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Thread: night photography! Dos and donts! tips and quick fixes for newbies!

  1. #1

    Default night photography! Dos and donts! tips and quick fixes for newbies!

    hello all,

    heh. i just bought my nikond50! and can i say, it rock balls ! but anyway i have been shooting quite abit. and i m starting to try shooting at night?
    but currently i am shooting on the night mode, but the results aint satisfactory?
    the pic's blur and there's over exposure?

    so i was wondering if you guys can help me with my queries!


    1) is a tripod necessary for night shooting?
    2) why are pics more likely to have effects of camera shakes at night?
    3) if i shoot at night, what are the modes that i should use to prevent over exposure and white outs?
    4)and wld flash be necessary if you set the exposure long enough to capture all the natural lights of the surroundings?
    5) what are the most ideal aperture and shutter speed for night shooting to reduce camera shake effects, grainy or over exposure!

    please advice me on these ?


  2. #2

    Default Re: night photography! Dos and donts! tips and quick fixes for newbies!

    1. tripod for nightshoot not always necessary. you could be shooting in a bright studio at night. but for outdoor nightshoots, it is almost certain a tripod will help.

    2. blur caused by handshakes are exacerbated at night because of longer exposures due to low light.

    3. it really depends on what you want to shoot. creative modes ie. manual, av or tv priorities are the best bets. experiment for yourself as the situation and type of effects you wish to attain varies. fundamentals should prevail.

    4. again it depends on what you shoot. if you shoot landscape, you will need a flash as big as the sun. a flash can only reach a certain distance. it will be alright for "close" subjects. flashes are usually avoided as they cast shadows and are "unnatural" if not used competently.

    5. try to learn more about the basic principles of light and "film" (in this case "sensor" as the cam is digital). shutter speed, aperture value, iso value, etc. all affects the outcome of an image.

    your photo is very obviously subjected to handshakes due to long exposure. even after you have corrected that, you will find that the moon is either all white or only some parts of the pic is in focus. these are due to a combination of factors.

    try to master what terms like "focal length" , "aperture value" mean. read the manual. study study study!
    Last edited by babykailan; 8th December 2006 at 01:46 AM.
    Canon 5D & 35L + Panasonic Lumix GX1 & 20mm
    Flickr | Buy Baobao's photobook!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: night photography! Dos and donts! tips and quick fixes for newbies!

    Quote Originally Posted by eloera View Post
    hello all,

    heh. i just bought my nikond50! and can i say, it rock balls ! but anyway i have been shooting quite abit. and i m starting to try shooting at night?
    but currently i am shooting on the night mode, but the results aint satisfactory?
    the pic's blur and there's over exposure?

    so i was wondering if you guys can help me with my queries!


    1) is a tripod necessary for night shooting?
    2) why are pics more likely to have effects of camera shakes at night?
    3) if i shoot at night, what are the modes that i should use to prevent over exposure and white outs?
    4)and wld flash be necessary if you set the exposure long enough to capture all the natural lights of the surroundings?
    5) what are the most ideal aperture and shutter speed for night shooting to reduce camera shake effects, grainy or over exposure!

    please advice me on these ?

    First of all, why the photos turn out blur when taking night photos?
    Because our human hands are not robotic arms, our hand will shake. Taking night photos means the shutter is opened for a longer period of time, so when there is just a bit of shake, the photos will become blur. You should try out and see the slowest shutter speed in which you can hold a camera without it shaking so much that it affects the pic. Most of the time a good guide will be 1/45 of a sec. But it all depends, i have done 1/20 before.
    When you know that slowest shutter speed you can go to, you can then adjust the the aperature (dependant on your lens) and the ISO so that you can take a photo to the right exposure.

    So with this in mind, so the question of do you need a tripod when taking night photos? If the conditions (lights etc) allows you to handheld your camera and take photos that are not blur, then you do not need a tripod, if your pics are still underexposed when you set to your max settings when you handheld your camera(e.g: 1/20s, F2.8, ISO 3200) then you need a tripod. Most of the time i will encourage people to bring a tripod or at least a monopod when they know they are going to take night shots.

    To you qns 3 and 4, its all about balancing the shutter speed, aperature and ISO settings.

    As to your last qns, there is no most ideal formula to taking a shot, if there is then photography will not be fun, it all depends on the tools you have (the camera, the lens, availability of tripod/monopod etc) and also the conditions/lightings of the subject you are taking. One thing though, if you do not want your photos to look grainy, try not to use high ISO settings unless you have no choice. For example, my camera can go up to ISO3200, but most of the time i will try to just use ISO800 or ISO1600 for night shots...

