If you are one of those photographers who only shot during daylight or even if you shot through the night but you feel like there is something wrong with your photos, or you cannot adjust your night photography settings, Are they too shiny? too noisy? Don’t worry the answer to all of your questions is here.
The good thing is it’s not really about how professional your camera is rather than how professional you are, in the words of the Nikon school instructor and night photography enthusiast Reed Hoffmann says that Night photography cannot be a question of taking a picture in a low light place, but night photography is when you’re trying to do something that will be special.
You may also be interested in night photography techniques
Night photography settings
One thing you really need to adjust before shooting at night is to adjust the white balance, mostly your DSLR is able to capture accurate colors whatever the lighting. However, auto white balance is often way better when you are shooting in daylight, there is certain indicators that your auto white balance isn’t set right like if the light is tending to be more orange so if the colours are not quite normal the standard solution is to hold a white object and adjust the (AWB) to it
The Tripod is one of the most important tools you will need as a photographer in your night photography settings as it’s an essential thing while shooting at night.
The tripod is your number one friend if there isn’t much light and you have to make the most of it, most importantly for shooting the moving lights of the cars that look like a landscape of magic lights and to guarantee a more stable picture use the camera self-timer.
What if there isn’t a Tripod for example if you are using a Nikon then why not use the D-SLRs that will allow you to shoot at high ISO’s and get beautiful pictures that would be an important note to be put in your mind while you are preparing your night photography settings.
Controlling the autofocus, when you are shooting a place, landscape or a person, etc… you are probably going to take more than one photo so if you set a self-timer the camera will search for the focus before it takes the photo and to avoid that look for the place in the photo that got some brightness and turn on autofocus and point to it then turn off autofocus and wait for the light out then take the photo.
Now metering matrix is good and totally recommended while shooting in daylight, at night photography settings your own exposure compensation is better especially that you know where is the best part that you care about the most in the picture so if you are experienced enough you could adjust your own exposure compensation from your perspective to get the best result.
Any photo taken before any editing will have some noise in it that will look like grain now the more you increase you ISO setting the more you will see this grain, and this noise can be easily loosed by using custom setting in your camera or by using an editing software.
We all know that flash is not something that we all like giving you this unnatural look in the pictures but what if you have to use it then we better make it look normal.
Flash is a must for portraits with low light, the trick here is to make the fact that you have used the flash less obvious, the best way to do this is to use the flash with a long shutter speed it’s called the slow sync technique and the best thing about it that it’s easy to set up on your DSLR and it works really well
Shoot wide in the night, try to set the aperture setting as wide as possible like a 35mm f/1.4 and if you don’t have a fast prime lens then f/4 is good enough and remember to test your lens in daylight to see it’s sharpness with a wide open aperture.
Take care in your night photography settings that are a higher ISO is required if you’re shooting under the moonlight to make the camera more sensitive to low light, you won’t need to go over ISO 1600 except if you’re shooting dark or starry skies then go for ISO 3600.
Some really important tips before you go to shoot this time
starting with number one which is to make a plan for your shot, wherever you live in it’s always better to get away from street light as much as you can and as I said before autofocus at night is tricky if you can avoid it and focus your shot to infinity then it’s better and if you spent some money to buy a tripod then gently spend some time to make sure the tripod mounted on a stable base preferably a rocky one, this will be enough to make sure there is no movement during the exposure times and if your tripod isn’t heavy enough then you will probably find a place in the centre column to hang your camera that will make you free to adjust your night photography settings freely and also you will need to reprocess your image through an editing software back at home even if you are not editing it at least to remove the noise in the photo.
now put all these tips aside and this last one on the side
it’s all about your imagination in the end, you have the tools and now you know how it’s done whether you are a professional or you are doing it because you love it or even for fun, all the editing skills can be learned all the camera setting can be memorized all the tricks will come by practice and remember that the only way you will be professional in night photography settings is by practicing and being creative.
** NOTE ** If you’d like to know more about this subject, learn more about this new course on night photography here, so you can take stunning night photos too!