Nighttime Photography can be intimidating as I recently learned while shooting a few bands performing at night, inside, with crazy lighting. We want to challenge the participants this week to interpret and photography what nighttime means to them.
There are a few factors to take into consideration when shooting at night or in low-light situations like every other situation; aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. Another, more expensive, consideration is the lens you are using. In my case when I shot the band pictures, I used a 50mm f/1.4 lens. The low aperture allowed me to use a lower ISO setting which caused less noise in the picture and the shutter speed could be set as well so the pictures didn’t come out blurry when the band members moved around on stage. Try to use a low ISO so that you don’t get a noisy or grainy picture.
Now if you are shooting a still object, you can use a longer shutter speed, 3 seconds or longer with a tri-pod to hold your camera still. You know all those pictures you see with the cars zooming by and you just see the car light streak? Tri-pod + loooong shutter speed, or “shutter-slow” as I call it, = streak marks in your photograph. This will also work for meteor showers or a shooting star if you are lucky enough. When using a very long shutter speed, it’s helpful to have a gentle touch on the shutter button or have a remote control. Any bump to the body of the camera can alter your image, which is a bummer to say the least.
Shooting right at dusk is helpful as well. Even though it is not technically night, it shows this way if you take the picture properly. Shooting at dusk will allow you to still get the details of the image while still showing the nighttime setting. Using a light meter can also help you to find proper exposure and then you can always mess around with it from there to get something more creative.
Lastly…DO NOT use your flash. It will alter your image too much. The whole point is to get a nighttime shot…why add light?
Good luck and have fun! We can’t wait to see what gets submitted!!