Night photography is tricky. If you do it well, it can capture nighttime landscapes spectacularly, showing the skies full of stars and city lights. It is also a good opportunity to experiment with various equipment and camera settings. If you use slow shutter speeds, you get long exposure times. This setting is suitable for capturing light trails or star trails.
To do good night time photography, you need to plan your sessions ahead and know which camera settings you should use. We will discuss several night photography tips. If you want to learn the basics of night photography, make sure you read this post until the end. This can serve as a good guide to night photography, especially if you are in photography.
9 Tips for Night Photography
Taking photographs at night is all about preparation, practice, and experimentation. The more you do these, the better you get at night photography. Here are some things you can consider as night photography tips to enhance your night time photography skills.
1. Scout the Location
Since you will be taking pictures in the dark, you need to scout your location beforehand. It is not a good idea to look around for the perfect location in the dark. Check out different locations during the day, and take notes on the possible obstacles or challenges. Then choose the one that you feel is the most suitable. Look into the following parameters.
Does the site have enough artificial light?
Are the lights multi-colored enough to make the pictures look interesting?
Is it possible for you to maximize the available light?
Which angle looks best for your night time photography?
2. Prepare for Long Night Photography Sessions
When you indulge in night time photography, you need to be mentally and physically prepared for spending long hours outdoors in the dark. It takes a lot of effort and time to get good night time photography shots. Setting up your tripod and adjusting your camera settings in the dark is not easy, especially when the weather is cold and your hands are freezing. It will be a good idea to take a few hand warmers or gloves with you. You can also carry some snacks so you can grab a bite if you get hungry and your session isn’t over just yet.
3. Carry a Flashlight
Even if you’re planning to do your night photography in an urban area, it might be hard to see your camera’s controls or your tripod’s screws in the street lights. Make sure you carry a flashlight with you. A small flashlight can do wonders as a light source in such situations. You’ll need to use it to make your way through the dark. You might also use it for lighting part of your images.
4. Shoot in Manual Mode
Shooting in manual mode gives you more control over the photographs you take. That’s because you can fully control your camera settings for the different shots. Night photography is more effective if you do it slowly and methodically. You’ll have to give time to your camera settings to adjust properly in the dark before you start shooting.
5. Lower the Aperture
It is best to lower your aperture for night photography. Depending on the type of camera and lens you are losing, you can determine how low it needs to be. Your goal is to get as much light as possible from the f-stops. Remember, if you do not have enough light, the objects in your photographs will not come out clear, and you won’t be able to capture the beauty of the landscape or creature you’re shooting properly.
6. Keep the Camera ISO as Low as Possible
This is another thing of your camera settings that you need to be careful about for good night photography. You might think shooting with low light requires a high ISO setting. But that’s not true if you are shooting during night hours. A high ISO setting will add more grain to your pictures, which would become an issue for the quality of your shots. Keep the ISO as low as possible. You can adjust the ISO setting by taking a few test shots to see which setting gets you the clearest pictures.
7. Use a Tripod
In night photography, you usually need to use long shutter speeds. This is because you need to absorb as much light as possible from the environment. To keep your shots focused for long (usually for 10 seconds or more), you need to use a sturdy tripod. Thus carrying a tripod is a must when you’re going for night time photography.
8. Shoot in Bulb Mode
If you are doing night photography with extra long exposures, you will need to shoot in bulb mode. Extra-long exposures are those that are longer than 30 seconds. Make sure to set your DSLR to its bulb mode. This will be the ideal setting for taking good-quality pictures, as it will lighten your shots. To keep your camera stable, you might also want to buy a remote shutter release.
9. Always Shoot RAW
For effective night photography, make sure you shoot RAW. JPEG generally downgrades the picture quality, which can literally kill off your shots. Sticking to the RAW mode will give you leverage. You’ll be glad that you shot RAW when you’re done with your sessions and are beginning to edit or process your images. Post-processing is a lot easier if your photos are shot RAW. You can even play around with the colors a little bit without damaging the quality of your images.
These were our 9 tips for night photography. Now let’s take a look at a few examples of good night photography.
Some Good Examples of Night Time Photography
Here are a few examples that show quality night photography.
1. Urban Photography
Following is a photograph taken of a city view at night. Its specialty is in the different shades of colors seen in the buildings, the water, and the sky. It is taken from a beautiful angle, highlighting the beautiful infrastructure of the city.
The photo is posted on the homepage of a website promoting consultancy services to young and aspiring entrepreneurs to sustain and grow their businesses.
This is a simple photograph taken during evening hours. Its specialty is in the angle it is taken from. It shows the leaves of the trees spread across the sky, letting the moonlight enter the camera lens in thin streams from the empty spaces in between. The natural look and shades of sky blue make this landscape photograph look beautiful.
The photo is posted as the background image of the contact section of a website that promotes a home stay facility in a remote forest area.
This photograph is the night view of a large city full of buildings filled with colorful lights at night. It is taken from an angle that makes it look like an airplane view. The quality of the picture makes the city look even more gorgeous than it actually is. The credit goes to the photographer skilled at perfecting the lighting and camera settings for this kind of shot.
This photo is posted on the website's homepage that promotes residential areas.
The following photograph displays quality street photography. It shows a man walking away from the scene on a scary and quiet street in the dark. This photo is found in the gallery of the portfolio website of a talented cinematographer and photographer.
He built this website on Strikingly, a growing website building platform that offers a lot of ready-to-use templates for its users to create simple web pages on.
Image taken from Strikingly
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