Tips on Night Photography


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Aug 26, 2007
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#1
Hi

I'm always interested in night photography and also partly due to the fact that I'm only out at night, hence this interest.

I tried taking some pictures on one night out and realise that most of the pictures really cannot make it. Tot it look ok on the lcd screen on my camera but turns out to be actually worse than I tot.

Here are some of the pictures i took.







Most of the shots I took are either underexpose or blur due to camera shake. Please advise me on how to take better shots. Really demoralising to see most of the pictures I take cannot be used.
 

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nigel84

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Mar 22, 2007
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#2
As i cannot view ur EXIF, i do not know if u had bumped up ur ISO settings and the lens you are using. Or even the model of the PnS u might be using here. However there are 2 ways to work around here.
1) get a tripod + flash*(if applicable)
2) shoot dis-focused pics.
of which option 2 is much tougher to achieve as it really require the abstract mind to pic and record it down in frames. Therefore i would strongly suggest option 1.
 

zac08

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Feb 21, 2005
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#3
Bump the ISO as high as u can tolerate and shoot wide open. Use fast lenses.

I shoot at night a lot too and I shoot with a el cheapo Nikkor 50mm f1.8 and I bump up to ISO 800 or even ISO 1600 when needed. Most times I would shoot with a fixed shutter speed which will allow me decent hand held shots such as 1/30 sec. When the subject is moving, it becomes very hard to maintain the focus, so it's a gamble there. ;)
 

Aug 26, 2007
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#4
to nigel84: I'm using a canon eos 450d. Most of my pictures are around ISO 800 and 1600. I tot of using flash. But it would disrupt the whole session if my flash just go blinking away.

to zac08: I'm using the kit lens of eos 450d. Just started in this so have not invested in any lens. the lowest I can go for the kit lens is f3.5. Even with f3.5, my shutter speed shortest i can go is 1/5 even with ISO 1600 or ISO 800. With a little camera shake, my picture will just go down to waste. But i do understand your pt in using the highest ISO possible.

I have a noob Q: What is a fast lens? And what defines it as one?

to all: I would try to post the EXIF file. Once I noe how to extract it.
 

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calebk

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Jul 25, 2006
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#5
By now you should have realised that the limitation is the lens, as you are shooting at a high ISO already, but with a slow lens, and you realise that you cannot use flash.

The solution is to get a fast lens. By fast, I'm referring to a lens with a large aperture, that allows more light in thus giving a faster shutter speed (hence the term fast lens).

A good lens to consider is the 50mm f/1.8 II. A good, fast lens, that is also sharp and is really good for portraits as well as low-light photography, like what you are facing here.

BTW, is this at Wala-wala? I shot my first ever concert there (a friend's performance).
 

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zac08

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Feb 21, 2005
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to nigel84: I'm using a canon eos 450d. Most of my pictures are around ISO 800 and 1600. I tot of using flash. But it would disrupt the whole session if my flash just go blinking away.

to zac08: I'm using the kit lens of eos 450d. Just started in this so have not invested in any lens. the lowest I can go for the kit lens is f3.5. Even with f3.5, my shutter speed shortest i can go is 1/5 even with ISO 1600 or ISO 800. With a little camera shake, my picture will just go down to waste. But i do understand your pt in using the highest ISO possible.

I have a noob Q: What is a fast lens? And what defines it as one?

to all: I would try to post the EXIF file. Once I noe how to extract it.
U can try shooting a lil underexposed (I shoot about 2/3 to 1 stop under the metered amount for the night scene). I find that it gives me a closer representation of the scene I see in my eyes. Note that the camera tries to expose it to daylight conditions.
 

Aug 26, 2007
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#7
Yes I notice that effect on the pictures too when I'm looking it on my computer screen. It tends to overexpose a little. Not the lighting I wanted. If tt's the case I shld be able to increase a little the shutter speed rite? But I guess the killer pt is the camera shake ruin most of the shots.
 

zac08

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Feb 21, 2005
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#8
Yes I notice that effect on the pictures too when I'm looking it on my computer screen. It tends to overexpose a little. Not the lighting I wanted. If tt's the case I shld be able to increase a little the shutter speed rite? But I guess the killer pt is the camera shake ruin most of the shots.
Yes.. this gives u a lil boost on the shutter speed and when shooting with shorter focal lengths, you should be able to shoot well if the subject is stationary.
 

Aug 26, 2007
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#9
Yes.. this gives u a lil boost on the shutter speed and when shooting with shorter focal lengths, you should be able to shoot well if the subject is stationary.
Pt noted.Thanks alot. Will try it out the next time.
 

Aug 26, 2007
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#10
By now you should have realised that the limitation is the lens, as you are shooting at a high ISO already, but with a slow lens, and you realise that you cannot use flash.

The solution is to get a fast lens. By fast, I'm referring to a lens with a large aperture, that allows more light in thus giving a faster shutter speed (hence the term fast lens).

A good lens to consider is the 50mm f/1.8 II. A good, fast lens, that is also sharp and is really good for portraits as well as low-light photography, like what you are facing here.

BTW, is this at Wala-wala? I shot my first ever concert there (a friend's performance).
Ok...thank you for the explanation of fast lens.

Yes its at Wala Wala. I took it last Sat. Band was unexpectedly good. I just stop taking pictures after a while. Was so into the band. That nite was my first shot on night photography.

But fast lens are relavtively quite ex rite?
 

calebk

Senior Member
Jul 25, 2006
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#11
Ok...thank you for the explanation of fast lens.

Yes its at Wala Wala. I took it last Sat. Band was unexpectedly good. I just stop taking pictures after a while. Was so into the band. That nite was my first shot on night photography.

But fast lens are relavtively quite ex rite?
On the whole they are expensive. However, the 50mm is the exception to the rule in that it's only $130. Give it a shot!
 

dision

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Mar 25, 2008
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#13
Consider using a mono-pod.
 

Aug 26, 2007
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#15
Erm, it won't help if your shutter speed is slow that subject movement will cause blur too. Monopods generally help with longer glass.
I agree to that. It happens most of the time, which sometime really irritates me, to a certian extend. No offense but I tink I would look really funny and out of place to have a camera attached to a monopod in a pub listening to the band and taking pictures of them.
 

Aug 26, 2007
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#16
I also started with a 50mm 1.8

fast lens at an affordable price...gives you nice bokeh too..
Tot of getting the lens sometime soon. Somehow its the only affordable fast lens that is available. For me that is.
 

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