Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Tips on Night/Low light Photography: Mastering the Darkness

If that mysterious mix of ambient and city lights gets your attention or you’re looking for a shot that forces people to take a look at your photography portfolio, then maybe night/ low light photography is what you need to learn more about! The biggest challenge in this sort of photography is to compose your image well. Here are a few tips that you must read before you start making use of your night owl habits and combine hobby, skills and sleeplessness to make something that even the day workers admire!

First of all, you need to make sure that you carry all the fundamental equipment along with your camera, of course, when you’re stepping out of your home at night. This would include a tripod stand that will give you a great flexibility to get all the angles you need while keeping your camera steady for those long exposures, a lens hood that could help you minimize lens flares from light entering at angles outside of your frame and finally, your artistic imagination.

It is imperative for any kind of photography, that you combine all realistic elements in front of your camera and give them your own artistic interpretation.  These could waver from an ordinary lamppost standing straight under the starry sky; to the complex movement of clouds on the weather front. Digital cameras actually make night photography a lot of fun. You can experiment with color by changing white balance, trying different exposures, adding flash and then see the results instantly on the LCD.
The next thing to keep in your mind is that you find the right location. If you want to get away from the artificial light of the cities, then the rural countryside can serve as the right place for you to capture the long star trails and get the perfect moonrise or moonset in your frame. This is also the perfect time and location to get the cloudy skies. A good idea is to use a wide-angle lens and opt for longer exposures.  You can try a first view shots and assess them on your camera to see the best range of exposure to take a good shot.

Further, you must try turning on your flash at night, but check your exposure to be certain the night light is balancing with the light from the flash. Many cameras have auto programs specifically designed to put the right amount of light onto a foreground subject while still giving enough exposure to reveal the background, as well. Moreover, most digital SLRs automatically allow you to balance the ambient light with flash by using certain modes, such as Aperture or Program priority. You can easily check your camera's manual to see what works for yours!

Finally, even though it sounds cliché, the key to success is constant hard work.  Shooting in low light is no child’s play, so you must be patient and should keep trying to get the perfect composition for your image. It might take a number of trial shots to get to that right frame, but in order to get a photograph that’s incredible, all this effort is a must. So whether it’s a night filled with stars, grey and overcast or busy with rushed streets, get out of your four walls, take your camera and make your sleeplessness worthwhile!

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