Photos taken at night have their own captivating aesthetic, and a sense which is quite rewarding: they recover scenes that would otherwise be left for the dark. After all, night time photography has a bit of that romantic, mysterious quality, it makes you capable of capturing a single perfect moment never exposed before, and bring it out for the world to see.
It’s not a simple mission, but we know you love a good challenge!
If you’ve never shot at night before, we’ve collected a set of beautiful photos to put you in the mood, along with a few tips to enhance your own night time photography session.
Tip # 1
This one is easy though critical- work out the details of your plan.
You most likely have an idea of where you’d like to shoot, but best make sure you know the specific location, the way to drive there and where to park at night. It’s the kind of info that can save a lot of trouble since you are already dealing with a limited amount of time and you want to make it efficient. Also, if you are off to some forest in the summer time, don’t forget your bug spray.
Timing is important and the weather may be fickle. Have a look at the weather forecast as you decide where and what you want to shoot. If you’re focusing on the sky, it would be good to know how much cloud cover to expect. This is also useful info as you decide how well to dress. It may get cold out there while you await your perfect photo opportunity.
Tip # 3
Some of the best night photos are taken during dusk when colors and details are easier to capture, especially in the distance. Controlling aperture and shutter speed are the keys. Aperture is the size of the lens opening; use large apertures to let in as much light as possible. Shutter speed will control how long the shutter stays open; the longer it’s open, the more light will reach the sensor. This is important whether you are shooting at dusk or at night.
Tip # 4
Don’t use flash. The key to successful night photography lies in a long exposure.
Flash requires light to bounce off a subject. If you are shooting dusk or at night, trying to capture a subject long way away, your flash unit won’t reach it effectively.
However, when a long exposure is used, more light is allowed into the camera, allowing the details in your night photo to be captured. It also allows a very advanced capability: motion capture. You’d be surprised at how quickly the stars move across the sky. Given the right circumstances, a 30 second exposure can even show detectible star trails.
Tip # 5
Use a sturdy tripod. The problem with using long exposures of over one second is that you may shake the camera, and the result will be a poor image. A tripod will hold the camera steady for long periods of time. A good idea is also to use a cable release, which lets you push a switch on the end of a cable to open your shutter without the need for you to touch the camera. It will also keep the shutter open for as long as you want.
Tip # 6
Ok, let’s face it- a tripod is not always an option, especially if you happen to be traveling. For such instances, you can use almost any surface that is steady in order to stabilize your camera. When you’re taking city photos, look for a sturdy surface like a bench. It will provide the stability you need. When taking the photo, put the camera against that surface and apply some force to make sure it does not move. If necessary, increase the ISO (sensitivity) to enable faster shutter speeds, but watch out for grainy ‘noise’ in your shots.
Tip # 7
Be adventurous! You’re aiming for a moment never captured before, so a sense of adventure (and patience) will help to do the trick. And also, take lots of pictures. Try out different exposures and different angles. If you’re using a digital camera, just delete all the extras. And if not, well, film is cheap. You’ll be sure to end up with a few cherished photos by morning:)
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