Night photography

Night photography is a subject, many serious amateur photographers would be interested in. This subject demands a good knowledge in exposure techniques and composition.

Night photography imagess can be for urban or night sky. Urban night shots are comparatively easy as cities provide good bright artificial street lights to capture an image, even if we are not using a tripod. This subject is shot either for beauty of lights arranged in the street or on a building, or it is shot for an urban landscape, lit at night with artificial light source.



We can set the camera at higher ISO setting but avoid it as far as possible as higher ISO value will increase noise artifact in an image. Use a tripod or rest the camera on either hood of a car or a wall or any other rigid object. Obviously, any movements in the frame, of moving cars and people will be recorded as a motion blur, but this blur can be used as a creative effect in night photography. A long exposure will record the head light of a moving car as a strong line. This element of line can be used effectively, and proper placement will create a pleasing composition.


White balance of camera adjustments can be set on auto or pre set mode. However, we can experiment with different settings to get entire new look of an image by color shift in night photography.

As most of shots include light source in night photography, we can add a cross star filter effect. Read more about cross star filters.

Night photography for the sky, or stars require a sturdy tripod. If we want to capture light of stars, then in order to capture perfect exposure, we need a long exposure time. Now, even if the camera is well secured on a sturdy tripod, the movement will be recorded because of the rotation of the earth. (70 mm lens will capture motion of stars if the exposure is exceeding fifteen seconds. This time limit depends on the focal length of the lens. More the focal length, less the time.)

In such case, we can use a special attachment, which is to be fixed between the tripod and the camera. This attachment is a mechanical device, which slowly and smoothly rotates the camera. Rotation is synchronised with the rotation of the earth. So it will take care of the movement of the earth and even if the exposure time is exceeding twenty seconds, we will get a sharp image of stars.


Photograph by: Anwarali Kapasi

If we want to shoot the moon, then the shutter speed should be 125th of a second and aperture at f 16 for 100 ISO. Surprising, right? Yes. Although we are shooting at night, but actually we are shooting the object, which is well lit by bright sun light. To capture correct exposure with details, we need the exposure at EV-15 for the sun light, which is equivalent to above shutter speed and aperture settings.

While using the moon light in night photography as the light source, we will need a long exposure, which will depend on the brightness of the moon light. This is a type of available light photography, which we can explore as night photography.



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