Looking for a guide on how to take amazing shots of the evening sky, how to play with light or simply want to know the proper camera settings for night photography, these following tips will give you a solid starting base and get you all set to start taking on the popular low-light and night photography tactics.
Night Photography Tip 1: Get high quality night shots
If you want the perfect night pictures you are going to shoot with the best image quality, and this means RAW. By taking pictures in RAW mode your photos will hold the most details, giving better range for maximizing your shots in raw-processing software. RAW is specifically advantageous when taking night photos as it offers more freedom when you want to adjust elements like color temperature, White Balance or correct exposures.
Night Photography Tip 2: Use a tripod for clearer photos
Shooting at night certainly means there will be little light and hence slow shutter speeds are being used, let's say in the range from from 1-30 seconds — that is simply just too slow to shoot and holding the camera by hand. So you will want to connect your digital camera firmly to a tripod to get razor-sharp pictures. Be certain your tripod is established carefully and is unshakable — always double check that. And remember any small motion can lead to blurry pictures.
Night Photography Tip 3: Pick your destinations beforehand
Before you set out into the night, it will be worth it and save you precious time if you plan ahead. Choose good destinations in advance by searching out the best locations in your local area to find the most intriguing lights, structures and buildings, or if you’re after to shoot traffic light trails, analyze which roads are busiest and so on.
Night Photography Tip 4: Night photography settings
Manipulate with your exposures, it’s good to shoot in Manual mode so you can select the ideal small aperture and slow shutter speeds for dark night photography. Get started by composing and focusing your shot, set a narrow aperture about f/16, then dial in the right shutter speed right up until the Exposure Level Mark is in the center of the Exposure Level Pointer. Grab some test pictures and overview them on the display. This is what your camera perceives as the ideal exposure, but if your photos seem too bright or too vivid, underexpose by 1-2 stops so that they basically look darker!
Night Photography Tip 5: Composition at night
Thoroughly learn the scenario/stage with your eyes before you start taking pictures. Are there any areas on the scene too dark? Some regions of the shot may end up more appealing, brightly lit or colorful as it gets darker? If so, don’t be scared to zoom in on the most photogenic regions. Zoom in with your wide-angle zoom lens or simply step closer to your subject to understand better.
Jeff McKean is an amateur photographer, keen in digital cameras, nighttime pho-tographing and shooting outdoors in general. Visit his blog for more info.
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