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How to take photos at night: 10 night photography tips

Despite advances in technology, SLR cameras and smartphone cameras are still not able to take perfect pictures in low light conditions. And so far, the equipment has little effect on this.

When it comes to shooting in the dark, getting a perfect photo is not enough just to catch the subject in focus and press the shutter button. Today we will tell you how to take a high-quality picture at night. To do this, we have prepared 10 main tips.

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Turn off the built-in flash

Many beginners, faced with shooting in low light conditions, immediately turn on the flash. However, this is the last thing worth asking for help. By turning on the flash integrated in the camera or smartphone, you are almost guaranteed to ruin the photo due to improper exposure.

A flash highlights those objects that reflect light first. That is why in poor light conditions it is better not to use it. This is especially important in cases where you need to capture some specific details of an object or composition is simply important to you.

Adjust exposure

Try to manually adjust the exposure. In low light conditions it is better not to rely on the automatic settings of the camera, but to set the values ​​of all parameters (ISO, exposure time, etc.) yourself. They should be controlled depending on the number of light sources and the purpose of shooting.

Use a tripod

For night shooting, a longer shutter speed is required, therefore, for a better quality of the final picture, you need to use a tripod. If the camera does not stand still while taking the photo, the image will be blurred and distorted.

Using a tripod, you can adjust the angle and even the height of the camera. It is much more convenient than the usual support on a flat surface (wall or table). Today on sale you can find portable tripods that will improve the quality of images and do not take up much space in your bag.

Use the remote control

During shooting, the camera should remain stationary for a long time. Even the slightest touch on the smartphone screen or the shutter button may be enough to distort the photo. To avoid such problems, use a timer or remote control.

Such devices control the shutter using special software. Therefore, pressing the button is not able to disturb the camera and distort the picture.

Take RAW photos

You can take pictures in RAW format not only on SLR digital cameras, but also on the latest smartphone models. This format is especially useful for night shots, as it contains all the image data.

And when it comes to night shooting, even the smallest details matter. Including for subsequent editing. If you take photos in JPEG or any other compressed format, you will irretrievably lose a large amount of important data. All this will negatively affect the post-processing of images. Use RAW instead of JPEG if you want to unleash the full potential of your camera.

Do not rush and experiment

It is highly unlikely that the first time you get a good night shot. That is why take your time and experiment with various settings in order to experimentally understand which parameters are best suited specifically for this situation.

Adjust ISO, shutter speed and aperture size, and then evaluate the resulting shot. Try changing some parameters and compare the resulting photos. So you will immediately understand what works and what doesn’t. This will help to achieve a better result.

Use bracketing and HDR

Depending on the purpose of the shooting, it can be extremely difficult to achieve the correct exposure in different parts of the picture. Especially if you are trying to photograph an object whose details are at different distances from the camera (for example, receding stones when shooting a landscape).

You may need bracketing to get the perfect balance in your night shot. This is a combination of several pictures with different shutter speeds. It can be done manually or automatically (simply by turning on HDR ).

Having made several images with different exposures, and then combining them into a single photo using any photo editor, you can achieve the desired result for the final shot, with the correct exposure.

Make sure that enough light is falling on the subject.

If you do not set yourself the goal of shooting a silhouette, be sure to make sure that the desired subject is sufficiently lit compared to the background environment. In general, this is fairly obvious advice. But when working with night scenes, even a minimal light source in the background can lead to shadowing of the main subject.

It is especially important to follow this when photographing objects near brightly lit streets and residential buildings. In this case, you need to make sure that the object is positioned properly and benefits from the surrounding lighting. If this does not work, then for shooting you will have to use an additional light source.

Adjust white balance

As for lighting, there are nuances here. Especially when we talk about artificial light. Since it can be the only source of illumination at night, you will most likely have to adjust the white balance additionally.

Depending on the light source, the color scheme of the image may appear too warm or cold. Therefore, you need to understand in advance what result you want to achieve, and then adjust the white balance.

Sometimes a warm hue penetrating the building from the street can give the picture an unusual appearance. But if your main goal is to achieve a more neutral tone, or if you simply strive for a cold color scheme, then setting the white balance will compensate for this difference.

Choose your location wisely

If your goal is to photograph strictly defined objects or landscapes, then determine the location in advance. After all, one shooting day can take several hours. And you probably won’t want someone to bother you in the process.

Also, don't forget about security if you don't want someone trying to harm you or your equipment in the process. Be sure to inspect your intended film set before heading there. To work in some areas, you may need additional permission to shoot or stay at night. It will not be superfluous to bring along a colleague-photographer or just a friend who could insure you in case of any unforeseen situations.

These recommendations should be followed even if you do not plan to spend too much time shooting. It is important that nothing distracts you during work and that you do not have to take photos in a hurry. After all, then you will have time for experiments, you can play with different angles and composition.

In general, for night shooting you are unlikely to need an expensive camera or some special equipment. Following these recommendations, which we described above, you will definitely notice the difference in images when working at night.

Source: www.makeuseof.com

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