If you are thinking of expanding your skills as a photographer, try shooting in dark environments. Of course, not dim environments, environments that are literally dark. Something like the darkness of night. Night photography is one of the most challenging and exciting jobs in the photography profession. High quality and beautiful photography of a subject at night, in low light and among other moving subjects, is really a difficult task. If you want to learn new and good techniques, night photographers can be an important part of your portfolio. With all that said, we’ll not necessarily have to be professional photographers to take magical and lovable photos overnight. In this article, we are going to give you some tips on quality tools, appropriate mental exercises, and the best ways to shoot in low-light environments.
Get the right equipment
No matter how hard you practice or how talented you are to be a professional, it is not possible to take quality, professional photos in the night light without the right equipment. Aside from the DSLR cameras and various lenses, a sturdy tripod is the most important tool for night photography. If you think you can hold the camera firmly in your hands, then you are wrong and that is not possible. The result will definitely be blurry photos. Because there is less light at night, the cameras operate at a slower shutter speed, which can show even a small amount of shake in the photo; Therefore, never compare the photos you took in daylight with these conditions. To achieve a clear and sharp final product, the camera must be able to absorb all the available light without any movement. It does not matter what the size of the tripod.
We will need other equipment to take great photos during the night. If you are planning to buy and collect your own set of photographic equipment, you should also consider the following:
- Remote control: This tool allows you to take pictures without approaching the camera. This greatly reduces the likelihood of any possible shaking when taking a photo. On the other hand, if you want to be in the picture yourself, it will be necessary to use these tools.
- Wide Lenses: Wide (so-called wide-angle) lenses are another effective tool for night photography. The wider your lens, the more perspective in your photo and the more light the camera collects.
- Flashlight or headlight: Using a flashlight is a very simple and practical way to add some light to the shooting area. If you use these lights creatively, you can give more artistic effects to your photo. On the other hand, not all of your equipment needs to be in direct contact with the photo! It is essential to use a light source to find your way and search the area during the dark of night. Naturally, you do not want to hurt yourself by taking a picture.
- Extra battery: Long Exposure is a common way to shoot at night. Battery consumption in this method is very high and will drain your camera battery. So make sure your battery is fully charged and preferably with an extra battery. Rest assured, there is nothing worse than setting everything up for some great photos at night and suddenly realizing your battery is running low.
Change camera settings for night photography
Choosing the right camera settings is essential for night photography. In fact, this part of the job makes the main difference. You must first select the manual settings mode for the camera. Many photographers, especially beginner photographers, may not feel comfortable taking the camera out of safe and comfortable automatic mode and need to make all the adjustments themselves. Manual photography gives the photographer more control and is more suitable for precise and professional purposes.
We also recommend capturing the photo in RAW format. This format does not compress, encrypt or process images and records all raw data. So you will be able to edit the image later and manipulate many variables. Another advantage of RAW photography is that it captures everything as it is and does not change it, and your photo does not risk being damaged. Shooting in JPEG format causes the camera itself to change the amount of the photo itself.
Another thing you need to adjust yourself is the focus. Your camera and lens may have autofocus. But the autofocus feature does not work on most cameras when it is very dark. So photographers have to focus on the subject manually. The focus setting works infinitely on most cameras. But you have to take a few test shots to make sure you focus well. When you focus, do not move the tripod again. Also, be sure to turn off the camera autofocus so that the camera does not automatically try to focus again and does not spoil your settings. Many photographers recommend that you view the image through the camera’s LCD instead of the viewfinder in dark and dim conditions. When in doubt, zoom in a little and check the focus on the screen carefully.
If you use image stabilization or anti-shake systems, you will no longer need them when using the tripod, and it is best to turn them off. These features are very useful for photography, but we will not need them for this specific purpose. The tripod is careful to keep the camera steady, but these systems may record some extra movement and light in the image.
Adjust your aperture or F-stop value as far as the lens allows. This value actually changes the size of the lens hole. Exactly the size of your pupil, which shrinks in high light and is fully charged when light is low to absorb most of the light. The lower the F-stop (or aperture number), the wider the lens. Since night photography is done in very low light, we naturally want our lens aperture to be as wide open as possible to get the most light. The amount of aperture opening and closing will depend on the characteristics of your lens. Some lenses are really great for night photography. The lower the number, the better for night photography. However, most lenses are adjustable to F / 3.5, F / 5.6, and F / 2.8, and these values are very suitable for night photography. Aperture size also affects and limits the depth of the image. Using low f-stops limits image depth. But in the case of night photography, we do not need special image depth, and this feature is not very important to us.
