Sunday, November 4, 2012

Night/Low Light Photography Tips and Tricks

Adding another post to my tips and tricks topics - Sunbursts, Landscape Locations and now Night/Low Light Photography. Thank you to those of you who take the time to read this and comment. I truly appreciate it! If there is anything you want to know about please feel free to let me know and I will give it a try!

Tips/Tricks (see below for more details)
1. Tripod, Tripod, Tripod!
2. Use a Wireless Remote
3. Pay attention to the light
4. Patience 

Settings: ISO 400, 18mm, ss3.2sec, f/7.1
Portland, OR - February 2012

1. Tripod, Tripod, Tripod! - I carry my tripod with my everywhere I go as you never know what the lighting situation will be when you shoot primarily outdoors. I find it especially important when I want to shoot sunsets, sunrises or in other low light situations. Having a tripod gives you the freedom to use lower shutter speeds and still maintain focus. You never know when you might need it!

Settings: ISO 400, 74mm, ss3.2, f/6.3
Seattle Skyline from Kerry Park - September 2011

Settings: ISO 400, 32mm, ss1/4sec, f/9.0
Sunset Lake in Oregon - August 2012

2. Use a Wireless Remote - Along with a tripod, I also have a wireless remote. Using it instead of pressing the shutter button, even when on a tripod, is another way to cut down on camera shake. If you don't have a remote you can always use the self timer feature.

Settings: ISO 100, 50mm, ss4.0sec, f/11
Sunrise at Kerry Park - October 2012

Settings: ISO 100, 18mm, ss12secs, f/11
Fireworks over Astoria, OR - July 2012

3. Pay attention to the light - This tip could apply to shooting at any time of day, in any light situation. Light makes or breaks a photo. At night and in low light situations the light dictates the need for certain settings, especially when there is a bright light such as the moon. You have to compensate for it so knowing where the light is coming from and what it will do in the camera is important. (This is something I am still learning about.)

Settings: ISO 400, 250mm, ss1/30, f/11
January 2012

Settings: ISO 400, 50mm, ss13.0sec, f/22
Longview, WA - January 2012

4. Patience - One of the biggest things I have learned about Night and Low Light Photography is that you have to be patient to get the best shot. As I mentioned above, knowing about the light is important and knowing that it will change is also important. When shooting sunsets and sunrises in particular, the light is moving and causing changes to the colors in the sky. The best shot can come at any time so I always try to shoot from the beginning to the end in order to catch the light at its most brilliant.

Settings: ISO 200, 163mm, ss1/250, f/10 
Long Beach, WA - March 2012
“The sky grew darker, painted blue on blue, one stroke at a time, into deeper and deeper shades of night.”  ― Haruki Murakami


  1. What beautiful photos, I especially like the Seattle skyline!
    Okay, a tripod is going on my Christmas list! :)

    1. A tripod is a must, you never know when you might need it! I am asking for one for Christmas that can hold more weight than the one I have on my camera bag page as I got a new camera. Thank you for your kind words and feedback on the tips and tricks posts. I truly appreciate it!

  2. Another thing that I discovered a few nights ago is that sometimes it makes sense to set up a shot before it turns truly dark--or at least to scout out a scene before it's too dark. I was photographing in a forest and realized the obvious: that without being able to actually see, framing and focusing is a little challenging !

    1. Love this tip Christopher! A little planning goes a long way. Would you mind if I added this tip to the post? Thank you for sharing!


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