    Hope this helps.
    Canon 20D, Canon 17-40L F4, Canon 50 F1.8, Tamron 28-75 F2.8, Canon 580EX

  4. #4
    Senior Member zac08's Avatar
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    Default Re: night photography! Dos and donts! tips and quick fixes for newbies!

    Quote Originally Posted by eloera View Post
    hello all,

    heh. i just bought my nikond50! and can i say, it rock balls ! but anyway i have been shooting quite abit. and i m starting to try shooting at night?
    but currently i am shooting on the night mode, but the results aint satisfactory?
    the pic's blur and there's over exposure?

    so i was wondering if you guys can help me with my queries!


    1) is a tripod necessary for night shooting?
    2) why are pics more likely to have effects of camera shakes at night?
    3) if i shoot at night, what are the modes that i should use to prevent over exposure and white outs?
    4)and wld flash be necessary if you set the exposure long enough to capture all the natural lights of the surroundings?
    5) what are the most ideal aperture and shutter speed for night shooting to reduce camera shake effects, grainy or over exposure!

    please advice me on these ?
    A tripod is good for long shutter exposures or to assist in stabilising the shots or maintaining the perspective for a series of shots.

    Also note that the default night mode on the cameras generally push for a lower shutter speed to get more light into the camera's sensor. As such, the tendency for you to move before the image is taken is much higher.

    To prevent white-outs or over-exposure, you need to understand the balance of ISO speed, shutter speed and aperture setting. I would suggest that you practise with A mode (aperture mode) Try shooting some objects at a larger aperture, f3.5 or so and see how the shutter speed correlates. If the speed is low, try a higher ISO until you get a decent shutter speed of say 1/30 to 1/60. Now check the photo and if the picture is too bright, I suggest you dial in a ev correction of about -0.7 to -1.0. This will also increase the shutter speed slightly.

    Flash is generally good to illuminate subjects of within 3 to 5m of the flash range. Anything further and it may not be illuminated brightly enough. And if you want to get all the BG and the subject to show up clearly, you may also want to try out using rear sync flash mode. Note that you need a tripod for this.

    As mentioned by the other bros here... there is no magical figures...

    But if you wanna avoid grain, go lower than ISO 800.
    If you want to avoid camera shake, use a higher shutter speed of say 1/60 and above.
    If you want to avoid over-exposure, then check if the matrix metering is fooled by dark BG portions. Dial in - Ev settings if needed.

    Michael Lim
    My Flickr Site

  5. #5
    Moderator Francis247's Avatar
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    Default Re: night photography! Dos and donts! tips and quick fixes for newbies!

    Quote Originally Posted by eloera View Post
    hello all,

    heh. i just bought my nikond50! and can i say, it rock balls ! but anyway i have been shooting quite abit. and i m starting to try shooting at night?
    but currently i am shooting on the night mode, but the results aint satisfactory?
    the pic's blur and there's over exposure?

    so i was wondering if you guys can help me with my queries!


    1) is a tripod necessary for night shooting?
    2) why are pics more likely to have effects of camera shakes at night?
    3) if i shoot at night, what are the modes that i should use to prevent over exposure and white outs?
    4)and wld flash be necessary if you set the exposure long enough to capture all the natural lights of the surroundings?
    5) what are the most ideal aperture and shutter speed for night shooting to reduce camera shake effects, grainy or over exposure!

    please advice me on these ?

    Hi there,

    Just to share some thoughts over your question.

    1) Yes, a tripod is needed. However, if you do not have a tripod with you at that time, try to find a stable support (such as a bench or etc) to rest your camera if you can. If not, you might want to consider pumping up the ISO which I do not recommend.

    2) It could be due to the long exposure time or possible camera shake when you press the shutter release button (try to get a cable release if you can).

    3) This is a tough one, really depends on the effect you want to achieve. Recommended is Aperture Priority, Manual and Shutter Priority. Some time Programmable might works too.

    4) Once again, it depends on the effect you want and what you want to take. Flash can help to create interesting effects if you put colour gel over it.

    5) There is no magic figures actually but really depends on the effect you want. However, I will advice you to set the ISO to the lowest if you are using a tripod and use aperture of f8 and above for a starter.

    Have fun shooting. If you want, you can try to check out some of the links in the Night Photography subforum. Cheerz.
    莫问前程有愧,只求今生无悔. Time pasts, Places changed, Beauty faded, what is left are Photos of Memories…

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