How to take photo’s at night (and long exposure photo’s)

Photo at Night

Photo at Night


How 2 take photo’s at night , and how 2 take long exposure photo’s

Sometimes we want to take long exposure photo’s or photo’s at night for many different reasons. To name just a few :

  • startrails
  • city lighting at night over a lake
  • Cars showing light trails
  • waterfalls
  • moving objects – to get a total different effect
  • fireworks and many more

Sometimes you get an awesome effect when taking a normal photo using a long exposure. When most people think of long exposure they think of night photography but there are so many stunning photo’s that can be taken even during the day.

A simple example here is a waterfall. Do yourself a favour, take a photo of a waterfall with a fast shutterspeed say 1/250 and then take the same photo with a neutral density filter and a very slow shutterspeed on a tripod and self timer and compare the difference…

You can use a slower shutterspeed for panning, for so many things. Did you ever see one of the star trail photo’s and wonder how people do that. Well you will find out within the next minute or two by reading this article.

The basic equipment you will need for long exposure photo’s are :

  • A Tripod
  • A DSLR camera (most have a bulb function, or very long exposure settings)
  • A camera where you can change ISO and Aperture and Shutterspeed as you wish
  • A remote or cable shutter release (doesn’t come with camera)
  • And a lens or two to play around with
  • Optional things are some filters like a neutral density filter (which allows you to drop to an even lower shutterspeed without over-exposing your photo.

All you do is set your camera on bulb mode, and test different shutterspeeds to see what effects you get. I can’t tell you use a 1/15 shutter with a F 5.6 and Iso 200 because your lenses are different than mine and the amount of light you have and time of the day are also different. Therefore you have to play around. If your photo is too dark, use a longer exposure and higher iso, if it is too light (over-exposed) use a faster shutter speed, or lower is or different aperture, or neutral density filter etc.

The reason for a tripod is because of long exposures your photo will blur if there is the slightest movement on the camera while the shutter is open and allowing light to go into the camera. Things that I must also mention is that you might get noise when using long exposures or high iso’s. The two combined can really cause some bad noise on your photo’s. You can use some programs to reduce noise afterwards or the higer end Canon and Nikon camera’s are good with lower noise levels as well as some camera’s have a long exposure noise reduction function. A good noise reduction program is noiseware pro.

Doing startrails put your camera out on a tripod and cable or remote release. Change your settings on bulb mode (manual) and start with something like a 5 minute exposure and see what you get, then adjust the settings as needed and go for a 10 – 20 minutes exposure and so on.

Author: Johan Bosman

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2 Comments

  1. I tried this and it worked amazing. Please continue the great work.

  2. Great, we sure will do!!

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