Some of the best photos we’ve done of hotels have been at night simply because the artificial lighting of the rooms can really help to show up and highlight the features of a building. But night photography can really fox some people, they find it really difficult to get a good shot but really, it’s easy.
We’ve found that people make the same mistakes every time, so here are our five tips for doing it right.
The key to good night photography is long exposures, i.e. the shutter will remain open for a long time while as much light as possible reaches the sensor. The thing with long exposures though is that the slightest wobble will show as a blur on your picture so the best thing to do is not be holding it. Trust me, even the steadiest hand will have a slight movement so don’t even try to hold a camera yourself for a night shot – use a tripod.
Tripods are cheap enough and they’re essential for most photography tasks so treat yourself!
Have you ever been to a concert where it’s been dark and loads of people are taking photos using their flash right from the back of the arena? Wondered what sort of photos they’re getting? Probably a bit fat splodge of black.
Cameras that are set to automatic will try to use a flash if the light levels are low, but that flash has to reach the target and then bounce back. In a huge arena it’ll never make it, now imagine what it’s like outside. If you try to take a photo of a huge building with a flash, you’ll just get a mess of a photo so turn the flash off.
Again, if you’re still in auto then your camera will compensate by keeping the shutter open longer and you’ll get a much better picture.
This is another bit of gadgetry that you’ll think is expensive, but you’ll discover is cheap. A remote will allow you to fire the shutter without having to press the button on top of the camera. Why bother? Well even if you have a tripod, when you press the shutter you’re introducing a wobble. That wobble will ruin your photo. Use a remote, step away from the camera and snap away!
If your camera’s on auto then it’ll sort this out for you without you having to do a thing. However, if you venture into “manual” mode then you’ll want to set the exposure time yourself and as I mentioned above, you need to allow as much time as possible for the light to reach the sensor. The great thing about DSLRs is that you can simply delete unwanted photos. Take lots and see which ones look best.
Holding that shutter open for a long time will drain the batteries so always have a spare set if you’re planning on taking a lot of night photos.