Night photography is a skill that takes time, patience, and often a fair amount of trial and error to master. But there’s no need to be (literally) fumbling around in the dark, with no clue how to improve the photos you take when the sun goes down. There are a number of tips that you can employ which will help you to start producing great images right off the bat.
On a very basic level, the secret to night photography is keeping the camera still, and regulating the amount of light while maintaining the photo quality. Sounds simple enough right? Well if you want to say goodbye to grainy, blurry, unidentifiable snaps, and start taking pictures that will dazzle and delight, here’s how to take incredible night photography.
Use a Tripod
Stability is rule 101 when is comes to taking night photography, so it’s essential to use a tripod to get your camera as still as possible. This is because you’re going to need to use a long exposure time in order to allow in as much light as possible. If you try and use a long exposure with a handheld shot you’ll end up with lot’s of unwanted movement resulting in a blurry image. At a push you can rest the camera on something steady like a table or chair, but best to be prepared with a tripod.
Get a Shutter Release Cable
In the same vein of movement reduction, you shouldn’t be pressing the shutter on your camera manually as this will also make it shake. A shutter release cable is the perfect tool to do this and allows you to pull the trigger without touching it. It’s basically a cord with a button on the end that plugs into the camera, acting like a remote control. If you don’t have one of these it’s also possible to use the timer function, or more modern cameras may have built in WiFi allowing you to use your smartphone as the remote release.
Shoot Low ISO
Shooting with a low ISO setting will help to reduce the graininess that you may notice in photos that you take at night, otherwise referred to as “noise”. Shooting with a higher ISO will give you brighter images, so this may sound counterproductive, however it comes at the cost of image quality. By using a slow shutter speed you can allow more light in to compensate for the low ISO, so this needs to be adjusted to anywhere between 1 and 30 seconds ideally.
Turn Off VR
VR, or Vibration Reduction is the setting that ordinarily helps to stabilise your images by doing exactly what is says it will. But strangely enough, if you are using a tripod and remote release and your camera is already stable, VR can have the opposite of the desired effect and actually add some movement. Avoid this by simply turning it off in settings, just remember to turn it back on for when you’re shooting during the day.
Shoot in RAW
This tip does for any kind of photography, but is particularly important when it comes to night photography. RAW basically allows you to record all of the data that’s captured for each image, whereas other formats compres this. It’s important because it gives you complete control over the final product, meaning that you can correct things when you’re editing that may not be possible if you’ve shot in other formats.
Now that you’ve mastered the basics of night photography, it’s time to put the results on display by ordering an Artzee Design custom wall canvas through our create your own section.