Some of the best shots are taken during the night, but still it has many things that you need to pay attention for. Consequently, night portrait photography is one of the hardest tasks in photography, yet it is one of the most rewarding if done right. In the following lines you are going to find multiple pieces of advice that will save your time and lots of effort.
A General View on Night Portrait Photography
When you are working with night portrait photography, you need to pay attention to the equipment you are working with. For example, you need to provide proper lighting such as spotlights and\or single speedlight. One thing you need to pay
attention to is that night portrait photography entails working outdoors so keep the power source in the back of your mind.
The other thing you need to consider in night portrait photography is the location you are shooting at. For instance, shooting in a busy street is different from shooting in a forest or a backyard. Location is important because the light source differs from one place to another. Too much light is not worse than very dim lighting, so you have to pay attention to that problem.
One of the things that many people do not pay attention to in their night portrait photography is the high ISO settings which makes using shorter exposure times in lower light possible. suggested ISO settings could be between 400 and 1600. However, when using higher ISO you get more “noise” in your photos, but this is all up to the photo style or the mood you are shooting.
Background plays a pivotal role in deciding the epicness in your night portrait photography. As a general rule in night portrait photography, it is better to blur the background in order to focus the attention on the subject of your portrait. Another thing concerning the background is that colored lights usually look amazing in night portraits. One last thing you need to bear in mind is composition, which means that you need to think about the angle of your portrait and not shoot it head-on like most amateurs do.
One of the paradoxes of night portrait photography reminds us of Hamlet; the paradox is “to hold still or not to hold still”! For some night portraits you need to hold your camera completely still.
One extremely helpful too in this is the tripod or practically any stable surface such as a table or resting your elbows on a flat surface. The subject should also hold perfectly still, which should go without saying, in order to get great results. Nonetheless, NOT holding still could come out with amazing results! Snapping the picture while continuing to move until the exposure finishes gives amazing results. However, it is a very complicated and precise procedure, so do not attempt it unless you are quite accomplished photographer. For an extra freaky shot you can set your subject “kind of still.” This is how it goes down: make the subject hold still, press the shutter, when the flash goes off make the subject move and hold still. This will result in giving the subject two heads!
What about the “bokeh”? Bokeh in night portrait photography is the parts of the photo that are not completely in focus. These parts could make the difference between a mediocre night portrait and a great one! Here is a great tip for you: the points of light that are out of focus can presume the shape of the aperture. Therefore, you are able to craft a lens hood with shaped aperture such as a butterfly or a ghost! This gives the night portrait a very nice touch and makes people who see it wonder how you did it.
One last tip about night portrait photography is that you need to mind the local authorities when shooting at night! This detail might escape a lot of photographers, yet it could save you a great deal of troubles. Some places are banned for public at night, yet that may not be completely clear or obvious. Therefore, you need to make sure that the place you are shooting at is not closed or banned for public at night. Make sure that it is allowed to enter the premises before you start shooting in order not to be in trouble.
As for why night portrait photography is so great? You can come up with a million reasons and still not hit the best one! For instance, night is usually when the “magic hour” happens. The magic hour is when the setting saves the photographer a great deal of trouble. In other words, it is as if the setting itself is calling for a photograph! Another special thing about the night portrait photography is that night brings out the best of people! Some call me crazy, but, according to my experience, people have a special aura about them when they are photographed at night! Try taking a simple photo of a friend in the morning, and then try capturing the same person at night and see how even his\her smile changes.
Finally, get your equipment and get your subject and wait for the night. Do not forget about the lights or the bokeh in your night portrait photography. Go out there and be like an owl in order to come up with the best night portrait because night is your true friend and it helps you get the best shots you could ever dream of. Good well hunting for your night portrait photography.
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