How to take night photos

Taking pictures at night demands some prior preparations. First of all, you’d better explore the shooting spot to find the best angle, get to know the lighting possibilities, and decide on the composition.

Then, you’ll have to get prepared for a long wait, as shooting photos at night may take hours. Make sure you have some mittens, a scarf, and a thermos with hot tea or coffee — even summer nights may be pretty chilly.

Mountain nighttime photography

Last but not least, you’ll need additional equipment, hardware, and — most likely — software. Don’t forget to bring a folding chair to make your photo session more comfortable. As for the other items, let’s dive into details.

Equipment for night shots

  • Tripod
  • Scarce night light demands long exposures and slow shutter speed, so the camera should be motionless for 30 seconds or even longer. Each shake will result in a blurry image, so a good, sturdy tripod is a must-have.

    Tripod for nighhtime photography
  • Remote shutter release
  • Pressing the button manually inevitably causes shakes, so it’s better to control your camera without direct contact.

  • Wide-angle lenses
  • Remember, you’ll need all the light you can get without changing the settings.

Camera settings for outdoor portraits and other shots

  • First and foremost, set your camera to the manual mode as the auto one will fail. Then, choose a shutter speed of 30-60 seconds. To create a long depth of field, keep the aperture relatively small, about F/8 or F/16. ISO should be as small as possible; otherwise, pictures will be grainy.

  • Focus should be manual as well. For most cameras, you can try pressing the release button halfway to let the system adjust to the lighting and distance, but it may not work at night. Then twist the camera’s barrel manually.

  • White balance may become tricky, so set it to auto mode. If you are good at it and have time for experiments, try adjusting white balance yourself.

  • Last but not least, make sure you shoot in RAW format. Such photos take more memory, but there is no quality loss during the post-shooting editing.

Top-5 ideas

If you wonder what are the best photos that you can try making, then here is a short list of some places or objects that should look great at night.

  1. Night streets

    There is some magic and ineffable beauty in city pictures at night. You may shoot deserted highways or crowded and neon-lit high streets — every location has its own charm./p>
    Streets nighttime photography
  2. Bridges or museums

    Such locations are usually beautifully lit to attract more tourists. At night they look especially picturesque.

    Bridge nighttime photography
  3. Water

    It may be a colored fountain or glass-like river or lake surface.

    Fountain nighttime photography
  4. Starry sky

    Don’t forget to use long exposure to catch the stars’ paths.

    Starry sky nighttime photography
  5. Fire

    Be it a candle flame or a campfire, it looks magnificent against a night sky or any other dark background.

    Fire nighttime photography