's a lot of traffic we can get some really cool effects. That looks really cool. I am just going to reframe and little bit here. Another effect of shooting at a really small aperture is the lights turn into like stars. Because the aperture blades will actually shape the lights in your image and they look really cool. You can see that in the image here. That's a really cool one. I'm pretty happy with that. Okay, guys, I think we've got the shots that we need. We did the portrait session. We did the really cool shutter speed effects when we were following the tuk-tuks, following the motorbikes and getting some really cool motion blur in the images, and then we locked everything down and took some shots with the tripod during a long exposure, and I hope you guys learned something here in this lesson. But now that we've got these shots it's time to head back to the studio where I'm going to show you guys how to edit these photos from start to finish. Let's go do that now. 8. Editing: Hey guys, what's up and welcome back to the studio. I'm here with my computer and I'm ready to edit some of the photos that were shot in downtown Bangkok. I hope you guys enjoyed that. It was pretty crazy out there, but overall, it was a pretty fun experience shooting in downtown Bangkok. But now we're going to edit these photos. So I've gone through all the photos, and I've selected four photos that I want to show you guys how I would edit, and I'm going to be doing all my editing in Adobe Lightroom. Adobe Lightroom is the editing software that I've used forever, it's the one that I'm most comfortable with, I think it's also the most capable. But with that said, many of the editing principles I'm going to be covering today are translatable to any editing software that you use to edit your photos. Starting things off with this portrait here with boom, I absolutely loved this image, and just to recap, this was shot at 35 millimeters 1, 1, 6th interval second, F1.4, ISO 400, you guys already know that. So with every edit that I do, I like to follow three different steps. First, I go ahead and edit the basic adjustments, so I really focusing on the lighting, the exposure, the tones, the overall softness, if I want a high-contrast, low contrasts, etc. Then I'll move on and edit the colors. So I'll really tune in the colors, get them where I want them to be, then lastly, I'll go in and edit the detail. So remove any noise, or maybe clean up the skin, and then I'll also go through and add some selective adjustments. So those are the three steps that I follow, and I'm going to be following that with all of these edits here today. One thing I do want to mention, I'm not going to cover in this course, but I actually do use presets on most of my edits that you see on my website, or on my Instagram, and most of them now are edited with my wanderlust travel preset pack. So you can see what these will do here. I'm not going to be focusing on the presets in this course, because I want to show you guys how to do it from scratch. But presets are a really great tool if you guys are looking to speed up your workflow, and I'll get a very specific look.So I just did want to mention that. But now that we've got all that out of the way, let's jump into actually editing these photos. So first things first, with the basic adjustments here, I'm going to go through and crop the image. I'm going to crop this man out and then drag it back down. This is a really cool image by the way, I really like how this one came out, the pose, the background, the composition, everything looks really, really cool. So after I've cropped up, I'm going to move down here into the basic adjustments, and first things first, we got to make sure our light balance is on point. So obviously there's a lot of different colored lights going on around here. So we can't get the light balance perfect in every part of the image. My main priority here is getting the light balance to look good on our model skin, and it looks a little bit orange, a little bit yellow to me. So I'm just going to drag this to the left, to the blue, to even it out, and I think that looks pretty good, that looks pretty normal. After that, we can move down to our exposure or contrast. I think our exposure is spot on, I think it looks great. Contrast, sometimes I like to drag it down a little bit, maybe minus 10, and then moving down into the highlights, I always like to draw my highlights by maybe 20, 25, and then I do the same with the shadows. I increase those a little bit. That's just going to increase our dynamic range a little bit. Next, I'll move on to the whites and I'll go up, and then I'll go down with the blacks a tiny bit to increase our contrast. After that, moving down into the presence, I always like to drop my clarity by about minus 15. I find that with the Sony's, these new cameras, everything is so sharp and so contrasting, and I'd like to just tone things down little bit, and make them a little bit softer and a little bit easier to digest. So we'll go down by maybe minus 20. I also like to reduce the vibrance after we adjust the tones and everything, and actually increases the overall vibrance and saturation of the image. So I'd like to just drag that down before we get into editing the color. So now that we've