Night & Low Light Photography – Quick Tips

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# 1: Shoot RAW – High Quality Images give you flexibility in the Editing Process
• RAW your images will retain the most ‘information’,
• More creative latitude in Post Processing: On things like Color Temp/White Balance), Exposure adjustments
# 2: Use a sturdy tripod.
• Low light/ Night Photography: Low light, long exposures( Exposure that run: 1-30 secs all the way up to several minutes or hours!)
• When you’re shooting on a tripod don’t use image stabilization. Remember to turn it off. Using image stabilization when you are on a tripod will it will reduce image sharpness rather than increase sharpness.
• Not all of your low light work needs a tripod ( A tripod will typically yield better results). Learn and remember to use the ISO settings. Current digital cameras offer exceptional high ISO performance that open up a whole new range of opportunities for low light work.
#3:  Scout your Photo Locations – Pick your night photography locations in advance
• Pick good locations beforehand by scouting out the best spots. Pre-visualize your shots in day light to find the most interesting lights and architecture, compositions.
• Figure out access and hazards of your locations.

• Remember your composition fundamentals when you pick your shots — especially ensure that you do not have any unintended inclusions in your frame!
#4: Use a fast lens
• Each f-stop offers twice the amount of light as the previous one, which will translate into an exposure that lasts half as long (reducing motion artifacts) or one lower ISO rating (reducing noise).
• You can use your lens hood to minimize flares from unwanted sources for low light work that may have light sources as part of composition
#5 Don’t touch your camera! Use A Cable Release Or Intervalometer
• Reduce camera shake. Use a cable release to make exposures. You can use the self-timer mode to delay exposure at least 2 seconds after you touch the shutter release.
• For Star Trails: Especially If you’re stacking multiple exposures to create star trails, consider using an intervalometer to automate timed exposure sequences.
#6: Master the Use Bulb Mode:
• For exposures greater than 30″ you will need to use Bulb exposure mode
• Bulb mode will allow you to explore many creative options for both day & night photography.
• Most other camera modes won’t exceed 30 seconds.
#7: Use Mirror Lock Up
• The slightest internal camera movement can create unwanted camera shake. ( E.g. mirror moving up and down inside your camera)
• You can further reduce motion blur by using the mirror lock up function on your camera – Know where to find it and how to turn it on & Off!
#8: Use the lens sweet spot
Use the ‘sweet spot’ range of apertures for your lenses – this is usually between f/8 and f/16. Make sure you test out your lens and know what work for your set up. This will help you capture the sharpest images. All lenses ( even very expensive ones) don’t produce the best results when used at their maximum and minimum apertures.
#9: Night Focus & Infinity Focus Point
• Learn to Infinity focus your lens .Especially critical for star photography. Focusing on the moon is an easy way to get infinity focus ( but the moon may be absent!), you can focus on distant light sources or use live view to actually get focus on star!
• When possible, use a flashlight to illuminate objects to focus on, focus, then immediately turn off auto-focus, if you haven’t already.
#10: Use Histograms & Test Shots
• Check you histograms — this is the best way to tell if you have a workable image. You can work through your exposure settings to get the image you want by using your histograms as a guide.
• Take test shots – check focus/sharpness, composition before you set of really long exposures or multiple exposure series for night photography. You can bump up your ISO to get a quick test shot that will be brighter than your intended capture – this will help you visually validate your composition.

Other things: Headlamps, light painting equipment, a chair to sit, some beverages to keep you company .

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