Night Photography Camera Settings for Beginners with DSLR

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Night Photography Camera Tips and Setting for Beginners with DSLR

With this article, we like to show you some basic Night Photography Camera Settings on your DSLR to be able to take beautiful nighttime images.

This article is aimed at the beginner photographer.

Therefore, we will be starting at the beginning with the gear you need then move to camera modes and settings.

Taking photos at nighttime is relatively easy.

Before we begin, we like to mention that it does not matter which DSLR camera you are using.

The concept shown here is the same on all DSLR cameras.

The only difference will be the placement of buttons and menu options on different cameras.

Night Photography Camera Settings

Let us begin with the gear for Night Photography Camera Settings.

What you need in order to take stunning night time pictures.

First and foremost you will need a DSLR camera that will allow you to manipulate ISO,

shutter speed as well as giving you the option to use Manual mode.

Second, you will need a sturdy tripod.

There are several options in the market for DSLR cameras.

Just make sure to buy a good sturdy one so that when mounted it eliminates any movement of the camera.

In our opinion, a tripod is the most important tool in low light, nighttime photography.

You can check out some of the very best in tripods in our site.

The last item you will need is a remote shutter control.

Some cameras are equipped with wifi and offer apps that you can download and control all or most aspects from your phone.

Otherwise, you can invest in a remote trigger for your shots.

Another option for this to avoid purchasing a remote will be to use the time delay option of the camera.

This is where you set the timer on your camera to execute the shutter trigger when pressed.

You should refer to your owner’s manual for this option, if you do not already know where it is.

Night Photography Camera Settings

Taking the photo:

Now that we have the gear set and ready,

let us move on to setting the camera options to take a great nighttime photo.

We all know that taking pictures at low light with the camera set at auto,

most of the time results in disappointing outcomes.

Most cameras at Auto mode, at low light,

force the flash to pop up, making sure that there is some additional light to fill the picture.

However, when you are taking nighttime pictures of a city landscape or night sky or sunset over the ocean,

the small pop up flash will not be much help.

The other thing most cameras will do when taking low light pictures is automatically increasing ISO to make the image brighter.

This will deteriorate the image quality and introduce more noise making it grainy.

Therefore, what we need to do is to avoid Auto mode at all costs when taking such pictures.

The best mode other than full Manual which will be for more advanced users, is Shutter Priority.

On Nikons this is indicated on the mode dial by the letter S and in Canons by TV (Time Value).

This mode is great for controlling the shutter speed where the camera adjusts the aperture.

Once in Shutter Priority (S or TV) mode, all you need to do is adjust the shutter speed to achieve the desired outcome.

If you are shooting a sports event with plenty of light, then at Shutter Priority mode, you can choose the highest shutter speed.

This will open and close the shutter very quickly, freezing the movement of the player or the ball and since there is plenty of light, the photo will turn out great.

However, if you are shooting in low light, you need to bring the Shutter Speed to its lowest value.

This will ensure that the shutter is left open long enough to get the maximum amount of light in.

A quick note about Shutter Speed and Aperture.

Since at Shutter Priority mode the camera is automatically adjusting the aperture to provide the best outcome,

in some instances if the Shutter Speed is too low or too high,

on some DSLRs you will see a red flashing light indicating that the camera cannot choose the best aperture to give the best picture.

Hence, you will need to make changes to your shutter speed,

which means increasing or decreasing the value until the red mark or the F number stops flashing.

A quick note about ISO. As we all know ISO is the function of the camera that affects your exposure.

If you increase the ISO the image will be brighter, and if you decrease the ISO value the image will be darker.

Having said that, during low light photography, one thing you need to do is to avoid automatic ISO.

Because in Auto ISO mode the camera will take over and make adjustments to ISO to increase the level of light entering the sensor.

This will in turn cause additional noise in the image and the image will look grainy as mentioned above.

When doing nighttime photography, try to choose the lowest possible ISO.

Finally, we are set and ready to take pictures. The last part of this set up is the remote.

In order to avoid any shake when pressing the shutter release or trigger button is to use a remote or the in-camera trigger timer.

Using a remote will help you activate the shutter by not touching the camera or even being near it.

In very low shutter speeds, in some locations, a slight movement on your part may cause an un-noticeable shake in the camera that you will notice after the image is taken.

To avoid this, use a remote or an app, if your camera is equipped with one or just use the in-camera timer.

Using the in-camera timer is very common and it is free.

We hope that the above was informative for our beginner nighttime photographers and set you on a path to great photography adventures.

Night Photography Camera Settings

Here is some additional reading materials, if interested:

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