Go ahead, grab your camera and set off into the dark. Add a container of coffee while you're at it. Photographing at night has special challenges but they're easy to overcome with practice.
|"Happy 4th" photo credit krwHome|
My blogs to date have been for my beginning photography readers. This one is for more advanced photography readers. Beginners, don't despair. We will cover manual settings, f-stops and shutter speeds in a future blog.
When photographing at night you will use a long exposure setting with the flash turned off. Take plenty of shots at different exposure settings - from say 1 second to 25 seconds. Use the manual setting on your camera.
It helps if you can view your photos in-camera as you go along to compare your shots and make any setting adjusts. Both my Point and Shoot camera and my dSLR have settings for long exposures. Read your specific camera's manual on how to set yours.
|"Sonoma Boulevard" photo credit krwHome|
Using your tripod and your camera's self-timer or a remote shutter release are absolute necessities. A tripod alone with you tripping the shutter will more than likely give you blurred photos. The self-timer or remote shutter release allow you to release the shutter without shaking the camera.
Most any type of lens from a wide angle to a short telephoto will work. Because I want to make sure I can get everything in the frame I carry a couple of lenses with me.
Tips for photographing neon signs at night:
- Get as close to the sign as you can.
- Turn off your flash. The flash will distort the overall colors and effect.
- Open up your aperture (f-stop) to its fullest extent. F-stop is measured with numbers: 2.8, 4.0, 5.6, 8.0, etc. Keep this number as low as you can. Example: 2.8 lets more light in than 4.0, etc.
- Do not go below 1/100th of a second on your shutter speed.
- Set the ISO as high as you can.
Adjust the white-balance of your camera for ambient light. If you balance your camera for daylight, your photo will have a warm glow. A tungsten balance will make the sky appear more bluish. Check your camera’s manual on how to make these adjustments. These adjustments may not be possible with a Point and Shoot camera. My Point and Shoot, however, has specific settings for fireworks and other night shots so definitely check your manual.
Looking for night scenes with lots of bright colors is fun. Try city lights, crowded city streets, buildings with lots of neon lighting, even bridges.
What ideas does this blog post bring to mind for your night photo sessions?