Regarding the use of the flash, we recommend that you turn off the flash. When shooting at night and outdoors, the flashlight will not help us, especially if we are shooting from a wide angle! So it is better to turn off the flash and set the aperture and shutter speed to work on the exposure.
Another important setting to consider when shooting at night is the camera ISO or image brightness. Higher ISO brightens the image but creates more noise in the image, which can blur the night image. The key point in this section is to find the right balance that is both clear and not too noisy. We recommend starting with ISO 1600 and fine-tuning it if necessary. If your photo is very bright, especially if you are shooting a cityscape with a lot of light, lower the ISO to 800 or even lower. The goal is to strike a balance between having enough light and not having a blurry photo. ISO settings are one of those areas where having quality and modern equipment can be very efficient. Professional cameras and lenses also work well with higher ISO values.
Next, you need to adjust the shutter speed. Shutter speed determines how long it takes to capture an image. Start your night shooting process with a shutter speed of 10 seconds and then make more changes if necessary. Since the night is very dark and we have little light in the scene, the slow shutter speed allows the camera to have more time to absorb the light. So, in all these 10 seconds (or any other time you set), the camera collects different lights and turns them into a photo. If your image is still dark, set the shutter speed to 20 or 30 seconds. Some professional night photographers set their shutter speed to 30 minutes or more to capture great photos. Most of the astronomical photographs you see are taken using such techniques.
It is very important to stay still during night photography. That’s why we must use 3 bases. The camera should constantly receive as much light as possible. As mentioned earlier, shooting at night will require a slow shutter speed of at least 10 seconds. This means that it takes a long time for the camera to capture your image. Every move in these 10 seconds will blur your photo. Even pressing the shutter button can cause vibrations and blur the image. That’s why we recommend that you try to use the remote control or the camera’s built-in timer system. If you follow these steps, your camera will be completely still and motionless, even when you press the shutter button.
Play with light
Once you’ve mastered these DSLR camera settings and learned the basics of night photography, it’s time to start playing with light. Changing the ISO or shutter speed in the camera can record the lines and directions of light in your image. You’ve probably seen pictures of cities and streets with car lanes and traffic lights. In addition, you can experiment with different light sources. For example, you can use street signs or stars to illuminate subjects. Using artificial and manual lights is another method that you can use.
Light changes at sunrise and sunset. If you want to capture some of the natural colors of the night sky, plan to take your picture 30 minutes after sunset. So be careful to go to the photography site earlier than this and get everything ready. The more time you have before it gets dark, the more time you will have to frame and pay attention to detail.
Break the rules
Once you understand the rules well and master them, start breaking them. Try filming to see exactly how changing the settings will affect the end product of your work. You can do your experiments with reflections, shadows, and water. Involving people in nighttime photos can also have its own complexities. This can be especially difficult and challenging when shooting low shutter speeds (for example, seconds and minutes). It is very unlikely that a human being can be completely still for a few seconds and minutes, so your photos will probably be blurred. But on the other hand, human subjects can add distinct emotions to the photo.
Play with different composition and photography techniques. Use things like headlines, backgrounds, and different angles to add more visual appeal to your night photography masterpiece. Try to look at things from a different perspective. For example, try to show sights and places in the dark of night where no one is likely to go after dark. Astrophotography or constellation and night sky photography are also very popular. In such photos, photographers use an extremely long shutter speed to show the maximum amount of star shine in their photos. Using the moon as a light source or one of the subjects of photography would also be an interesting idea. Night photos of storms or other weather phenomena can also be a great idea!
Just like all the photos, you take in daylight, the photos you take in the dark of night need to be edited. If your photo has a lot of Noise and grains, you can delete a lot of them in Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Lightroom. Many photographers are accustomed to adjusting the White Balance as well. You can also use filters or other photo editing techniques to highlight part of the image or focus on the subject, slightly change colors, or change the light. Never forget that great editing starts with a great photo. But post-production edits can take that photo to the next level and create a true masterpiece. All of this requires that you be able to take a good photo first.
You can not master night photography overnight. But there are many ways to learn photography and proper night photography techniques. Do not forget to repeat and practice in order to get the best results. No matter how much you participate in training courses, read educational materials or pay attention to the photos of successful photographers, it will not be useful for you as long as you hold the camera and do not practice. Keep rehearsing it until you can say it with conviction and confidence.
Night photography is a fun, beautiful, and useful skill that every photographer should have in their resume and list of abilities. Start by learning the rules, then come on stage and practice. Master it sooner than you think, and you can set your own rules or even break them!
Leave a Reply