15th March 2023
Capturing striking images in the pitch black is not as simple as one might think. Though you may have mastered the basics of night photography, you will find there are many things different from standard daytime photography.
There may be many common elements between daytime and night-time photography. But those familiar with daytime photography also find that tried and tested rules of true photography often need to be adapted or overlooked at night as indicated by a course in photography school.
Consider the following tips while trying your hand at night photography:
Make Use of Opportunities and Explore the Unknown
The number one question posed by a night photography novice is what the exposure time of one’s camera is. A basic understanding of shutter speed and aperture is crucial at night when reducing aperture can turn streetlights into starbursts and setting of shutter speed enables you to capture the unseen. As opposed to the view of photography as an exact science, nocturnal images offer the chance to experiment, have fun, play, and explore. Hence, instead of following someone else’s tips, explore all variables with your own camera. Note down exposure settings in your own notepad, so you can include the same exposure strategies in future shoots.
Study and Memorize Gear Functions in Advance
Trying to pull up a menu or locating a pesky button is much more challenging at night just like finding camera accessories in your bag. Low light shooting makes it more crucial to study your camera manual to learn your gear functions and study access points for essential menu options and dials, before venturing in the dark. In the dark, it is good to shoot with your camera and lens in manual mode. One useful tool is basic magnifying light which helps read tiny information.
Scout Destination in Advance
Boost your night photography by arriving on site before sunset. With this, not only can you take photos of the magical effects of twilight and sunset, but you will also have a better judgment of the landscape and how to move around in the space, minimizing the risk of accidents in the dark and damage to you or your gear. Apart from scouting location directly, you can also take the help of your computer through a remote session of scouting.
Use a Tripod
One key concern while taking photos at night is camera vibration because of long exposure times. In such scenarios, the importance of a sturdy tripod cannot be underestimated. Though it is tough to get used to the bulky and unwieldy nature of a tripod, it is vital for image clarity at night. This is also crucial for image composition. A tripod is often used along with a cabled or remote shutter release or the mirror lock-up function of your camera.
Condition Your Gear for External Use
Lens fog is a pesky problem to plague any night photographer. This may be caused by transferring gear from warm, humid to dry, cold conditions or because of changes in humidity and temperature. When moisture accumulates, it can interfere with or block light passing through the lens, resulting in blurry images. This is frustrating with the case of long exposure. So, it is good to acclimatize your gear for outside conditions, particularly for shooting long exposures at night.
These are all some valuable tips for night photography as taught in Photography school.