16 Hour Photography Project – How it helps

We all love to photograph. Most of the amateur photographers start with grabbing the camera and clicking random subjects. Which is fine, but then there is the next level to it. Photographing randomly without any direction doesn’t help you become a better photographer because you remain in your comfort zone and click what comes to you. To take photography to the next level, one must start with photography projects. That gives a proper direction to photography.

A project can be anything, shooting one subject from different angles, shooting a specific color, only portraits etc. Basically, a theme to stick to. That helps in brainstorming and eventually, your photography will improve.
So I assigned myself a project: 16 Hour Photography Project. The aim was simple, to go out and click continuously for 16 hours, a whole day, early morning till late night.

The 16 Hour Photography Project

The plan was simple, to get up and leave home at 6 AM and come back at night, decided my itinerary for photography in Delhi. I was already ready with my plan for the next day which included:

  1. Chandni Chowk for street photography in early morning
  2. Red Fort
  3. Back to Chandni chowk for street photography & breakfast
  4. Humayun Tomb
  5. Hauz Khas Village
  6. Delhi hat in evening

Gear I carried was a Nikon D750 with lens Nikon 24-120mm f4 and Honor 8 Mobile Phone.
It is better if you make a list of few ideas you want to photograph and constantly keep looking for them. That will give you better results from the project. For instance, I was constantly looking for Patterns, Contrasts, Shadows, Colors etc.

The Execution

I woke up early and left home by 6 AM and reached Chandni Chowk in an hour. It is the best place for street photography in Delhi (Have a look at my street photographs). The best time to photograph the streets of Chandni Chowk is early morning as it gets crowded during the day.

16 hour photography project

Street food of Chandni Chowk, Delhi

Portrait, Red Fort, Delhi

Portrait, Red Fort, Delhi

Red Fort, Delhi

Red Fort, Delhi


After spending a couple of hours at Chandni Chowk, I had some delicious street food. Then I headed towards the Red Fort, which is just next to Chandni Chowk. You can either walk to it or take a rickshaw. I spent qualitative time at the Red Fort photographing its architecture, gardens, squirrels and took some rest in the shade of trees.
After that, I took a cab to Humayun Tomb, which is one of the most beautiful places of its kind in India. If you are in Delhi, You would certainly not want to miss this place even if you are not a photographer. I stayed there for 4 hours.

Namaz, Humayun Tomb

Namaz, Humayun Tomb

Chandni Chowk

Chandni Chowk

Humayun Tomb

Humayun Tomb

Colors at delhi haat

Colors at delhi haat


In the evening around 4, I left for Hauz Khas Village. Humayun tomb and Hauz Khas, both are located in south Delhi. So it didn’t take much time to reach there. Hauz Khas is famous for its lake, the fort and the delicious food & drinks which the nearby restaurants offer.
From Hauz Khas, I visited the Delhi Hat. I just used my mobile phone for shooting Delhi Hat as I wanted to test the low light capabilities of Honor 8. After having dinner in Delhi hat, I took a cab and came back home.

How it Helps

In 16 Hour Photography Project, You dedicate one whole day to photography, nothing else to do other than this. Just take some good sleep a night before and you’ll be fine. The way it helps is you are concentrating only on photography. You are not in a hurry to go back or do anything else. If you are a hobbyist, it helps you to continue the photography at a good pace. So if you haven’t picked up the camera in the recent times, this project will help you get started again with a good headstart. One important aspect you’ll notice is, getting up before sunrise and ending after sunset will let you see all different shades of light in one single day. You will get to observe all kind of possibilities for photography, Softlight, Hardlight, Shadows, Sunrise & Sunset all in one shot. Exciting, isn’t it?

If you feel tired, take some rest, grab some snack and get started again. Some things you won’t notice during the session. But, when you’ll start reviewing the images, you’ll realize how good you were with the frames, light, composition etc. You can also try the same itinerary again after few days. Then compare the photographs between both sessions, you’ll see an improved photographer in You!

