Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Workin' On My Night Moves... and Yours


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. 




"Night Light"


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:

  1. Get as close to the sign as you can.
  2. Turn off your flash.  The flash will distort the overall colors and effect.
  3. 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.
  4. Do not go below 1/100th of a second on your shutter speed.
  5. 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?







20 comments:

Aaron said...

I love night photography. I haven't ventured into that realm yet but I will be there soon enough.
I just am waiting for a nice fast wide prime :)

There is something about walking the quiet streets of night that is so peaceful. Plus the images that are produced can be breathtaking.

Light does some funky things under the dark skies of night

Healing Morning said...

Mari, I'm an amateur photographer with no aspirations to become a professional. That being said, I always enjoy finding blogs that give helpful tips in a user friendly format - I'll be coming back to visit regularly now that I've found you. :)

Namaste',
Dawn

Alfandi said...

nice tips...I love photographing festivals that are in the night with a lot of colorful lights...the photos will be lively...

JIM said...

Some great night shoots You do a great job with your tips. Good Work


Jim

http://jpweddingphotograpy.blogspot.com/2011/04/every-photographers-fantasy-threesome.html

Mitzi said...

Excellent tips...I fear I still fall into the beginners category, though I totally understood what you were saying. My challenges are with flowers. (the one posted today was taken with an iPhone due to over brightness of flowers when taking with camera...even on the flower setting) I think it may be the camera. Anyways, love the photos in this post! Awesome!

Mari Sterling Wilbur said...

@Aaron - don't wait for a prime lens - try the one(s) you have now - you'll be surprised.

@Healing Morning - I'm so happy you like the posts - I love your blog.

@Alfandi and Jim - you know I love your photos - you are both amazing.

@Mitzi - your photos are lovely, keep up the great work and practice, practice, practice. :D

Sailor said...

Thanks for the tips. Now I am getting little information on what I do wrong while I take pictures in the night.

Thanks again for sharing it.

melissa said...

this is totally cool mari... although i haven't pursued my interest in photography, i consider this the best :)... thanks for the tips...

i have never succeeded in taking night shots... once, we went to serangoon to shoot the streets because of the deepavali festival... and it's supposed to celebrate lights...hmmm... anyways...

i'll try these tips out ;)

cookingvarieties said...

hi mari- beautiful night photography-- so many tips that has to be followed when doing night photos... tho i am amateur and barely grasp what you teach, nevertheless thanks for sharing

Jessica Brant said...

Mari,
You have such a gift I am in awe of the 4th of July photo and the close up of the light post.

xoxoxo
Jessica

Señorita said...

That first shot is outstanding... I love the color of the night sky. Thank you for inspiring :)

http://ladyonaroof.blogspot.com/

Jorie Pacli said...

Those are really perfect shots in the night lights.... I must admit being an amateur photographer, I really struggled taking photos especially in dark surroundings. I'm not sure if it has something to do with the shutter speed or perhaps the flash..... Dang, I don't really know. Like what you've said, I think I really have to study the features of my camera and follow those tips that you mentioned. Thanks Mari for sharing.:)

Mummy@Bod for tea said...

I love that photo of the fireworks Mari, so beautiful! I have a night setting on my camera, must try it out one of these evenings...

Lucylastica2 said...

Find your tips really useful as a novice who just enjoys taking photos for personal enjoyment.

David said...

Love night time photography but alas it doesn't like me. It's best left to the pros like you but I find the tips very helpful. One day I will get a real camera, sure that has alot to do with my problems. Thanks for the tips!! :)

Mari Sterling Wilbur said...

My suggestion is if you are new or fairly new to photography is to pick one of the automatic mode settings on your camera and read about it in your camera's manual. Then practice taking lots of photos just on that setting and take the photos at various times and at various locations. Keep notes on when, where, and how. Compare your photos and in no time you will master that setting. It's thrilling! :D

sugeng prajitno said...

very interesting

sugeng prajitno said...

very interesting

Lucylastica2 said...

Find your tips really useful as a novice who just enjoys taking photos for personal enjoyment.

JIM said...

Some great night shoots You do a great job with your tips. Good Work


Jim

http://jpweddingphotograpy.blogspot.com/2011/04/every-photographers-fantasy-threesome.html