Everything You Need to Know About Night Time Photography

Everything You Need to Know About Night Photography

How To Become A Wedding Photographer

How To Become A Wedding Photographer

Ideas on How to Make Money From Photography

Ideas on How to Make Money From Photography


Everything You Need to Know About Night Time Photography

There is something magical about photographs of the night. No matter your skill level, they are always a form of art. This is because of the minimal light that you can capture. Whether from the stars and moon or city lights, these pictures are always special. Mastering the art of taking great night photographs, however, is actually not that complex. You need a couple of essential items, a quality camera, and patience. You should also know that there are three techniques for taking these photos. You can use artificial light, slow exposure or even both. It all depends on what you are looking for. So, essentially, it all starts from an idea. From your inspiration.

Night Photography

Putting Your Idea to Work

If you wish to create an exceptional picture, you have to do some preparation. The first and most important part is the inspiration. What inspires you, and how you are inspired, is very personal. There is no trick or tip for this part. My only advice is to think about what makes you feel magical, because the night is, after all, magic. Once you get an idea, write it down. A few words, a quick scribble. This will be your basic plan. The next step is location. For example, if you decide to take a picture from nature looking at the city. Which part of the city? Do you wish to show foliage or distance? Once these questions are answered, find the perfect spot. Whether you choose to use long exposure times or artificial light, you need a place to set up. Somewhere flat enough for your equipment and spacious enough so you can sit by if necessary. Finally, you can take plenty of amazing pictures.

The Equipment

In order to take quality night photos, you need quality equipment. This, however, doesn’t always mean the most expensive available. Here is a list of all the essentials:

  • A good tripod – This can never be stressed enough. Any slight vibration during the night will ruin your picture, so this is vital. Depending on where you take the pictures, you will choose a tripod. I highly recommend one with adjustable legs. That is, those which can adjust each leg independently. This will allow you to take your camera to rough terrain if need be.
  • Remote shutter release – This is connected to the camera to eradicate any chance of even slight vibrations. When you click to take a picture, you move the camera slightly. Again, vibrations are your enemy. If you cannot find or buy one, use the camera’s timer.
  • A good digital camera – Digital SLR cameras are those used by the professionals. This is because they produce the best quality images. Also, they have many settings and options which you can adjust. When taking photos at night, you need the freedom to set the frame rate, the exposure, the clarity, the backlight and more. However, if you are an enthusiast and don’t want to spend too much, you can still find a quality amateur camera. It is important to check the specifications. The ISO, or its sensitivity to light, needs to be between 3200 and 6400. You need to take test shots to create a great picture. Some environments need no more than ISO 200, it all depends on the amount of light available. It also needs a good battery and the ability to have long exposure times.

The Settings

You absolutely need to fidget with the settings to take pictures at night. The first thing to consider is the exposure. The longer the exposure, the more light will be captured. This is the setting that you will change every time you change the scene. The ISO is another important setting. This is the light sensitivity setting. The more sensitive your camera is set, the more lights, or noise, it will capture. You also have to pay attention to the white balance. If you want natural looking photos without any tint, switch the automatic white balance on. If you feel artistic, switch it off. With all these settings, you must remember that you need to test them. Once you find the combination you are happiest with, take those shots.

Artificial or Natural Light

This will change the glow of your image completely. Natural light refers to the moonlight. If you choose to use this light, go out when you have a clear sky and a full moon. These pictures can have a bluish hue to them if you choose to switch the white balance off. The artificial lights can be the city lights, cars passing by, or lights you introduce to the scene. A flashlight, a fire, all these things will influence your picture. Here, creativity is key. If, however, you want to shoot the stars, you must avoid any other lights. You need pitch black in this case.


Even if you are not a highly trained professional, a few easy adjustments to your camera will create amazing night photographs. It is important to keep exposure and light in mind. A perfect balance is what you need so a little patience with the settings is required. Always remember that above all else, vibrations are the demise of a great picture. A good location is important for both you and your camera. Finally, your imagination is key. Let your creative side decide what is the best idea and take your first shots. The best night photographs are unique, just like each and every one of us.

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