Nighttime Photography

by Jon DeMeo

When I’m camping or hanging out outside at nighttime, I love being able to capture my views on camera.  However, nighttime photography can be extremely tricky.

Here is a how-to guide to nighttime photography when using a DSLR camera.  My camera of choice is a Canon 6D because it is a full-frame camera and offers a WiFi feature, which is convenient for photo transfer and remote shooting.  Another camera I recommend is the Canon T3i, which is more reasonably priced.  This is a great camera if you are on a budget or just getting started with photography.

To get started, here are some basic items you need to shoot at night:

  1. Camera and lens (Get some sort of wide-angle lens)
  2. Tripod
  3. Remote trigger (or in the case of the 6D, just a phone!)
  4. A fully charged battery
  5. Memory card

After you have you camera turned on and memory card in, follow these steps to begin shooting at night!  The ideal setting is a starry night when the moon is out.  For these directions, have the camera on “manual” shooting mode.

Step One:

Find a spot that has a clearing so you can see at least part of the sky.

Step Two:

Set up your tripod and put your camera on it.

Step Three:

Point your camera in the direction you would like to capture and look at your settings.

Step Four:

Ideal Camera Settings:

  1. ISO: 100
  2. F-Stop (Aperture): 22
  3. Shutter Speed: Variable depending on exposure

Don’t move the ISO of F-Stop but use the shutter speed to control your exposure. Be sure to have the correct white balance as well.

Step Five:

Focus the camera on your subject

Step Six:

Use the remote trigger to take your shot so you don’t have to worry about the effects of a shaky hand when pressing the trigger.

Step Seven:

Once you have captured the image (this may take many seconds or even minutes for the shutter to open and close), review your photo. If it is too dark, slow the shutter down more, but if it is too bright make the shutter faster!

Two more tips to remember:

  1. Be careful even stepping around your tripod as you capture the image – any sort of vibration can mess the photo up.
  2. Try to keep the brightness true to reality. Don’t “overexpose” just because you can!

Need some help learning more about your camera? Here are some camera basics!

I hope this helps you capture a great nighttime image!  What kind of nighttime photography have you already done?  Sound off in the comments!

IMG_1163-2ABOUT JON: Originally from the great state of Pennsylvania, I now currently reside in Topeka, KS working for a non-profit called Trash Mountain Project. I have always had a love for the outdoors and enjoy every chance I get to be in nature. Some of my other passions include staying up to date on the latest technology, traveling, biking with my family, photography, graphic design and video work. I love helping individuals and organizationS tell a compelling story and seeing it from start to finish. My family has a passion for serving people and trying to show hope in areas that need it most! I am married to Elaine and have one son, Jameson.

Web: jondemeo.com • Twitter: @jon_demeo • Instagram: JonDeMeo