Basics Night Photography Tricks

  • Slow down the shutter speed. This allows more light in but anything slower than 1/60 second and you will need a tripod to avoid camera shake. This technique is good for taking photos of landscapes or city traffic. However it may not be that useful if you are photographing people who are constantly moving. If you are photographing moving people, keep the shutter speed above 1/60 and use flash instead.
  • Lower the F Stop value, this will allow you to shoot in low light without a flash. Keep in mind low F Stop values make it more difficult to focus on your subject. Once again if you have a flash with you, you don’t need to use low F stop values.
  • Bump up your ISO. If you have a high quality camera eg Canon 5D Mark 3, these new cameras have great low light performance. Even at a high ISO, there is not as much digital noise as you’d expect. I usually bump up my ISO around 1000-1600 if needed. Keep in mind, if you bump up your ISO too much your image will be very noisy and grainy which is not very desirable.
  • Use Flash! Gotta love the flash. I tend to use a diffuser with the flash eg Gary Fong Lightsphere and I never point the flash at the subject. I always have the flash pointing on the ceiling or bouncing it off a wall or something. Pointing the flash away from your subject is also another good technique, it gives you just enough soft light to photograph your subject without blinding them. My recommendation is the Canon Speedlite 600 Ex-Rt. I have 2 of these units, they are pretty amazing, compact and portable. Great for wedding gigs and studio work. Using flash will give you so much more flexibility when shooting at night. You don’t have to go extremes on your camera settings when you are using flash.
  • Use off camera Flash. Having your flash off the camera will generally give better lighting and gives you more flexibility in controlling your lighting. If you have umbrellas, softboxes or reflectors these light modifiers will give you even better lighting. Have a play around and see what you come up with.