Tips for this project

  1. Try to do this project over a weekend, preferably Saturday. In that case, you’ll have a whole next day to relax and to review your photographs.
  2. Don’t carry heavy gear, that will be a burden more than fun. Travel light, wear comfortable shoes, keep a water bottle and a pair of shades.
  3. It will be also good if you have someone to accompany you during the session. My wife accompanied me and we spent some good time together and I got my personal subject to photograph at different places 😉

Please share your experiences of such projects in the comment box.

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Histogram and LCD – The matter of Trust

The article is about Histograms and how to read them. The histogram is one of the most useful tools in the world of photography and often the most misunderstood. A histogram is a tool which guides us to evaluate the exposure of a picture. Understanding Histogram makes a big difference between an amateur photographer and an advanced one. So once you understand and start using this, you’ll be one step closer to being an advanced photographer.



Can’t just we use the LCD like always?

Yes, you can. After all , Histograms don’t replace your eyes and experience. But in some situations, you cannot rely upon LCD. The issue with LCDs is, they can’t be trusted. There are two reasons. First, you can misread the exposure of an image in certain situations like in bright sunlight. Secondly, changing the brightness of your LCD screen can cause you to misread the exposure.

One important thing is, you cannot be sure if there are details missing in a picture due to overexposure or underexposure just by looking at the LCD. So the question is which one to trust, LCD or Histogram? I’ll say the combination of both. Use Histogram as a guide, and eyes for the experience of picture.

Histogram and How to Read it

There are many complex definitions for it. But I’ll make it simple for you. It is a graph showing the brightness distribution. In other words, a graph which counts the number of pixels at each level of brightness. Didn’t understand this, don’t worry, who cares about the definition :). All we care about is the usage. A typical histogram is shown below.


The far left is the dark or pure black, called Shadows, and far right is bright, or pure white called Highlights. And area in middle is called Midtones.
If an image is underexposed, the pixels in the graph will be concentrated towards the left.
If an image is overexposed, the pixels in the graph will be concentrated towards the right.
And a correctly exposed image is the one in which the graph is spread all over, not concentrated towards any end.
Here are few examples.
Histogram for an underexposed image will look like the following image


You’ll see the graph moved towards the left end, that means there are more dark pixels and fewer bright pixels. In other words, it is underexposed.
An example of overexposed image
Opposite to the previous image, the graph is leaning towards the right end, that means there are more bright pixels, or it is overexposed.
So how does the balanced or nicely exposed image looks like



I annotated the picture just to make clear which area represents which part of the histogram.

Keypoints while reading histograms

Well, if you are still not confident much about reading the histogram, I’ll make it little more simpler. Here are some keypoints to keep in mind while reviewing a histogram.

  1. If a histogram is leaning towards the left or if there is a big gap between the end of the histogram and far right, the picture is underexposed.
  2. If a histogram is leaning towards right or there is a big gap between the far left end and the start of the histogram, that means the picture is overexposed.
  3. If you find the graph being clipped off from either end, that means there are some details missing. Either due to overexposure or underexposure, depending upon the area being clipped off.

And if you find incorrect exposure, there are ways to correct it. One of them is exposure compensation. I’ll be shortly coming up with an article on that.
If you keep these three keypoints in mind, these will work, most of the times. Remember, the histogram is just a guide, not a master. There is no hard & fast rule for beautiful pictures. This is just a tool which can help us to evaluate the exposure in conditions where we cannot rely upon LCD screens.

Should we stick to it?

No, not at all. Photography is about breaking the rules (after knowing them). So consider this as a helper. But you don’t have to stick with it. Because sometimes, you want to get some pictures whose histogram can’t be perfect. I’ll show you an example


This picture doesn’t have a perfect histogram, but still, it is beautiful. You know why.


Understanding histogram will add one more skill to get good pictures. There is no perfect graph in histograms which can get you the best picture in the world. Histograms are just a guide which can help you better evaluate the picture. And you become one step closer to being a Pro. I’ll be shortly coming up with a new article on more advanced details, Color Histograms.

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