added that our basic adjustments, it's time to move down into the tone curve, and the tone curve is going to really dictate the overall tone of your image, it's going to make it high-contrast, low contrast, you can introduce fade, and in this image I want to make it a little bit faded. So I'm going to do a basic S-curve here, it's called an S-curve because it looks like a little S, and I'm going to drag this corner up, and that just going to really soften out the tones of the image. You guys can see what that's doing there. As I'm editing the tone curve, I like to hop back up to the basic adjustments because they both really affect each other. So I like to move back and forth, and just play around and find the tones that I like, and I think that looks pretty nice. That's really nice, it's not too soft, but it's a little bit soft, and it looks pretty good. So after we've adjusted the tones, basic adjustments tones, now it's time to move on to the colors. There's a few different ways to edit color in Adobe Lightroom. Personally, I like to always start with the HSL color sliders here. Hue is referring to the actual color, are your reds more orange, are your reds more pink, and then same thing with all these other colors, you can adjust the values. Saturation is referring to the pureness of the color. So is the reds really pure or not pure at all, essentially, the boldness of each color, and then luminance is essentially the brightness of each color, and by color messing around with these, you can create some really cool colors in Adobe Lightroom and really get your images where you want them to be. So for the most part, I like these colors, but I do like to experiment with each slider, and just figure out what looks the best. One thing I do want to note you should be careful of, is the red, orange, and yellow sliders can really affect the skin tones here. So you can play around with them and actually I think dragging the orange and a little bit to the red, making it a little bit more yellow, looks more natural, so I'm going to leave that there, and then I'm also going to go down to the blue and make it more green, kind of a vintage you look, I think that looks pretty cool. I always recommend just really playing around with these, you can come up with some really cool color combinations. But for the most part, I'm pretty happy with these colors. Moving on to the saturation, I do find certain colors over saturated here. Number one is the blue. So I'm going to bring down the saturation of the blue, and I'm also going to bring down the saturation of the orange a little bit just to bring her skin tones back to a normal level. I think that looks pretty good. After saturation, you might move into luminance, and sometimes I like to brighten up the face, the skin by increasing the luminance of the orange or the yellow. In this case, orange is really going to affect your skin. So moved that up a little bit, it brighten up her face a little bit. I don't want to go too much, make it look unnatural, but that's at a point that I really like it. Now that we've edited with the HSL sliders, we can move on to the split toning, and split toning can really introduce some really awesome, and interesting color depth into your photos. One of the things I like to do when experimenting with the split toning is I hold Alt on my keyboard, and I drag this around, and what this is going to do is show you 100 percent saturation of the colors in your image, because I'm hovering over a yellow right here showing me what 100 percent saturation of yellow or orange in the shadows will look like. Then once I release that, I'll find the color that I want, that I can slowly drag that up, and you can see what that does to our image. That's so much interesting, colored up. So I'm going to just leave it at around three, and then you can also do the same with the highlights, maybe you want to add the complimentary color. So in this case that would be blue because we've already added orange, you can play around with that. So maybe just a little tiny bit. I think that looks pretty, pretty cool. For the most part, our image looks really good. There's the before, and there's the after, it's moody, it's interesting, the colors look nice. But I do want to change one thing, when we adjusted the white balance here in the beginning, it made everything really blue, and now that we've moved on to the third step of editing, now we're editing detail and selective edits, we can add a brush, make it bigger, and increase the warmth of that brush. Maybe also decrease the exposure, and just draw over this whole area on the outside. That's just going to change the white balance, and make it darker to pull the focus back in on bloom here. So there's the before, there's the after, and that's a pretty cool edit. I like that edit. If you did want to, you can go in and smooth the skin. You add another selective adjustment here, soft and skin, and then you can just draw over her skin. She has very nice skin so we don't need to do too much. Sometimes I don't edit skin, it's totally your discretion. Just smooth it out a little bit and there you go, that's a pretty cool edit. Now what I'm going to do is, go ahead and copy that edit by selecting "Command C", and that's going to bring up