Explore Your Passion for Night Photography With Simple Techniques

Night photography can be a bit challenging because of the less amount of light that is available to us; therefore, one often faces the problem of the picture containing a lot of noise. With some effective settings and the right equipment, one can get to do some amazing photography at night.

Here is a beginner’s guide to photography with techniques for shooting night subjects such as the moon, fireworks, traffic lines, and night landscapes.

How to Shoot the Moon
For this technique, you will need at least 300 mm zoom lens.

  • Secure the SLR on a tripod, on a wide base.
  • Use these manual settings on the SLR: ISO 100, aperture at f/9, exposure at -5 or less and vivid picture quality.
  • Keep the sharpness at a max and the white balance on automatic.
  • Switch on the self-timer for 10 seconds.
  • Never shoot without a tripod as you might end up blurring the picture.
  • Zoom out the lens to its full capacity.
  • Start shooting using auto focus initially, and later experiment with manual focusing. You can also experiment with the setting at maximum focal length.
  • Take some shots and check how they have turned out.

How to Shoot Fireworks
Techniques for night photography of capturing fireworks is easier than you think, but it is important that you get a place from where you can frame your shot nicely. With different shutter speeds, one can always make the fireworks look sharp or achieve different blur effects.

  • Arrive early before the fireworks show, and select a place from where you can compose your shot properly.
  • Mount your camera on a tripod.
  • Set your camera for 4 – 5 seconds of exposure, and aperture at f/8.
  • Switch off the camera’s flash, and set the ISO on 50 or 100.
  • Zoom out and compose your frame.
  • Set the timer and start shooting.
  • Check how the shots look, and later experiment with different shutter speeds.

How to Shoot a Night Landscape
Some of the best subjects for night landscapes are city landscapes (it looks even better if the city landscape is reflected in a water body), a farmhouse, a stream or river, trees and cottages, etc.

  • The first thing is to compose your subject; for example, try to go for a low dynamic angle of a lit-up building with a road, or buildings reflected in the water.
  • Mount your camera on the tripod well and switch off the flash.
  • Use manual settings of ISO at around 100, exposure of 4 seconds and aperture at f/9 .
  • Set the self-timer or use the remote control.
  • Start shooting. One can always take multiple shots if the camera is digital.
  • Take a look at your cityscape pictures and experiment with different shutter speeds and composition. You can also try out the cityscapes in black and white photography setting.

How to Shoot Traffic Lines
This is one of the long exposure techniques. Climb up a bridge to get a top angle of a road or highway.

  • Fix your camera on the tripod, and compose your shot well.
  • Switch off the flash, and manually set the camera aperture at f/9, exposure at around 20 seconds, and ISO 100.
  • Keep the white balance on auto and with a self-timer or remote, start shooting the subject.
  • Check your images for the results, and experiment with different exposure times.

How to Shoot a Night HDR
This is similar to day HDR (High Dynamic Range) technique, but capturing HDR is very interesting, as the final result gives a picture a very dramatic-surreal look. Some subjects for clicking night HDR are landscapes. Make sure you have the sky in your frame or a landscape with river, water bodies, etc.

  • You absolutely need a tripod for capturing a day or night HDR.
  • After setting the camera, select AEB (Auto Exposure Bracketing) setting of -2, 0 and 2.
  • Compose the scene, and start shooting.
  • If you don’t have the AEB setting, then mount the camera on a tripod. Very carefully without moving the camera or tripod click, three pictures on exposure setting of -2, 0 and 2.
  • Open these pictures with a software like Photoshop CS-2 or CS-3, or a HDR rendering software and merge the three pictures together.
  • Experiment with the different brightness, contrasts, hue and saturation settings, to make the sky look purple or orange.

Tips for Nocturnal Photography

Here are some tips to make your shots using the above techniques for photography at night look better.

  • A tripod is essential, so always use one for night photography. If you don’t have one, then invest in a decent one if you want to take some good night pictures.
  • Keep the ISO at around 100 to reduce the noise.
  • Try to shoot on a full moon night, so that there will be more light.
  • Check the weather forecast, so that you don’t get caught in a rainy situation with your expensive photography equipment.
  • Do not be sad, if you don’t own a SLR. Try to experiment with the different exposure triangle settings in your camera, of ISO, shutter speed and aperture, and take pictures with the above digital photography techniques.
  • When you think you need a better camera for digital photography, borrow from your friends and use different models and then buy a good DSLR for yourself. The rates have recently dropped, and one can always buy a DSLR on EMI, if that is a practical and viable option.

These were some of the interesting photography tips and techniques of low light or night photography. To learn some more such techniques, visit popular photo sharing sites and look for the pictures you like and would like to shoot. After selecting the picture, click on more properties of the picture and you will get all the settings on which the person has captured the picture. Some more interesting subjects for nocturnal photography are city skylines, a street with or without cars, abandoned old buildings, nightlife or concerts, amusement rides, silhouettes of birds or trees, etc. So good luck and keep shooting!

