Night photography is a challenging task to do. Every photographer knows that good light is everything. Whether it’s in a studio, in a city, or out there in the wild, you need good light to take good pictures.
And when it comes to light, nothing beats the Sun.
But what happens when the Sun goes down? How do we take high-quality photos at night?
I’m sure you have struggled with this problem. I know I have. But over the years I’ve developed a technique that allows me to take good pictures at night. And I’ll share it with you.
Become best friends with your tripod
This is essential. You can try as hard as you want, but you’ll never be as steady as a tripod. So it isn’t worth trying.
I know you don’t always carry a tripod with you. If you can, do it. If you can’t, find somewhere else to put your camera – it may be a wall, a table or a fire hydrant.
Also, to get the most steady situation possible, use a shutter release cable or a timer.
Explore the possibilities of the manual mode
It may seem hard at first, but you should know how to use the manual mode.
If you’re just a casual photographer and don’t want to learn all the technical terms and functions of your camera, that’s fine. You don’t have to.
But if you’re serious about photography, even as a hobby, you should be in full control of your instrument.
Once you understand how to set up your camera in manual mode, you’ll be able to take amazing pictures – even at night!
Adjust aperture and shutter speed
Every photo is different. And every scenario is different. That’s why there’s no exact recipe to take a good picture.
You have to experiment on your own and find the best settings for your camera every time.
My advice – you don’t have to agree with me – is to take long exposure pictures. The idea is that you let very little light into your camera, but for a very long time.
To do so, leave your ISO at a normal level (let’s say 200). Then set your aperture to a very low value: F16, F18 or F22, depending on your camera. With those settings, go for a long exposure time that makes your picture look good: 10, 20, up to 30 seconds.
By doing so, the fixed lights – such as lamps and the Moon – will have a natural feel. Also, if there are any moving lights – like cars or fire – the long exposure will create a smooth effect.
Always be original
In the end, remember no one was born a professional. We all had to learn how to take good pictures. If you’re reading this, it means you’re on the right path.
Night photography is one of the hardest ones. Follow my tips to begin with, and then go on your own. Experiment and try different things. You’ll be taking incredible night pictures in no time.