this copy settings. You can also right-click your photo, select "Develop Settings", "Copy Settings" and then you can select which parts you want. I'm going to turn off local adjustments. I'm going to turn off the crop, and then I'm also going to turn off the split turning. Once I copy that, I can move over to our next image, which is a very similar image, but this one was shot up 4000 ISO. I wanted to put this in here because I wanted to show you how I would edit the noise, then we could just come back to this image and hit Command V, and it'll paste that Edit over, and then we can go back and do the same thing that we did with the last photo, where we painted it and made it a little bit darker and a little bit warmer, also that looks good. Since our cameras things are the same, everything looks really great, the edit looks really great. I'm going to omit the split turning on this one because I think it looks good as it is. I don't think we need to add extra colors, but then I'm going to move down here into the detail, and this is going to be where we're going to adjust the overall noise of this. This was shot out 4000 ISO, so if you zoom in, you can see all the little grains here. I'd like to focus in on a dark area, so this area here, and then I'll come down to detail and I'll drag illuminance up to maybe 30. You can see how it just smooths things out. So there's the before, there's the after, before, after. I really do think that looks so much better. Now you do have to be a little bit careful with this because, what it's essentially doing is blurring your photo. Going up too much will really make your photo way too blurry and just crazy looking, like you can see what 100 will do. I think it's good to hover around 20 to 30. It doesn't matter if you have grain in your image, honestly, this image looks great even as it is. If you do want to get rid of some of that noise, this is how you would do it in Lightroom, and you can play around with these settings, but for this image, I think it looks really, really awesome. We will go into the next image. This was actually shot the night before I shot the course while I was out scouting, and I just really like this image and I wanted to edit this one. This was shot to ISO 50, 24 millimeters, 1.4 at 120th of a second. So we've got a lot of interesting movement. It looks really cool. For the most part, it already looks awesome. What I'm going to do is go back to the first image and copy the settings again because I really like that edit, and then I'm going to paste that here. After I paste the settings, I can see that it looks a little bit blue. I'm going to up here and just drag the white balance far to the right. I think this photo stylistically could look really cool, being a little bit warmer. There's the before, the after, and then with every photo, whether you're applying a saved edit like from this first image that we did, and we'll basically copy that and paste it in here, or if you're applying a preset, you should always come back to the basic adjustments and fine tune them a little bit. In this one I think we can make the whites pop a little bit more. I'm going to do that, and then I'm also going to move down here and just mess with the colors a little bit and make sure they look good. Maybe desaturate the blues, and then once again, if you guys want to add some split toning, you totally can. One of the cool things about these images, is they already look so crazy, you can really experiment with the colors here. You can experiment with putting pink or purple in the shadows, and maybe you want to put yellow in the highlights, or green in the shadows or you can really experiment and come up with some really interesting looks. I'd totally urge you to do that with the split toning. Split toning is a really awesome feature and it can add, like I said before, so much color depth and so much color interest into your photos, but for the most part, I really like where this images are, I think it looks good. It's pretty simple edit, we basically just copied over the basic adjustments from the first edit, and then mess with the white balance and that's pretty much it. Moving on to the last image here, this was shot with the tripod 24 millimeters, F16, 22nd exposure, ISO 50. First thing I'm going to do is I'm going to straighten the photo. I'm going to hit "R", and that's going to bring up our crop panel and I'm going to straighten it out. Also going to bring it in a little bit, make sure it's nice and straight. Awesome, then I'm going to go through our basic adjustments. White balance, I think it looks pretty good, you can mess around for a little bit, maybe make a little bit warmer. Move the highlights down, and that's going to really pull out some detail on the front here, and then bring these shadows up. Pull out detail up here. Increase the contrast by bringing up the whites, I'm going to down the blacks. This is really starting to pop. This lens is crazy good. It's really sharp, it has really high contrast, you can totally see it in the photo here. With the clarity, I'm going to move it down, maybe minus seven, and then everything else, I think it looks really good. Maybe we move the vibrance down by same thing, minus 11 just to tone it down a little bit. When you're increasing