I believe many beginner photographers like to take pictures at night, but they often find that night effects usually don’t come out as planned. As long as you master these tricks, you can easily take high-level night photos!
Tip 1: Bring Your Tripod
When shooting at night, it usually takes some time to expose, so the camera must remain standing still to take a picture. To avoid causing issues it is best to use a tripod to reduce vibration.
Tip 2: Decrease Sensitivity (ISO)
I believe many people know that high sensitivity can achieve a faster shutter speed with the same aperture value to reduce the problem of shaking during shooting, but this will add noise to the photo. Especially when shooting night scenes, a long exposure will make the signal noise particularly dark in the photo, so if the environment permits, you should use a tripod and a lower the ISO value to obtain the best shooting results.
Tip Three: Use a Large Aperture Lens to Compose the View
When we attach the lens to the body, the aperture of the lens will automatically open to the maximum. In a dark environment, a larger aperture can allow more light to enter the lens, making the picture on the viewfinder clearer. For example, two photographers were shooting night scenes at the same time and the same location. If one lens uses a maximum aperture of f/2.8 and the other uses a maximum aperture of f/5.6, the viewfinder of the photographer using f/2.8 aperture will be significantly brighter and is easier to see details.
Tip Four: Use a Small Aperture to Shoot
The purpose of using a large aperture lens is to facilitate the photographer to see more clearly when framing, but the aperture is turned down when shooting for two reasons:
1. A small aperture can make the depth of field larger so that the scene will not be blurred by the shallow depth of field;
2. If there is light illumination at night, shooting with a smaller aperture can make the light star-shaped and the effect is more prominent.
Tip Five: Long Exposure
One of the common techniques for shooting night scenes is a long exposure (the shutter value is as slow as 10 seconds, 30 seconds, or several hours), which can be used to photograph car trails, star trails, or waves. Long exposures can not only smooth the waves or record the trail of the car’s taillights but also pick up lights that are usually invisible to the naked eye appear, the effect is fascinating.
Tip 6: Setting White Balance
It is not recommended to use automatic white balance when shooting at night, because, in a dark environment, automatic white balance can easily become inconsistent, resulting in chromatic aberration in photos. When shooting night scenes, you can use the white balance of the “tungsten lamp” mode, but of course, you have to choose the most suitable mode according to the environment at the time. Also, saving photos in RAW format allows the photographer to adjust the white balance as needed afterward, which is convenient.
Tip 7: Beware of Overexposure
If the automatic exposure (ie Auto/P/Av/Tv/S/A) mode is used at night, overexposure may easily occur. The reason for this situation is that the camera will be misled by a wide range of dark environments, and the photos will be overexposed. Therefore, when shooting night scenes, we can use full manual mode (M mode) or B shutter (the shutter is always open until the photographer closes it), so that you can set the appropriate shutter and aperture, of course, to find the appropriate aperture and shutter combination require experience, and beginners can take a few more shots to see the effect. If you want to know if the photo is overexposed, you can observe whether the light spot in the photo is clear. In other words, the light spots are taken under normal exposure, such as the most common lights, look very clear. On the contrary, if the photo is overexposed, the light spot will feel “open” and the lines will be less clear.
The picture above is the effect of normal exposure, you can see the light dots and lines are solid, and there is no effect of “dissolving”.
The above is the most basic technique for shooting night scenes. As long as you practice and try more, you can also take high-quality night scene photos and become a “night shooter”!