nighttime photography

Nighttime photo of a Ferris wheel

Many new photographers make the mistake of avoiding nighttime photography because it seems like it is hard to do.  It certainly is a type of photography we don't see a lot of, but it can be great fun to experiment with.

It's actually simple to take great night photography shots if you remember just a few things. When it's dark, it's obvious that there is much less light to take your photograph. What it means to you is that your shutter speed will be quite a bit longer to get a properly exposed photograph.

There are some situations where you may want to use your camera's built-in flash, but this article will cover the situations where you want to keep your flash turned off.


1. use a tripod for long exposures

If you look at the three photos at the top of the page, you'll see the camera settings that I used had exposures of 1/2 second, 1 + 1/2 seconds and 30 seconds. The camera must be held in place securely to avoid the mistake of blur for the objects in your photograph that are stationary.

An alternative using to a tripod is having the camera firmly resting on a secure and vibration free spot. Use the camera's self timer to avoid the mistake of camera movement when you press the shutter button.


2. use a shutter cord to prevent camera shake with nighttime photography

If your camera can use an external shutter release, consider getting one, especially if you plan on taking long-exposure shots, Even if you gently push the shutter button, you will get some camera movement when using a tripod.

If you can't use a remote shutter cord with your camera, then you have no choice but to use the self timer. The down side of this is that it is not possible to get exact timing of when to push the shutter button.


3. watch your exposure

Just about all digital cameras have a play back function or they automatically show you the last photo you've taken. Make a quick exposure adjustment if it is not right. Of course you can try your camera's "night time" setting if it has one and see if they works for your current lighting and scene.

Nighttime photography often has contrasty scenes and may throw off your camera's exposure system. Even better yet for more advanced exposure checking, discover how to use your camera's histogram if it has one.

Nighttime boardwalk photoBoardwalk Ghosts

This "Boardwalk Ghosts" nighttime photo had an exposure of 1/4 second. What I find very unique about this photo is the appearance of the feet of the boardwalk "ghosts".

The timing was just right to capture their feet when they were almost stationary on the boardwalk. I took a least a dozen of these boardwalk photos and picked this as one of my favorites for that reason.

To learn more about long exposures and proper camera setting, try this article on Bulb Exposure. I just added a new article called Nighttime Photography Tips. I played with my new Canon 5d Mark iii while visiting a summer carnival near my home.

You can use several different aperture priority and ISO settings to get a large variety of shutter speeds with the nighttime pictures you take.





  If you got a few worthwhile ideas from this article please share them with a friend.  I appreciate your help


Have a blast with your photography!




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