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Updated on December 28, 2010

Taking Great Night Pictures is Easy

Know about the menu selections, the flash, the timer and get the camera out of your hands and you will have stunning night photographs. This hub uses the Nikon L10 camera for discussion purposes. Nikon is currently up to the L22 model, its controls are very similar to the L10 (it uses a button instead of a slide for mode selection) and my L6 controls are nearly identical to the L10. Other small digital cameras I have seen have controls and menus similar to the Nikon; so what applies to the Nikon should apply to most other digital cameras.

Nags Head Pier at Night

Mode and Menu

 Put the camera in scene mode by moving the slide into the center, scene position. Push the menu button to display the scene choices. Select Night Portrait if you are taking a picture of something close, in the foreground such as a person. The camera will focus on an object near to the camera. If a more panoramic picture is being taken select Night Landscape. The camera will not focus on a particular object and pretty much focus on everything it “sees”. If there are items close to the camera they will not be in focus. The menu items are selected by pushing the top or bottom of the selector button (button with OK in the middle) then pushing OK. The picture above was taken with an L6 and I think it is decent.

Scene Menu


Turn the flash off. Push the lightning bolt symbol on the selector button, select the bolt with the cross out line, and push ok.


Push the clock symbol on the selector button; a box will appear; select “on” using the selector button, push OK. The timer must be turned on for each picture.

Ready to Shoot with Timer on

Steady as She Goes

When the timer is used, the camera will take the picture itself so you can take your hands off the camera thus avoiding shaking the camera and blurring the picture. The camera must be supported however, a tripod is the best way to support the camera but not totally necessary if something else is handy like a trash can, car hood or fence post. Regardless you must get you hands off the camera. Under low light conditions the camera will use a very long exposure time, no one can keep the camera steady for the duration of the exposure, hence the timer use.

Camera on a Tripod


Frame the picture on the monitor, push the shutter button ½ way and obtain the green focus indicator and push all the way then stand back for the 10 seconds while the picture timer counts down; a great picture will be the result.

I Like This One


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    • Edward Kirk profile image

      Edward Kirk 7 years ago from Maryland

      A digital camera set in any of the automatic modes will self adjust the ISO, aperture and exposure time. Taking pictures in the manual mode as you suggest can certainly be fun but also result in MANY poor quality/spoiled pictures until the photographer achieves the skill needed to take manual pictures. Manually setting the ISO, aperture and exposure time does nothing to remove shake so a tripod is still necessary as is use of the timer.

    • Harry Santos profile image

      Harry Santos 7 years ago from Metro Manila, Philippines

      it's all about big opening (aperture) and slow shutter. Try not to get so high on the ISO might get grainy.

    • profile image

      Eileen 7 years ago

      love the fishing pier picture.

    • profile image

      Edward Kirk 7 years ago

      You will have a good time with the camera, I always have mine nearby and I am always looking for a photo op. Thanks for the comment

    • elayne001 profile image

      Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      Thanks so much. I have a Nikon Coolpix too and now I have some experimenting to do. Aloha!

    • profile image

      redactic 7 years ago from usa

      After researching many weeks regarding digital cameras, I deciced to go with the L15 Kit. The camera took nice pictures, but overall, it was not the camera for me.

    • rebekahELLE profile image

      rebekahELLE 7 years ago from Tampa Bay

      nice instructions. thanks for sharing. using a tripod helps, but I never thought of using other stationary objects. thanks for the tips.