Tips for Newbie Wildlife Photographers

Try to come out of the auto-mode and start handling the options found in manual mode like ISO, shutter speed, aperture, etc. Read the manual that came along with your camera, and refer to the guidelines to get a good hand on your primary equipment. Once you get to know how to navigate through the manual settings, you’ll be able to customize every shot as per your liking.

If your camera comes with an external attachable lens, it is better to carry a decent zoom lens to maintain a safe distance between you and the subject. A handy waterproof backpack, along with comfortable shoe wear are a must-have for a quiet predatory walk near your subject. A compact lightweight tripod can help in getting the perfect steady shot.

Whenever you are trying to capture any photo, never compromise on the sharpness aspect. An image which is not sharp enough should hit the trash. Try clicking the capture button when you are breathing out for maintaining a more steady hand, if you are taking the shot by hands.

If you want the subject to be still while keeping the background a little blurred, it is advised that you take the shot at high shutter speeds. The more challenging the shot is in terms of movement, the higher the shutter speed should be. Adjusting the proper shutter speed manually for capturing the perfect shot will take diligent practice.

Keeping the ISO value at an optimal level prior to taking the shot is quintessential. Ideally, the ISO value should be inversely proportional to the day-light availability. The less amount of natural light in the environment means you should set the ISO value at a higher level. You can use the Auto ISO setting, but it may sometimes result in noise factors. After taking a good amount of pics, you’ll get a good idea as to what the ISO value should be set at.

Climatic conditions play an important role in photography. A normal sunny day is apt for taking photographs, but too much of sunlight may result in shadows. Using a flash to clear the shadows is one solution, but it may scare away the subject, so it’s best avoided.

Patience is a virtue that you’ll have to worship when studying your subject. You may have to make multiple trips to the same place in order to click that magic moment, and yet, still control yourself of not going berserk when things don’t happen the way you plan.

Don’t get caught up in the intricacies of photography, so much so that you miss the bigger picture. Whether you’re on a wildlife safari or just for a trip around the zoo, take your time to enjoy the moment, relax a bit, and then opt for clicking your desired picture.

Photography Lighting Tips

This was just a flashback that I wanted to share with you before going into the depths of photography. Photography in simple words is just – “CLICK the image”, but technically, photography has lots more to offer. Perfect light, angle and time are hallmarks of good photography. Lighting determines the mood of the photograph or the video shot. Right use of light reflects your innate creativity. A video or a picture is alive only through good photography skills.

Photography Tips on Lighting

Appropriate use of light is one of the most important factors that determines the quality of the picture. It can be awesome, spectacular, dramatic or terrific. The camera has an inbuilt light meter that measures how much light is being reflected to the camera. Automatic adjustment of aperture and shutter speed enables the camera to measure the amount of light reflected and thus the clarity of the picture.

Source of Light
The quality of the picture resolved depends upon the source of light. The source can be natural, like the sun or artificial, like constant light sources, strobes and different types of light sources used in studios. The effect of rays of light is very spectacular. A setting sun, rays cascading through the windows, landscapes and portraits create impressive pictures with intelligent use of lights. Use of brighter light from behind the object is the typical way to create silhouettes. You can simply experiment with different types of light in order to get different images with different effect.

Angle of Light
Angle of light is a very important aspect while creating special effects in the photographs. Half cast shadow, full bright, dimmed low, back lighting, front lighting, side exposures, diffused light, etc are a few examples where adjusting the angle of light is very important.

Camera Exposure
The time of camera exposure depends on the shutter speed and the aperture speed. To get a good resolution there should be a narrow aperture and slow shutter speed. Increase the exposure time to get a clear image. For example, a camera with a high f/stop (depth of field) aperture value and low shutter speed 1/X (secs) gives a good resolution. f number determines the amount of light entering the aperture and the time of exposure of the shutter is denoted by seconds.

Film Speed
Film speed is one of the important parameters in determining the quality of a picture. The sensitivity of light towards the photographic film determines the film speed. ISO system has been introduced to measure the film speed. Higher the film speed, higher the sensitivity. But a high film speed (high ISO value) results in poor quality of the image.

Portrait Photography Tips

Behavior of light, intensity, brightness and contrast are the important parameters for portrait photography lighting. Controlling the intensity and brightness can be done in studios with the help of strobes. There are devices such as gobos, snoots, scrims, grid spots and barn doors, which can direct the light according to the need of the photographer and create different effects. The light’s color temperature is also one of the factors governing portrait photography. Contrast of the image is dependent on the size of light source and the distance from the object. These are the basic know-how of portrait photography. However it is always best to LEARN photography tricks from a professional photographer.

Digital Photography Tips

Digital photography also has the same basic principles of lighting. Know to handle the camera with subtlety and use your creative skills to get a good resolution. The tips and tricks are simple. Know the buttons, adjust the techniques and click.