HOW TO PHOTOGRAPH AT NIGHT - inspirations/ideas/tips

14:12 thejourneyneverends 0 Comments

Photographing at night is not that easy, especially if we don't have a proffesional camera. Unfortunately most mobile phones will not be able to photograph well at night. The biggest problem of course is the lack of a sufficient lighting. One of the solution is obviously the use of flash (I use a built-in flash in my camera Nikon D5100, which is not that strong as an external flash which you can buy as a separate element). But the use of flash is usually not the good solution to take a good photo at night. Why? Let's say that we want to photograph the city at night. The view which you want to capture abounds in plenty of colourful lights, shades etc. - and that's the beauty of night photography. When using a flash in that situation we deprive our photography of this beauty.

So how to take a good photo at night without a flash?


ISO settings

The key-thing in a night photography is ISO. Probably most mobile phones don't have ISO settings, but cameras - yes, of course. In my Nikon D5100 I have it on the right side in the settings of the current mode. Why is this so important when taking a night photography and how it works? The lower the ISO number, the less sensitive the camera is to the light, so that means that if you have a low number of ISO (let's say 300), your picture taken at night or in a not sufficient light will be blurred. While a higher ISO number increases the sensitivity of your camera, so if you have a high number of ISO, your picture taken at night or in a not sufficient light will be sharp. The ISO settings are especially important when shooting with a basic lense (which is usually sold with the body of a camera). I have a basic lense I bought with the main body, this is AF-S NIKKOR 18-55 mm, 3.5-5.6.

So in case you didn't know - yes, some lenses manages with poor light conditions better than others.

P.S. It's probable that in some cameras in automatic modes the ISO is set automatically by the camera, so you may be not able to change that. If that's so, try to use manual setting (I mean manual mode) because you have there a lot of possibilities to set the camera, so you can be very creative then. But in my Nikon D5100 I can set the ISO also in automatic modes, for example in a mode for taking portraits at night.

Don't move/shake etc. while taking photos

It's obvious, but for some people difficult. First of all we have to understand that there are some rules how to hold a camera - one hand (the more efficient - in most cases it's the right one) holds the main body of the camera (usually the shape of the camera is adjusted to it) and another one holds the lense (and at a pinch zooms). Secondly, our hands have to be as close to our body as possible to prevent them from shaking (!). Alternatively, we can use some object (like a wall or something) to prop ourselves against this object, to stay still.

Inspirations & Ideas:

Look for lights and water

The best thing about photography at night are lights of the street/city etc. which contrast with each other. Sometimes such photography looks unbelievably magical! Use this fact and try to photograph lit streets, bridges, especially when they contrast with water.
In Prague I photographed the lit city and the water - lights throw shadows on the water, you can see what a beautiful effect we can achieve in this way. 
I'm also including some examples of ISO numbers of taken photos.

ISO - 4000

ISO- 5000

ISO- 6400

ISO- 5000

As you can see ISO numbers of photos above are very high.

Look for lit buildings

Especially on Market Squares of Old Towns we can find a lot of beautifully-lit buildings that can be a great inspiration for a night photography.

But remember... sometimes "not sharp" does not have to mean "not interesting"...

See more photos from Prague here
See more photos from Kraków here

The photos were taken by Nikon D5100 18-55 mm

And what are your inspirations, ideas and tips for night photography?

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