Night Photography – tips and ideas for great shots

Night photography is fun. Great fun. 🙂

I love to photograph all types of landscapes, including urban landscapes. The shot below was taken on Cockatoo Island in Sydney, Australia.

This scene immediately attracted me…

There are lots of different techniques you can try with night photography , but first some ‘musts‘.

1. You need a tripod – a good sturdy tripod. So many people buy an expensive camera and then purchase a flimsy tripod – it just doesn’t make any sense. A tripod can easily be knocked over when you’re in the dark. Expensive gear can be knocked over very easily. 😦

2. A cable release -it can be wireless or attached to the camera with a cable. Either way they eliminate any movement when pressing the shutter (even whilst using a tripod)

If you don’t have a cable release familiarise yourself with the ‘self timer’ on your camera. This device gives either a 2 or 10 second delay between pressing the shutter release and the shutter firing.

3. I always have a torch when shooting at night. Great for finding gear in your bag and checking settings on the camera. Most DSLR’S have a light on the LCD screen on the top. Familiarise yourself with how this works.

4. Turn off the image stabiliser (if your lens has one). This device can also cause movement when it is switched on and is not needed when the camera is on a tripod.

For this photo, I chose not to use the ‘B’ (BULB) setting (which keeps the shutter open for any length of time you determine)

I wanted to see what I could create with a 30 second exposure, so I metered the scene at F8 as I wanted the smallest aperture I could to render most of the image sharp from front to back.

The image was still too dark, so I increased the ISO to 500 and took the shot.

I love this shot. 30 seconds bought out a dark blue in the sky and the green of the buildings. I really like the beginning of the star trails. See the small white marks above the roof of the building? If I had left the shutter open for a longer period (combined with the appropriate aperture) these white marks would have become longer lines that curve into a circle. Look at the star burst from the building light, and the bright green colour of the grass.

This shot was exhibited earlier this year in the ADD ON photography exhibition as part of the Head On Photo Festival. I was very proud to have my work exhibited alongside many other Australian photographers.

Are you into night photography? Do you have any questions about this post?

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments on Facebook , twitter  or pinterest.

Happy shooting 🙂


5 thoughts on “Night Photography – tips and ideas for great shots

  1. Fantastic image and great advice. I also carry with me a laser pointer – it helps autofocus if you can’t work out the hyperfocal length – and a speed light. A couple of pops with a strobe really makes a difference to the scene.

      1. Just pop off a couple of dumps on areas you want to highlight or light against the backdrop – more precise than a torch and quicker so you can control the exposure.

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