Night photography is not the easiest style within photography. We have to deal with a lot of technical and environmental limitations that can seem impossible at the beginning. Therefore, I have listed for you some tips and tricks to think about. Preparing your shoot will make you feel more in control over the situation and explore the creativity that lies in night photography.
Look for light
Light will always be one of the most important parts of photography, especially within night photography. Make sure to bring a light source or look for light on the location itself. Think about different intensities, colors and angles to play with and create different effects.
Prep the right gear
Preparing the right gear to bring a long on a shoot will make night photography become slightly easier. Tripods will for example make it easier to lower your shutter speed which help to take lighter images. Preferably using a lens with only one focal length and a low aperture number. A zoom lens always loses a bit of light that enters the lens. The lower the number the more open the lens will be and the more light can get in. Reflectors can sometimes be useful as well, if you have a strong light source you want to bounce or even block.
The main subject
Think about the main subject, is it a person, a building or a prop? What is the best way to photograph your subject and can you do anything about the clothes or background for example? It might be a very reflective prop, which can become difficult to work with in low light situations.
When you are in a dark environment it is easy to just bump up your ISO and lower your shutter speed. However, this won’t be the best decision if you still want your images to look sharp. The newest cameras seem to have a lot more dynamic reach which means that you can use higher ISO numbers before noticing the decrease in quality.
When you lower your shutter speed, more light will enter the camera but tiny movements you make while holding the camera will blur you image. It will be wisely to use a tripod to limit the camera movements as much as possible. If you don’t have a tripod, I would recommend you not lowering your shutter speed below 80 and try to keep it very still. You can also try to find a place to safely place your camera on, like a bench or wall, and use that as a tripod.
Last but not least is the manual focus. Your camera will struggle with finding a focus point if there isn’t much light available. This is why manual focusing would be needed and a good practice.
Always take test images during as shoot and check the sharpness. The last thing you want is arriving back home after a shoot and discovering your images are either too dark or blurred.