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Tips on Night Photography

Updated on March 19, 2013
Surigao City Plaza at Night
Surigao City Plaza at Night
Tagum City at night
Tagum City at night

Tips for better night and low-light photographs


Night Photography is probably one of the hardest areas of Photography and it is also one of the most interesting. It’s because night photography involves low light subjects. Although they look interesting, this introduces blur and noise in an image. So here are a few tips to make those night photographs look better.

Steady the Camera. This is very important. Low light means longer exposure times which means more blur for a given movement. To avoid blur you need to find a way to steady your camera. Use a tripod or put your camera in a steady surface. Use your viewfinder – it’s a more stable position.

Use Slow Sync Flash. Instead of the normal flash, use slow sync flash. Slow sync flash combines the flash of your camera and slow shutter speeds so be sure to steady your camera. Using Slow Sync allows you to capture your subject and its background.

Use Long Shutter. When there is too little light, like when you are trying to take a picture of a city from the mountain, the regular shutter speed is not enough. Use the long shutter settings of your camera to allow more light into your sensor. Be sure to use a tripod though. This gives an interesting mix of colors to the picture. It is also the way to shoot light streaks from the head lights of moving cars.

Increase ISO Sensitivity. Only increase your ISO sensitivity if the longest shutter speed does not give correct exposure or you want faster shutter speeds. Higher ISO settings introduce noise in the image but it also increases the sensitivity of your sensor, allowing faster shutter speeds or brighter image. Noise are specks in the image which is caused by the uneven amount of light hitting the sensors.

Use a Noise Removal Tool. Night Photography always have noise and noise makes an image look mottled or grainy. Using a noise removal tool like Noise Ninja or the built-in filters of Adobe Photoshop will make the photograph look better. Be aware though that these programs can only remove noise up to a certain extent. And when there are too much noise and you use a high setting in these programs, your photograph will look plastic-like. So always keep your ISO settings as low as possible.

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    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 5 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Once again you have some very good advice here. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us. Voted up and useful. Have a great day! :)

    • profile image

      gkkarthic 5 years ago

      Hi SG, nice hub - but I would have liked it if you had explained the aperture settings as well, considering you have written the hub from an SLR/DSLR camera perspective.

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 5 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      gkkarthic, I am afraid I did not write this hub. I commented on the hub as you did. The hub was written by leakeem. I just wanted to clarify for you. Have a wonderful day! :)

    • profile image

      gkkarthic 5 years ago

      Hey SG, sorry - my mistake :P

    • leakeem profile image
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      leakeem 5 years ago from Earth

      actually, this article is also very useful for compact users. Most compact nowadays have these settings. But anyway, thank you for the suggestion. I'll try to add that. =)

    • That Grrl profile image

      Laura Brown 4 years ago from Barrie, Ontario, Canada

      I'm still getting the hang of using flash. It seems to wash out everything or turn my entire background black when I actually do use it at night.

    • leakeem profile image
      Author

      leakeem 4 years ago from Earth

      Try changing the ISO settings, lower the ISO if images seemed to be washed out, and Increase it if things look too dark. If you are photographing distant subjects at night, external flash is most helpful.

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