the contrast, oftentimes the saturation is going to go up, so I'm moving down the vibrance, or tone things down a little bit. Moving onto the tone curve here, I honestly really like the tones, but I'm going to do a mini S curve, just because I do like a little bit of softness in the shadows. We'll do right there, awesome, and then moving down onto the hue, saturation luminance, same thing. Go ahead and just play around with the colors. I'm going to move the reds, make them a little bit orange, move the oranges over to the reds. I think the blues look cool being more purple in this one, and that is basically what I would do for the colors. In this situation, I'm not going to add split toning, but once again, you totally can. After I've done that, I'm going to move on to the third step, which is the detail on the selective adjustments. We have no grain in this photo because it was short at ISO 50. So even in the dark areas, no grain, nice and clear, nice and sharp, but I do want to add some selective adjustments. Now, I'm going to add a graduated filter over the bottom here, drag that up, and then I'm going to basically reduce the highlights, and make it a little bit warmer. Really make that part warmer, bring out the reds and the oranges, and the yellows, and just really pull out that color, and then I'm also going to maybe increase the contrast a little bit. I really loved these graduated filters, I mean they can really do so much for your image. Maybe it's a little bit too warm, so I'll go down right about there. I think that looks pretty good. Maybe just fine tune everything with the basic adjustments once more. I think that looks pretty cool, and that's about it. That's how I would edit this last photo here. There's the before, a little bit bright, little bit crazy, and there's the after. So everything is really high contrast, we have really popping colors. The light trails on the bottom here, they look really cool. I think it's just the right amount. It'd be cool if there was more but I think it looks good, and I also like these specks of light penetrating the bottom here. I think this image is a really cool image, but overall, that's how I would edit these photos. When it comes to editing, there's so many different ways to edit and I just wanted to show you guys how I would do it. Maybe to inspire you, maybe just to show you how some of the functions work, but at the end of the day, editing is totally subjective. If you want to go in and play around with the colors and come up with some really cool colors, you totally can. The cool thing about shooting at night, is we're shooting in ambient light. An ambient light, especially in a city you can have a lot of really interesting colors, and it can just look really cool. So we can get really experimental with these edits, and try experimenting with a lot of different colors, making them really colorful. You can go with this, the steampunk look, the orange and teal look. I mean, there are so many different ways to edit these images, and I just wanted to show you guys how I would do it, but I do hope that was helpful and I'm excited to see how you guys are going to edit your photos for the class project. 9. Next steps: All right, guys. We've made it to the end of the course. I just want to say thank you so much for sticking around. We've covered a lot of different material in this course, and I hope that you found it useful in some way, and at its core, I hope that this course really helps you gain the competence that you need when you go out and shoot at night. I think that's where it all comes down to. Shooting at night really, is just creating a balance between all every different camera settings and feeling comfortable with pushing your camera to the limit. I hope this course gave you that knowledge. If you guys did like the course, I would love it if you'd like to review. The reviews are really helpful for me to review, so I know how I'm growing as a teacher and they're also really helpful for other students who are considering joining the course, and maybe they're not sure where the content is about. Please I urge you to leave a review if you get the chance. I'd also love to see your student projects. Just leave a photo in there. Those are awesome to check out. If you guys did enjoy the course, I'd like to highlight some of my other ones that you might like. My Photography Essentials Course is probably the best course I've ever created. That covers pretty much all the basics of photography in just 90 minutes. I pack in everything you need to know without overwhelming you with information. That's a really great course to check out. Another course is my Adobe Lightroom, how to find your unique editing style. That's a great course as well. You can check that out. The last one is for you, iPhone editors. For those of you that like to edit on your iPhone or your Samsung phone or whatever that phone is, this is a great course and I'll walk you through everything you need to know about editing on your phone. But that's all I got for you guys today and thank you so much for sticking around to the end. Like I said before, I hope you found it useful and I'm excited to see you in more courses in the future. Thanks again, guys, and I'll see you very soon. Have a great day.