1. Home

Night Photography in 5 Easy Steps

By

4 of 6

Step Three of Night Photography-Make adjustments to settings as necessary
Fireworks with Camera Settings

Fireworks with camera settings shown

© 2007 Liz Masoner licensed to About.com, Inc.


If your camera does not have any adjustment options other than a nighttime setting, then turn the dial to your camera's nighttime or landscape setting and skip down to part 4 of this section. If you camera has other abilities, use them. There are four things you will set on your camera for nighttime photography:
  1. Film Speed - This is marked by "ISO" on some cameras. Unless you are shooting nighttime sports, use a slower film speed. This will reduce the grain visible in your images and produce a much clearer image.
  2. Aperture - The aperture will be determined in mostly by your subject. Aperture controls how much depth of your image will be in focus and will be marked on your camera as F-Stop. If you are taking an image of your family standing in front of a landmark, you need a larger aperture (smaller F-stop number) than if you are taking an image of a lighted fountain and the lighted museum several yards behind that. Set you aperture based on your subject, in the next two steps we will adjust the exposure.
  3. Shutter speed - Unless you are shooting nighttime sports or another situation where you need to freeze motion, your shutter speed will be your third step. Set your shutter speed for a proper exposure on your metering bar. Remember to take your meter reading from the darkest part of the scene you want to appear well lit.
  4. Flash - You will use flash to "fill in" areas that need additional light. Remember that flash does not have an unlimited range so this works best for areas relatively close (about 4 to 9 feet) from you. If you use your camera's on-board flash I would recommend using it only when you must illuminate a person. If you have an add on flash that works with your camera you can use the fill-flash feature to set it to less power and illuminate things like the bases of lighted fountains that may otherwise be lost in shadow.
  1. About.com
  2. Home
  3. Photography
  4. Photography Lessons
  5. Special Events and Types
  6. A Step by Step Guide to Night Photography - Making Setting Adjustments

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.