Take Spectacular Nighttime Photos
with your Digital Camera - Part I
Night photographs express a special
something that cannot be seen in normal daytime photography.
Whether it is a photograph of a moon and starlit sky
over a windy deserted beach, the excitement of a downtown
cityscape when the lights go on, or just a picture
of you and some friends in front of a favorite hangout,
nighttime photos, when done right, are sure to attract
However, even for experienced photographers,
nighttime photography can be a tricky situation. Photos
often look unfocused, blurry, or lacking crucial details,
and many may not come out at all. There are some tricks,
though, to taking spectacular nighttime photos with
your digital camera, tricks that can be explained
yet only completely learned through practice.
This first part of a three-part series
on nighttime photography will cover tricks not necessarily
related to digital camera settings, but tricks nonetheless
that can result in better photographs or a more pleasing
* Although more expensive digital cameras
do not necessarily result in better photos, realize
that the cheapest cameras may not be capable of taking
great photographs at night. It requires more work,
both on your's and the camera's part, to take spectacular
shots in very low-light situations. Though you don't
have to spend over a thousand dollars for night photography,
don't expect too much out of a sub-two hundred-dollar
* Especially if you are not completely
familiar with your camera's settings to enhance nighttime
photography, consider first taking some photographs
around dusk, when the sun has not yet completely left
the sky. Dusk photos can sometimes be even more dramatic
than those taken in the pitch-black sky, as the added
light helps illuminate details easily missed in a
completely dark environment Check your local newspaper
where you are shooting photographs or a website such
as http://www.weather.com for sunrise/sunset times,
and be ready to shoot around a 20-30 minute window
for best results.
* Plan your photos before you shoot!
While it is always a good idea to study an area first,
this is crucial if you are planning on snapping photographs
around dusk! You will not have much time to plan,
and if you spend five or ten minutes just getting
a perfect angle or framing the perfect shot, the overall
lighting will change as the sun slowly sets. And of
course, remember when composing your photos that the
sun sets in the west.
* Be prepared for the environment. If
you're heading out by yourself, especially in a semi-deserted
wilderness area, always carry a map so you remember
how to get to your home, camp, or hotel. Check the
weather before you go and wear a poncho or coat if
necessary. Carry a flashlight, or, in the most extreme
environments, a flare, to help others find you if
you become lost. Also, bring along a WELL-CHARGED
cell phone in case of emergency! You're taking photos
at night to have fun and create spectacular results.
Be prepared for unexpected situations so they don't
ruin your experience.
While the results can be outstanding,
night photography presents its own unique benefits
and hazards. Not just any digital camera will do;
lower-end models may not have the capability of taking
spectacular shots. Timing is crucial, especially when
taking pictures in the brief time between dusk and
total darkness. And, the environment and weather can
play havoc with your plans. By purchasing the correct
equipment, studying the subject area before nighttime
falls, and dealing with unexpected situations with
the correct nighttime gear, you can be better prepared
to take amazing nighttime photos.
Copyright 2004 Andrew Malek.
Andrew Malek is the owner of the MalekTips
computer and technology help site at http://www.malektips.com.
Visit his digital camera page at http://malektips.com/digital_cameras_help_and_tips.html
for more digital photography advice.