The Secrets of Digital Night Photography

HeatherT514 By HeatherT514, 6th Oct 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Art>Photography

Learn the secrets of taking a picture at night, and make your photographs shine!!

Create dark and dramatic photos

For those who don't know the technique, taking a photograph at night may not be an easy task. For most people who have attempted a night-shot, their photos have probably turned out dull, dark, 2-dimensional, and with very little vibrancy. The following will teach you the "secret" to taking beautiful night-time photographs.

The most common mistake people make is to come to the conclusion "There is little light, so I must use my flash". Your camera's flash is a bright, and very harsh light. It has a range of only 10 to 12 feet. If you attempt to take a night-time photo using your camera's flash, you will end up with a photograph that is to bright in the front, and very dull and dark in the background. You must learn to turn your camera's flash off.

With your camera's flash off, where are you going to get the light needed for your photo? Inside of your camera, there is a tiny shutter, which opens and closes to let light pass through it. When your camera's flash is on, the shutter opens and closes very quickly, as to not allow to much light in, and over expose your photograph. Now that you have turned your flash off, however, you need to slow your shutter's speed down, so that it remains open for a longer period of time, and therefore able to gather as much light as possible.

"Shutter Speed" is the amount of time that the shutter of your camera remains open. Shutter speed is measure in seconds, or fractions of a second. For example, 1/200 would be one-two hundredths of a second. This may seem slightly confusing, but the basic detail that you need to remember is this: The larger the denominator is in the fraction, the faster your shutter speed will be. (1/1000 would be an extremely fast shutter speed, whereas 1/30 would be a very slow speed) Since we want to slow down our shutter for night-time photos, you may try 1/30 or 1/15 as a shutter speed.

With most cameras, you can adjust the shutter speed from the main menu. Some more advanced cameras will allow you to do this from the settings button on top of your camera. You simply turn the switch to "Shutter Priority" which is normally noted by an "S" on your control switch.

Because you've adjust your camera's setting to make your camera's shutter stay open longer, your camera is now very sensitive to movement and camera shake. Since naturally, most people hands to shake a little, and this can cause a blurry photo, it is always a good idea to use a tripod. If the shutter speed is very low, it may also be a good idea to use the camera's timer, since just the movement of you pushing the button could cause blur.

With the new information you have just learned, you are more than ready to take beautiful, dramatic, night-time photographs!


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Meet the author

author avatar HeatherT514
I am a single, work from home mom of two. I began writing at a very young age, and now use my love of writing to support myself and my children.

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