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Photography at night or in low light is an art of its own. A rising silhouette in the moonlight, the neon glow of nightlife, a cityscape dazzling with lights – all these make for some hypnotic shots that can really bring out the brilliance hidden amidst the darkness. But any art requires some expertise to master. And here we’re going to help you do just that. You can go a long way and click some amazing night shots if you start by follow a simple set of tips that we shall tell you. Let’s begin!
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The number one requirement for excellent night shots is an adequately fast lens, with a maximum aperture of 1.8 or greater.
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A good prime lens with a large aperture can do wonders if used with finesse. One of the cheapest prime lenses available is the Canon 50mm 1.8. You can also go for the more expensive Canon 50mm 1.4 or 1.2. These lenses will provide you with a fast shutter speed at night because of their large apertures, thereby giving out excellent, well exposed images.
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Whatever lens you have, it is best to widen up that aperture as much as you can when shooting at night. A wider aperture allows more light to hit the sensor and hence make it easier for you to shoot at night.
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In order to absorb as much light as possible in a low lit environment, it necessary that you use adequately slow shutter speeds so that enough light hits the sensor. Photographically speaking, there is a whole new door that you can open by using slow shutter speeds. Some wonderful shots of city nightlife can be captured by using this simple procedure.
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This is one of the most obvious, albeit the most important tip for low light photography. A tripod is a must when shooting in low light, simply because the low light does not generate enough shutter speed to freeze movement. A remote to release the shutter is useful as well, since the manual squeezing of the shutter button can cause the DSLR to move ever so slightly, resulting in blur. If you do not have a remote, a simple fix to overcome blur is to set up a 2 second self timer. When you have readied the shot, hit the shutter button and 2 seconds later, razor sharp images!
Shooting inanimate objects or cityscapes without flash is fine, because you want the well lit objects to be accentuated in the darkness. But when shooting group pictures or portraits in low light, a flash is required to correctly expose people’s faces and freeze their movement. A flash is the only option when shooting indoors in dark environments, like night clubs. An external flash works best in these cases, giving out great, diffused light if it’s pointed towards the ceiling. But if you don’t have one, the in-built flash works great too.
So there it is, folks! Some simple tips to help you work on your low light photography skills. Fire away!