Photography By Night – Tutorial

Photography at night is not as complex as some may believe – it is all about having the right equipment, the ideal conditions and a positive frame of mind – along with a good quality camera! Kirk’s Cameras in Ringwood are keen to help you understand and learn how to take magnificent photos during the night.

1. Gather Your Accessories

Tripod – It is vital to have a tripod when taking night shots – particularly when capturing tricky landscapes or skylines. Unless you are opting for a deliberately blurred photo, a tripod is a top accessory. In order to get a proper exposure at night, you have to use very long shutter speeds. The only way to keep your camera stable is to use a tripod. They can be purchased or borrowed, depending on your photographic situation.

Remote – Ideally, you should not need to touch your camera when you are taking photos at night. Even if you have a tripod, the act of pressing the shutter release to take a photograph will slightly shake the camera and create a blurry photo. Digital SLR cameras have a port where you can attach a remote release. If you are using a digital point-and-shoot, you will find that some models will come standard with a remote or can be purchased separately.

Torch/Flashlight – This item is frequently overlooked but absolutely critical. Unless you are so familiar with your camera that you can change its settings in the dark, a flashlight is necessary to see the buttons on your digital camera. It is also useful for safety if you are unaware of your surroundings.

2. Set Your Camera

Your camera must have manual controls so that you can adjust shutter speed and aperture yourself – this is vital in obtaining the perfect photo. The camera you use must have an opening on the bottom where you can attach a tripod. Almost all digital cameras — compact and digital SLR alike — have a tripod thread hole.

It is best if your camera has a remote control. If it doesn’t, a self-timer works the same way, so we advise you become familiar with this if you are going to use it. The best ‘late-night’ digital cameras have a feature called long exposure noise reduction. With digital cameras, the longer the shutter is open, the more noise you will see in the final photo. Since all night photography requires long exposures, the camera can process the image when you take it to reduce some of the noise. If your camera has this function, be sure to switch it on.

3. Capture Your Photos

Now that your have your camera set to manual controls, your tripod is set up and your remote or timer is ready to go, it is time to take some photos.

Set up the camera, and manually adjust the shutter speed until the camera’s light meter indicates that a proper exposure will be achieved. Depending upon the amount of available light, you may have to use a shutter speed up to 30 seconds. Despite the camera sitting on a tripod, it is vital that you do not shake the camera in any way.

If you have a somewhat flimsy tripod and your camera is heavy, even a slight breeze can move the tripod and the camera with it. During a 30 second exposure, this will create a blurry photograph. Make sure your tripod is absolutely solid and that it won’t slip or shudder during the exposure.

You can happily shoot away with ease – just be sure to make the best use of your remote and tripod and be aware of your surrounding conditions. Practice makes perfect; but we are confident you will get the results you desire with our night photography tips!

To find out more, or to speak to a professional, please contact Kirk’s Cameras or come on in to our Ringwood store today.

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