How To Shoot Night Photography Without A Flash

Last Updated on April 14, 2021

Shooting at night without a flash can be done, but it can be difficult. Here are some tips if you want to try out night photography without using a flash.

Night Photography Without A Flash Tips

night photograph of lake

Use A Tripod

You’ll need one in order to take clear images without camera shake, and it will also help with long exposure times since you won’t have to worry about the camera moving during each shot.

Wide Aperture

Keep your lens at its widest aperture setting so that your camera can let in as much light as possible.

High ISO

Set your ISO as high as it will go. The higher the number, the more sensitive your camera is to light. It’ll result in images with less noise (graininess) and dimmer lighting if you use a higher ISO.

Use A Remote Trigger

Try using the self-timer or a remote control to decrease any hand movement when you capture each image.

Go Wide

Choose a wide angle lens. It’ll allow you to capture more of the scene, and it’ll fit more of the night sky in each shot.

Get Your Spot

Move around a lot: When you move closer to or further away from your subject, you change the distance between yourself and any existing light source. This affects how much light is let into your camera (i.e., more distance = less light). If you move around some for every photo, your images won’t all look exactly the same in terms of lighting and contrast.

Position Your Subject

If you’re taking an image of a person, have them walk around a bit after each shot. Have them move towards or away from a light source for example and then repeat the process until you capture the right scene.


If your camera has manual focus options, try using one of those instead of automatic focusing. You’ll have more control over what’s in focus (which could be key to getting some night sky shots).

Know Your Scene

Try shooting a scene that’s familiar to you (if possible), or try photographing a subject that will be easier to shoot at night. A familiar location will allow you to better know where the best available light will be allowing you to better select your location.

Utilize Sunrises and Sunsets

If possible, shoot the scene during the blue hour (the hour before sunset or after sunrise). It’ll provide a unique look to your images. If you can’t shoot at twilight, try to get the golden hours (just after sunrise and before sunset) instead.


Know your camera well: If you know your camera’s settings well, you’ll be able to easily adjust them on the fly. If you don’t know what they do or don’t have time to learn everything about it, try manually adjusting your settings like I mentioned above.

Play around with different settings until you get the shot that you want. Don’t expect to get “the perfect shot” on your first try.

Have fun!