Improve Your Nighttime Photography with Five Easy Tips

Posted on 20 March 2020


Unlike during the day, nighttime photography affords you a chance to capture stunning images. The moon, the stars and the northern lights are just a few options. If you want to explore the cosmos with your camera, here are five ways to get started:

1. Choose a Subject

This can be challenging. It’s hard to find things to photograph in the dark. Camera settings are different at night, too. It’s best to select a subject before you start and choose the place where you want to photograph it.

2. Experiment with Moonlight

If you want to photograph the moon, you’ll have to consider its phases. Every phase will give you different lighting potentials, and all moon phases are equally photogenic. Full moons brighten the sky. They give you fewer dark shadows and a brilliantly lit landscape. To track the moon’s phases, check out an app called The Photographer’s Ephemeris. It can help you to plan where you want the moon to appear in your photos.

3. Select a Location

By familiarizing yourself with a location during daylight, you’ll have a better grip on what you want to photograph after dark. Daytime location scouting will also save you the trouble of being unable to see your surroundings after nightfall.

When you choose a location in advance, you’ll have a better chance of creating the right composition. You can augment your photograph by combining it with other elements like trees, architecture, mountains, a waterfall or a body of water.

4. Use a Tripod

A tripod will stabilize the camera and help you to create sharper and brighter images. If you don’t have a tripod, try placing the camera on a flat surface to keep it steady while you’re taking your photo.

Keeping the camera steady is an essential part of nighttime photography. The tiniest movement can throw the image off. Even pressing the shutter button will move the camera slightly. Adding a remote trigger for the shutter button can keep your image from being disturbed.

5. Increase Your ISO

ISO gauges the sensitivity of the image sensor. The lower the number, the less sensitive your camera will be to light and the finer the grain in the image. A higher ISO lets you use a faster shutter speed, and that helps to freeze movement.

To capture distinctive nighttime photos, slower shutter speeds or longer exposures may be necessary. However, longer exposures might not compliment the images you’re photographing. In that case, you’ll have to increase the ISO setting to help you shoot faster in lower light.

Raising the ISO to 3200 or 6400 will give you a finer image and a brighter exposure with a shorter shutter speed. However, the higher your ISO, the noisier the image. For evening photos, try to find a slightly slower shutter speed.

Shoot for a setting between 1 to 30 seconds and a medium ISO of around 1000 or 3200. You might want to increase the ISO slightly if you’re working with star trails, fireballs or the Milky Way.

Learn and Travel with Steinberg Photography

Now that you’ve learned about nighttime photography, you’re ready to get out there and take some pictures! Have you ever considered honing your skills on a photography adventure? Now is a great time to go with professional photographers Jim and Lori Steinberg of Steinberg photography. We offer numerous exciting workshops and tours that are great for photographers of all skill levels.

Thanks for reading!
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